Learning how USDA operates: Internship gives SCSU junior look at dream job

Breanna Guinyard is a South Carolina State University junior agribusiness major from Orangeburg.

During the summer, she received a glimpse into her dream job with the U.S. Department of Agriculture at the department’s headquarters in Washington. She completed various essential tasks within the Foreign Agricultural Service Department.

She received the USDA internship through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, which supports publicly supported historically black colleges and universities.

Guinyard was recently awarded a $10,000 Magic Johnson Scholarship, which will be applied toward her tuition, fees and books. She received the scholarship after writing an essay about growing up in poverty and having to apply for multiple loans in order to pay for her college education.

Excelling academically, she has been named the highest-ranking agribusiness major by the dean of S.C. State’s School of Business, for having the highest grade-point average.

“During the internship, I have developed better problem-solving skills and networking techniques. I can now advance in my field and have insight into how the USDA operates. I’m very confident that this experience has granted me the tools I need to be successful as a full-time USDA employee in the future,” Guinyard said.

Her job responsibilities included conducting surveys of Cochran Fellowship Program alumni, assisting with analyses of program impact and performing other monitoring and research activities.

Guinyard said her decision to study agribusiness stemmed from wanting to contribute to a field that significantly impacts society. She emphasized that food is key to survival for everyone and is devoted to helping others live healthier lives.

“With this major, I’ll be able to have a massive impact on the American people’s lives and others in foreign countries as well. I’ll be able to promote the growth of national and regional trade, uphold quality agricultural standards and ensure that food safety policies and procedures are being followed,” she said.

Guinyard said that through the internship, she learned more than ever how important it is to work diligently, no matter the task. She said there is a purpose behind every assignment and thoroughness illustrates good work ethic to supervisors.

The Orangeburg native avidly talked about her experience as an undergraduate at S.C. State.

“S.C. State has been incredible so far. From learning experiences to building relationships, I know I’m in the right place. From the beginning, I was welcomed with open arms and surrounded by people who genuinely care. I don’t think I would’ve received the love that S.C. State gives me anywhere else. The nurturing atmosphere molded me into an outstanding professional and enhanced my entrepreneurial skills,” Guinyard said.

Heavily involved on campus and in the community, she serves as a student orientation leader and student ambassador, and is a member of the Honors College. She is also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma International Business Honor Society, Golden Key International Honour Society, National Association for Black Accountants and National Society of Leadership and Success. Additionally, she serves on her church’s praise dance team, Spiritual Xpressions.

Guinyard’s community service includes participating in clothing drives, school tours, food drives and tutoring at the Boys and Girls Club in the Orangeburg area.

Despite having her share of challenges, Guinyard stands firm in her will to succeed.

“I have to strive for the best despite the environment I was raised in. I grew up in a neighborhood filled with crime, where kids have a slim chance of graduating from high school. I vowed to make a change, and I express gratitude for my mom, family and church family for being an amazing support system,” she said.

She lives by the scripture, Deuteronomy 28:13, “And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath; if that thou hearken unto the commandments of the Lord thy God, which I command thee this day, to observe and to do them.”

Her advice to other students who are seeking an internship is for them to stay true to themselves, pray, get out of their comfort zone and keep applying.

In addition to praise dancing, she enjoys playing her favorite music loudly and shopping in her spare time.

After completing her undergraduate career, she plans to attend graduate school at S.C. State or the University of Kentucky. Her long-term career goals include becoming a health inspector, business investor and earning a doctorate.

By The Times and Democrat