Five Houghton College students and Dr. Rebecca Williams, advisor and assistant professor of biology, recently attended the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Cluster Region I meeting in Colonial Heights, VA.
Jacob Annis ’18, Martin Dibble ’21, Ryan Ozzello ’21, Erik Sorensen ’20, and Elliot Spicer ’20 joined student participants and advisors from across the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions – including Delaware State University, Penn State, University of Maryland, West Virginia State University, and more – at this networking and educational event. Workshops covered topics such as building portfolios and professional development, and students had the opportunity to participate in mock interviews, have professional photographs taken for their LinkedIn profiles, attend workshops, and attend an on-site career fair.
Both Ozzello and Dibble competed in the Elevator Speech Competition, one of the conference’s featured events. In addition, Spicer qualified for the National Level Lincoln Memorial Debate, slated for the spring in Kansas City, MO.
This is the third year that Houghton’s MANRRS chapter has attended the conference, where students have connected with companies from across the United States, including BASF, Bayer, Corteva Agriscience, Elanco Animal Health, Land O Lakes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation.
For Ozzello, this conference forged connections that will only serve to enhance his educational and career experiences moving forward: “I gained confidence that I can be a successful professional, and discovered that I have talents that companies will hire for.”
This past summer, four present and past MANRRS members completed internships at John Deere (Sorensen and Michael Cha ’18) and Land O Lakes (Annis and John Khalaf ’18). Both Annis and Khalaf will continue as permanent employees of Land O Lakes. Annis, who graduates this coming December, is the current National Region I undergraduate vice president.