Thomas Becker ’15 gains ‘quintessential Kentucky’ experience through bourbon industry internship

Posted by Centre News in Internships, News 24 Apr 2015

Thomas Becker ’15 is taking advantage of one of the many unique and distinctive professional markets Kentucky has to offer through an internship this semester at the Kentucky Distillers’ Association (KDA) in Frankfort, Ky.

The Centre College economics major has now managed to complete seven internships during his four years at Centre, taking advantage of one of the three main guarantees of the Centre Commitment. This spring, the College has 49 students participating in a total of 50 internships for academic credit, which is a record number of students for the spring and fall terms.

“It sounds crazy, but it’s true,” Becker said. “My internships have taken me across the country and around the globe.”

His internship sites have included such destinations as Danville’s City Hall, the State Department in Lesotho and the Episcopal Diocese of Louisiana, which was his first internship for academic credit.

Becker found the KDA listing on CentreWorks, the College’s job posting site for students, and was immediately intrigued. KDA is described as a company that “is responsible for promoting and protecting all things Bourbon, from taxes to tourism, technical issues, new international markets and responsibility measures.”

Though Becker said he has found value in all of his internships over the years, he decided to pursue this opportunity to gain more hands-on experience in a field he hadn’t yet explored. He is also earning three academic credits for his work with the organization.

“The decision to pursue this internship came down to a simple matter of how I wanted to continue to learn,” he explained. “I’ve spent a lot of time taking some fantastic courses at Centre, but the chance to get out into the real world, applying skills I’ve learned in the classroom and in other internships, was too good to pass up.

“The bourbon industry has always fascinated me, so getting to delve into the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the work of the KDA has been unbelievably interesting and fun,” he added.

Two Centre alumni also work at the KDA, which has been an additional highlight of Becker’s experience with the company.

“Adam Johnson ’97 is the director of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and Kristin Meadors ’06 is the director of governmental and regulatory affairs for the KDA,” Becker said. “It’s pretty cool to see Centre alumni so involved in promoting and supporting bourbon, the quintessential Kentucky product.”

Becker will continue his education at Vanderbilt University this fall to pursue a masters of education in leadership and organizational performance.

Learn more about internship opportunities at Centre.

by Anne Evans
April 24, 2015