“It’s nice to meet you.” It’s such a simple exchange we have on a daily basis with new people. Being an Ag Ambassador, we get to meet so many interesting and important people, from donors, alumni, and perspective students. Being in my second year on the Ag Ambassadors, I have been fortunate enough to begin to see the same prominent people multiple times; because of that, I have noticed many more “It’s nice to see you again’s.”
It seems like something so simple, but to me it means a lot. The first place I noticed it was at the NILE stock show in Billings, Montana. I have gone up there to represent the college of ag for the past two years, both at alumni events and for future student recruitment. There is always one evening that is Wyoming Night at the Rodeo, and beforehand, there is an event where the Montana chapter of the UW Alumni Association gathers. There I met so many fun people who were so insightful for my upcoming time in the university and my ever-looming entrance to the “real world.” The networking opportunities that have been available through the college of ag have been so incredible.
Meeting people and talking about UW is something I am lucky to do in many facets of my life, predominantly as an Admissions Student Ambassador. With that position I get to meet prospective students every day and share why I love this university. My favorite part is sharing fun stories from hands-on experiences I have had with students interested in studying agriculture, the best one being when a cannulated cow spewed rumen fluid all over myself and another classmate, and I loved every second of it. Seeing students who are equally interested in agriculture, as well as students who are interested in UW as well, is really fun. Then getting to see those same students once they become a part of our Cowboy family and talking to them about their experiences is so rewarding.
This past weekend, the Ag Ambassadors were asked to attend the Ag Summit, to discuss the challenges students in agriculture face today. In reading some of the other people who were invited, I was justifiably nervous, congressmen, President Neil Theobald, Dean Barbara Rasco, department heads, were just a few of the people who planned to be in attendance. Walking in, I met the moderator for my table and began talking with attendants over coffee. Moving through the room I met many new people, but also saw many familiar faces. The “It’s nice to see you agains” were prevalent, and it was nice to be able to see industry leaders who I had connected with previously and catch up with them.
Discussion at my table flowed from topic to topic, and as a student I was worried my voice would get muddled amongst the crowd. I was quickly proven wrong in that fear; the moderator at my table was sure to ask my opinion on each topic. The event went on, and I was asked for my contact information from a few of the attendants so that we could continue to discuss some of the topics that arose that would have led us down some rabbit holes. I realized walking out of the Ag Summit that I made invaluable connections that I would hopefully run into again in my college career.
You might be wondering what this all means and why such a simple sentiment is so important to me. I grew up in Southern California, smack dab in the middle of endless citrus orchards, without animal agriculture in sight. In coming to UW, I was afraid I would not meet people and network effectively because of that. But, as you can see, quite the opposite has happened. All in all, I am so thankful for the opportunities I have had at UW and especially through the Ag Ambassadors to network with some amazing people.
So, as I look forward to the future, I find reassurance that with these connections, my entrance to the “real world” isn’t so looming after all.