Staff Spotlight: Starting my first internship

Small Towns

By Benny Estrada, former staff member

This May, I started as a communications intern for the Center of Rural Affairs with an objective of contributing to rural communities. Working at the Center gives me a chance to grow in my profession, as well help rural communities flourish.

Recently, I completed my first year of college, studying Journalism and Creative Media at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. I am a first generation American, as my parents originated from Chihuahua, Mexico. Raised in Grand Island, Nebraska, we later moved to northeast Nebraska, residing in the towns of Lyons and Decatur. I graduated from Lyons-Decatur Northeast High School in 2017.

I am thankful for growing up in an urban area, however, living in a small town created opportunities. Community members inspired me to continue my education and helped me to discover a passion. I met my neighbor, Bill Hedges, who introduced me to film and photography. Bill owns a studio in Lyons, called Cosmic Studios. With his help, I was able to explore and learn how to operate different film equipment and use several techniques.

Being able to capture a mood or describe someone's story has always fascinated me and drew me into film and photography. This fall, I plan on continuing my education at the University of Wyoming studying Film Production.

I am honored and forever grateful for receiving this internship. I am able to help the communications team maintain relationships among the media. Working at the Center helps me succeed in the pursuit of my career by building relationships and getting to learn procedures in journalism writing. I feel privileged to work at the Center, where I get to help my community in Lyons, Nebraska, to ensure better rural living.