Summer 2011
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University of Connecticut College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
1376 Storrs Road, Unit 4066 Storrs, CT 06269
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College Ambassadors serve as leaders and advocates

ambassadorAmy Kraus, College Ambassador during 2010-2011, counsels prospective students.

By Kim Markesich

Initiated by Dean Kirklyn Kerr, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Student Council was created to involve students in event planning and recruiting. At Dean Gregory Weidemann’s suggestion, in an effort to give the program more structure, the Council was reorganized in 2009 as the College Ambassador program, modeled after agriculture ambassador programs found at land grant universities across the country.

According to Katie Upson, academic advisor, ambassadors are undergraduate majors in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and the Ratcliffe Hicks School of Agriculture. Working closely with Associate Dean Cameron Faustman and staff in the Office of Academic Programs, these students serve as leaders and advocates, representing the College and School to students, parents, alumni and other audiences.

Ambassadors are selected through a competitive application and interview process. This year, ten ambassadors returned and 30 students applied for ten open positions. In addition to opportunities for professional growth and networking, College Ambassadors receive a yearly stipend of $400.

“I enjoy being able to interact with students while they are trying to decide what college will provide them with the best opportunities,” says Amy Beyer, student coordinator for the Ambassador Program. “UConn has provided me with a lot of wonderful opportunities, so it's exciting to be able to share my college experience with them.”

“Being a College Ambassador has helped me improve my public speaking and interpersonal skills,” Beyer notes. “It has provided me with the chance to travel to California for the National Agricultural Ambassador Conference and to Indiana for the National FFA Convention. The College Ambassador program has been a great experience.”

In 2010-2011, the Ambassadors participated in ten high school presentations, three career fairs, Open Houses at Storrs and regional campuses, receptions for scholarship recipients and admitted students, Career Night, Cornucopia Fest and various other events. Ambassadors also held a February information session for students and their families and created a phone call initiative to reach out to newly admitted students.

The students meet three times a semester and participate in training and leadership workshops. The 2011-2012 year schedule will also include a community service activity.

James Gaffney is a senior majoring in animal science. He in his third year as a College Ambassador. He says, “My role as an ambassador is to engage both current and future students by introducing them to programs and majors within the College, and to alumni, during career events. I have found that my favorite part of the position has been speaking to prospective students and to their parents.”

He continues, “Many students entering the animal science program are looking to apply to veterinary school. As an animal science major currently applying to vet schools, I have a lot of information to share concerning this topic. My phone calls to both prospective students and their parents have gone on for more than forty minutes. I attribute this to the ability to help students visualize themselves as a future Husky by speaking to them candidly about my experiences.”

Visit the College Ambassador Program on Facebook.

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