Senior broadens his global horizons while working locally

Owen Trast, UW–Madison Summer Term student

Correction: An earlier version of this article indicated that Owen Trast was taking Agronomy 203. He actually took Agricultural and Applied Economics 350, reflected below, which he completed during Summer Term 2020.

Over the summer, we’re excited to share stories of students who are making the most of their Summer Term, both in person and online. We hope these stories serve as a source of inspiration and give you a glance into what life is like for Summer Term students.

Owen Trast is a senior from Green Bay, Wisconsin, studying biological systems engineering. He plans to graduate in December 2022. During Summer Term 2020, Trast took Agricultural and Applied Economics 350 World Hunger and Malnutrition as an asynchronous online course. He shares more about what he learned in that course and how it relates to the internship he’s completing this summer.

What prompted you to take A A E 350 last summer, and how has it helped you meet your academic goals?

The course fulfills a requirement for my degree, and I thought it would be a cool class to take given the pandemic. We learned about public health, which has helped me become more informed when looking at what is going on in the world with regards to the pandemic and health care in general. It also helped me form opinions about public policies, politics and current events.

What do you like about taking courses during Summer Term?

Summer is a great time to take courses because it is easier to focus on just one or two courses. I feel like in the summer, when you’re only taking one course, you can also fully understand the material better because you’re focused on just that subject rather than studying for a bunch of different topics. The classes are also offered in shorter time periods, so I’m not spending the entire summer doing school work, and it has really helped me finish my degree on time. I have just enjoyed the structure of summer courses a lot more, especially those that are offered asynchronously online. That is really nice for pairing with work and travel.

Can you tell us about the internship you’re taking this summer?

I work roughly 60 hours a week doing landfill gas piping systems. I enjoy being outside for my job and learning about the solid waste industry. It is fascinating to see the life cycle of our garbage because many people do not understand it or have misconceptions about what happens to our garbage. Being able to work on projects like this is also cool because I have a direct impact on the health and protection of our environment as well as the production of renewable resources.

Besides taking Summer Term courses and an internship, what else are you doing this summer? 

I like swimming, skiing, golfing, travel, baking, cooking and hanging out with my friends.

Learn more about summer internships and advancing your academic goals on the Summer Term website.