Graduation Year: 2017
What City/ State are you from? Old Lyme, CT
Current Career Title: Farm Manager, Camp Program Director, Head Teacher
Business/ Organization you work for: Bushy Hill Nature Center
What was your Major? Captive Wildlife Care and Education
What was your favorite thing about your time at Unity College? Did you have a favorite tradition? My favorite thing about my time at Unity was the amazing opportunities that were provided. I was able to meet and interact with really amazing people who became life long friends. School-related programs like Nova trips, class expeditions, on-campus events, and clubs always provided endless chances to create fantastic memories.
What advice would you give to current Unity College students? Check your email every day and try to go to your floor programs, even if they are not your style it will mean a lot to your RA and it might end up being a chance to meet a new person or have your RA find out something important about you.
Did you utilize career services for your internship or career search? Yes, Career Services helped me rewrite my resume and cover letters and helped me navigate the many options for internships and jobs after college. They even helped me prep for the video interview for the first job I got after college which I found out about through the Career Fair.
Where did you complete your internship(s) and what types of experiences did you have? I ended up completing my internship on campus at the Unity College Barn. It worked out perfectly for me because I gotto live on campus through another summer job I had at the time as the camp coordinator for the Unity College Warden Camp. During my summer at the Unity College Barn, I was able to help incubate and hatch chickens which was a very useful experience that I referred to when I started my current job and had to repeat the process. I also got to assist with the breeding of our rabbits as well as the care and maintenance of the goats, pigs, and sheep.
SIDE STORY: When I was about to enter Unity as a freshman I volunteered at the facility I work at currently. One day when I was eating lunch I was approached by a counselor, Kelsey Tuttels, who was wearing a Unity sweater and told me she just graduated! She helped me get connected to on-campus clubs and a work-study job with Pat Clark on campus. Then I ran into Kelsey years later at the Career Fair in the Gym and she introduced me to the Directors of the Nature Center and encouraged me to apply for a summer job at Bushy Hill. Just a weird ‘guess it was meant to be’ kind of story. Networking is important!
Is your current job in your field of study, or did you end up going a different direction than you thought? Same field. When I was getting ready to leave Unity I knew I needed more experience with youth groups so I accepted a job as a camp counselor at Bushy Hill Day Camp for the 4-5-year-old ‘Seedlings’ program. I became a full-time staff member with the Bushy Hill Nature Center running interpretive programs and caring for the animals during the school year and working directly with campers on the property during the summer. In one week I could be hiking around a lake, sitting in the canopy of our ropes course, building chicken roosts at the farm, catching tadpoles and dragonfly nymphs with the kids at the pond, and looking at microorganisms with our bio-scope. I get to do so many amazing things all a stone’s throw from my office door, it has been a pretty phenomenal first year.
Are you happy in your current career? Yes, I get to see the impact I have on the groups that visit us for programs and it can be very inspiring. I love getting to reintroduce people to the natural world. It is always a unique experience and has created some really positive memories for me.
Did you feel Unity College prepared you for your career? Yes, the classes that I took that were ‘major specific’ like Animal Health, Enrichment Exhibit Design, and Animal Training was incredibly impactful on my ability to complete daily tasks at the farm. Elective courses I took like Group Process and Management helped prepare me for the human aspects of my job like leading nervous kids through our high ropes obstacles or getting a group motivated halfway through an uphill hike. I am so glad that Unity allowed students to take classes across all of the departments because it helped me become a much more well-rounded employee.