Extension Experts: Advice for Graduates
Cooperative Extension Experts are offering a little advice to graduates, as they head off into the ‘real world’.
Graduates from the University of Arizona ARE employable - many may even work for Cooperative Extension themselves, someday.
We have some advice, from many different ‘Extension Experts’, who work in various capacities, and professions, from all around the state:
"Don't limit your career prospects to just the degree with which you are graduating. Depending on your interests and talents, there are enormous opportunities to try different fields." -Jennifer Parlin, MPH, Assistant in Extension, The Garden Kitchen/UANN
"From one that is nearing the end of his career, having graduated 44 years ago this month.....Always be thankful that you live in a country where you can follow your heart and dreams. Today you have graduated into the beginning of a great life full of possibilities. Be part of the solutions not part of the problems. Always working harder than those around you with no comparison or regret. Look beyond yourself, helping those in need. Listening and leading people into that future of possibilities, as someday you will be in that future!" -Bill Brandau, PhD, Director, Graham County Director
"Now that you have earned your degree, you have an obligation to share what you have learned with others. That’s what we do here at Arizona Cooperative Extension. We share what we learn through research and education with the people of the state of Arizona to help them address their issues and concerns. You were the student, now is your opportunity to share and be the teacher. Congratulations to all of you!" -Ed Martin, PhD, Maricopa County Director, Irrigation Specialist and Professor
"When I graduated from college, I remember having great angst about making the “right” choice about what to do next. There are endless career paths and choosing one can be difficult. My advice on this is simple – follow your gut instincts. Do some soul searching, dig deep and see what yourself is telling you. Deep down, you know what is best for you." -Mark Siemens, PhD, Associate Specialist & Associate Professor
"Graduating from the University of Arizona ensures that you have a strong foundation in your chosen field. Build on that foundation with an openness to learning from every situation you encounter. Be proud of your education. Your degree is a privilege that many people can only dream of. Use your skills to better the world fro those who have not had the same opportunities as you." -Anne Cimarelli-Stears, RD, Senior Health Educator, SNAP-Ed, UANN
"Some of the best jobs I ever had are the ones that I questioned whether I was ready and able to do the job. Believe in yourself and move forward." -Trent Teegerstrom, Associate Director for Tribal Extension Programs and Extension Specialist, Agricultural Economics
"Be sure to do your homework in preparation for interviews. This is important at all levels, even an entry-level position. For example, if you are interviewing as a trainee at Tucson Water, go online to learn about the number of homes they serve, their service area, and their commitment to environmental programs. Revealing this knowledge during your interview will put you way ahead of all of the other applicants. As you enter the workforce, remember that kindness is a virtue. This may seem overly simplistic, but kindness is often in very short supply these days. Being equally kind to the CEO of a company and the people who clean the offices at night can have benefits far beyond the effort it takes to learn their names and ask them about their grandchildren’s latest antics." -Jean McLain, PhD, Associate Director, Water Resources Research Center, Associate Research Scientist
"It's okay to make your career plans in pencil. And, don't be afraid to use an eraser!" -Dan McDonald, PhD, Director, Pima County Cooperative Extension Area Associate Agent, Associate Regional Specialist, Family and Consumer Sciences
"I have a senior in high school right now and so this hits right at home for me. I have told her, whatever career choice she chooses the most important thing to take into consideration is your happiness. You spend too many hours of your day at work, to not be happy in what you are doing. Going to work every day isn’t always an option for us, but enjoying our jobs is completely in our control. If you don’t like what you are doing, find something you do like. You will be more successful in career and family in the end.” -Teara Sargent, Administrative Secretary, Graham County
"I would advise new grads that the plans you have made aren’t always going to work out the way you want them to and that’s ok. You might have to work in a different industry or a different position than you imagined at first. That doesn’t mean you won’t eventually end up where you want to be, and your idea of where you want to be might change as you gain those other experiences." -Ashley Wright, Cooperative Extension Area Assistant Agent, Livestock