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UMN Morris launches Sustainability Careers and Pathways Webinar Series with a focus on agriculture

Troy Goodnough
Publication date: 
March 22, 2022

For more than 15 years, the University of Minnesota Morris (UMN Morris) has been growing its sustainability program. This effort includes the development of majors in Environmental Studies, Environmental Science, and a “green chemistry” track in the Chemistry discipline. The campus also launched a Sustainability Leadership minor. Additionally, many of the major programs at Morris incorporate sustainability themes into their classes. The co-curriculum at Morris provides numerous opportunities for students to engage in sustainability – from internships, to research, to creative production, and more.  

As a result, UMN Morris has helped to springboard many graduates into sustainability pathways. Given this record of success, the campus launched a new webinar series, called Sustainability Careers and Pathways: Conversations with UMN Morris Alumni. 

The new webinar series launched in February 2022. The inaugural conversation was facilitated by two UMN Morris students, Noelle Muzzy ‘23 and Lily Sugimura ‘22.  The first conversation featured Morris alums who are working in agriculture and food systems. Heidi Eger ‘13 operates Radicle Heart Farm, which raises grass-fed sheep. Natalie Hoidal ‘15 is a UMN Extension Educator focused on local food production. Kirsten Sharpe Moser ‘14 is a dairy researcher at the UMN West Central Research and Outreach Center.

three women in separate settings appearing on one computer screen

Moser shared she is from the Bemidji area and grew up in the woods. She was able to build a lot of connections in Morris because of the size of the campus and community. She initially considered a degree in pre-med or natural resources. She switched to Environmental Studies her junior year, and she took courses with Professor Ed Brands and Emeritus Professor Pete Wyckoff that shaped her knowledge of sustainability and her career trajectory.

Eger shared that the small campus size at Morris was really great. She worked in the Office of Sustainability which shaped how she thinks about community work. Eger worked in the Student Organic Garden for two years as an undergraduate and supported the garden for a year as a Minnesota GreenCorps member. When she arrived at Morris she was thinking about wind turbine design, but discovered a deep interest in agriculture and community-building. Now she works in ag and clean energy. 

Hoidal shared that she grew up outside. She also had a great time in Morris and started as a biology major, studying diatoms, and then worked in the Student Organic Garden, where she enjoyed community-building. Later, she worked with Professor Sheri Breen on seed-sovereignty and attended the Prairie Land Festival, which shifted her studies and interests. She also enjoyed working with the Jane Addams Project. The Morris ACE Office helped her study in Peru, which increased her interest in an ag-focused career and a Fulbright scholarship.

The Sustainability Careers and Pathways Series will explore alums with careers in energy, environmental and outdoor education, sustainability management, environmental engineering and research, nonprofit and government service, food systems, and more. 

You can watch the conversation here:

The next alumni conversation will focus on graduates with careers in environmental education and outreach.  You can watch the webinar live on March 24 from 5-6 p.m. via Zoom:

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