Brittanie Parisien’s internship at EMILI set her on a career path that she hadn’t previously considered.

The journey started with UM’s Arts Career Apprenticeship Program where Parisien attended workshops, received help with her resume, and gained interview skills. When she saw the opportunity to intern with EMILI, her interest was piqued. While she didn’t have an agricultural background, the role sounded interesting and would strengthen her writing and research skills.

During her university years, she was a varsity basketball player. When she took on an internship supporting the development of EMILI’s Explore Project, an initiative that connects youth with opportunities in digital agriculture, she was surprised to discover how many transferable skills she had.

“While I was playing basketball, I didn’t initially see that I was developing skills that I’d apply in the workplace, but being a varsity athlete taught me to keep myself accountable,” she said. “I gained strong time management skills doing schoolwork and basketball at the same time.”

Through her internship, she gained newfound confidence realizing how much she had learned while juggling school and athletics. Basketball had not only sharpened her skill on the court, it also strengthened her ability to work collaboratively with others.

“Brittanie is a great addition to our team. While she hadn’t worked in agriculture before joining EMILI, she had the right skills for this role. Her experience is a great example of how an individual with an urban background can succeed in a digital agriculture career,” said Manager of Skills and Talent, Rachel LeClair.

In her role supporting EMILI’s Skills, Training, and Talent Pillar, Parisien has seen firsthand how important it is to provide individuals from non-agricultural backgrounds with exposure to the sector.

“I think this industry will constantly need skilled and talented workers from different sectors, including me, to really grow,” she said.

Parisien says that her internship increased her confidence working in digital agriculture.

“I’m not an expert, but I’ve gained a lot of knowledge about the industry during my internship,” she said.

She also says it increased her career readiness.

“Going from school to work is a daunting task, but I think work-integrated learning is a great bridge,” said Parisien. “It provides a transition for students to begin their career in a safer, more supportive way.”

For Parisien, the chance to intern in an industry where she hadn’t previously imagined herself thriving changed the direction of her career. Her internship at EMILI was so successful that she went from being an intern to being offered a year-long contract as an employee.

While agriculture is not the industry she originally saw herself in, her internship was such a great experience that she was quick to say yes to another year.

“EMILI does great work, and I think there is room for growth and development for my career, so when I was offered to stay, I was very excited,” she said.

This profile is part of EMILI’s This is Agriculture series, highlighting talented and diverse individuals across the digital agriculture sector.

Written by Jenna Paterson-Coutts, EMILI Intern/Creative Communications Student

Jenna Paterson-Coutts is a Creative Communications student with a major in journalism. She wrote this profile during her own three week internship with EMILI, in the final year of a joint University of Winnipeg/Red River College program. Jenna does not have an agricultural background, but during her three weeks at EMILI, she learned just how important it is for society and what digital agriculture is. She is grateful for the experience gained during her internship and the chance to bring the skills she learned in school to the workplace. As a naturally curious person, Jenna plans to continue learning even more about what’s going on in agriculture outside of her internship.