Published on 03/27/19

UGA student wraps up state legislative session working with Georgia Senate agriculture committee

By Merritt Melancon

From the future of industrial hemp to farmland protection, University of Georgia junior and Bogart, Georgia, native Reaganne Coile has had a front-row seat to the debates that shape the future of Georgia agriculture. 

As a legislative intern with the state Senate Committee on Agriculture and Consumer Affairs this winter, Coile has worked for committee chairman Sen. John Wilkinson’s office answering phones and greeting visitors, but she also has observed lawmakers in action during committee hearings and debates. 

The UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and the Senate Agriculture and Consumer Affairs Committee host the CAES Georgia Legislative Internship program. The program is supported by Georgia Electric Membership Corporation, the Dr. James L. and Renee Williamson Leadership Award Fund and the Elliott and Christy Marsh Legislative Internship Fund. 

“I’ve always been interested in and passionate about agriculture, and that developed into an interest in policy and the way that policy affects people,” said Coile, who is studying agricultural communication at CAES. “This internship has really been a solidifying experience for me in terms of my career path and knowing what I want to do.”

Coile was placed in Sen. Wilkinson’s office through CAES' Georgia Legislative Internship program. Each year a CAES student spends 12 weeks at the Georgia Capitol, working full-time to help legislators craft policies that will impact the state’s largest industry, agriculture.

“Reaganne has been a tremendous asset to our office during this legislative session,” Wilkinson said. “She has maintained her composure under what are sometimes stressful situations. Her solid knowledge base in agriculture has helped her meet the challenges of working with leading-edge issues in agriculture.”

For her part, Coile said that it was exciting to participate in the 2019 session, in particular, observing those visiting the office and listening to the important issues being discussed. 

“Since beginning college, I've become more of a behind-the-scenes person,” Coile said. “This experience helped me build my confidence in terms of meeting new people and talking to people. It really helped me grow both professionally and personally.”

Coile, the daughter of John and Amy Coile of Bogart, plans to graduate from CAES in May 2020 and hopes to pursue a career developing policy.

For more information about the leadership opportunities available to students attending CAES, visit

Merritt Melancon is a public relations manager with UGA's Terry College of Business and previously served as a public relations coordinator for the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and UGA Extension.

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