- Higher education
- Home products
- High technology
- Travel and tourism
- Health care
- Consumer products
- Beauty and fashion
- Professional & collegiate sports
- Entertainment & financial services
UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
As the world of business continues to change, recent job trend surveys by several publications indicate the demand should grow for qualified graduates in marketing communications. With adequate undergraduate preparation, the student will find potential employment in a wide range of corporate, industrial and non-profit organizations.
Maria Francesca McGinnis
Sun Prairie, WI
Hometown: St. Paul, MN
B.S. Marketing Communication (Agriculture) and Animal Science minor (2004)
Student Orgs at UWRF: Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority, Agriculture Communicator's of Tomorrow, Ag Ed Society, ACT on Ag Radio, and Alpha Zeta
I was one of the first people in my family to attend college and came from a very small, private high school in the Twin Cities. Large college campuses were intimidating to me and I wanted to stay close to home --- and to my horses! Growing up, horses were my whole life, not to mention my introduction to agriculture. I remember registering for classes a few months before my freshman year and looking down a list of majors. I knew I wanted something in ag, but with no ag experience I felt clueless! I selected Ag Business (which I would later change), and the rest of history!
In my nearly 10 years of professional experience, I have learned that the ability to communicate is one of the best skills a person can have. The tools of the trade are constantly changing - there was no such thing as "social media' when I was in college, and now it's a huge part of my business - but someone with the ability to communicate effectively and creatively will always be in demand.
In my career, each job I've had has been completely different, but I've always used my marketing and communications skills to be successful. I've had a sales and marketing role in ag industry, taught and advised at the college level, and most recently started my own company that provides communications and management solutions for agriculture organizations. Basically - if you can dream it, you can do it in Marketing and Communications!
The Country Today newspaper, Eau Claire, WI
Hometown: Holcombe, WI
B.S. Marketing Communications (Agriculture) and Animal Science Minor (May 2009)
As west-central Wisconsin Regional Editor of The Country Today, a statewide agricultural and rural life newspaper, I write articles and take photographs for publication. My work travels have taken me throughout the state, allowing me to explore the many facets of Wisconsin agriculture. Among my adventures have been visits to agricultural operations, from traditional Wisconsin dairies and beef feedlots to elk, reindeer, alpaca and other specialty farms.
My degree in Marketing Communications provided the perfect blend of marketing, journalism, photography and public relations -- all skills that I use daily. Whether I am out in a pasture visiting with a farmer or selling subscriptions at big events like World Dairy Expo, Midwest Horse Fair or Wisconsin Farm Technology Days, I consider myself not just one of the friendly faces of The Country Today but also a public relations spokesperson for the company. My training in journalistic style and photography have also helped me earn several media awards.
Generally, I spend several days each week traveling to interviews and events, while the rest of my time is devoted to writing, either from The Country Today headquarters or my home office. If I had not been required to do an internship at UW-River Falls, I doubt I would have found my way to The Country Today and this career that I love. I am grateful for the doors that my internship and degree opened for me and look forward to serving as a voice for rural Wisconsin for many years to come.
Agri-View, Madison, WI
Hometown: Bruce, WI
B.S. Marketing Communications (Agriculture) and Animal Science Minor (May 2010)
Working as the Livestock Editor of Agri-View is a daily balancing act of story leads, interviews and photography – it's a career that I envisioned while at UW-River Falls and a deadline-driven job that keeps me on my toes. Being in a fast-paced environment allows me to dig into a wide variety of news topics and feature stories – covering events, research, and successful management strategies for our livestock, dairy, crops and news sections.
On a regular basis, I attend conferences, visit agricultural operations and interview key industry representatives to secure informative, entertaining articles. Though I do most of my writing from our office in Madison, I have traveled throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota to talk with producers and photograph events.
Highlights from the past year include: hearing Willie Nelson, Norah Jones and Dave Matthews discuss the importance of agriculture at the 2010 Farm Aid concert in Milwaukee, taking aerial photographs of a cranberry marsh in Wisconsin Rapids alongside Wisconsin's Secretary of Agriculture, and discussing agriculture policy with senators and the Wisconsin Farmers Union on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
My connection with Agri-View began with an internship in 2009. The summer stint sparked a passion in me for advocating for agriculture through communications. That fall, I traveled to Hilo, Hawaii, through UWRF's National Student Exchange program. There I visited with agricultural producers and developed a new outlook on sustainability. The dedication of the island producers reminded me of operations I had toured in Wisconsin, so I wrote freelance articles for Agri-View about island agriculture. Maintaining a connection with co-workers in Wisconsin kept the door open for a full time position as Livestock Editor upon graduation.
My time at UW-River Falls helped me to better adapt to the array of environments I now take part in. The broad coursework through advertising design, journalism and animal science classes and the "if you can dream it, you can do it" mentality of UWRF professors provided an excellent background for this position.
Brian J. Kuhl
Business Planning and Intelligence Manager
Inver Grove Heights, MN
Hometown: Amery, WI
B.S. Marketing Communications & Ag Business (1999), UWRF
MBA: Emphasis in Technology Management (2006), University of Phoenix
Prior to my final semester at UW-River Falls, I had the opportunity to intern with CHS in the Member Services area. The work I completed in my internship led to a full-time position following graduation in 1999. I started at CHS as a finance trainee, which helped to develop my skills in financial analysis and accounting - key skills in managing any business. I also spent five years in the Marketing Communications Division managing many aspects of the CHS interactive marketing efforts.
In 2006, I joined the Member Services Division as a Business Development Manager, which later transformed into my current role in the planning and business intelligence area. I am responsible for working with CHS member cooperatives across the nation to develop executable business plans in order to grow market share and position themselves for growth and success. I also manage market and industry information to help identify future opportunities and challenges in our businesses.
Through my many experiences at UWRF I discovered the importance of being a life-long learner. I encourage Ag Business and Marketing Communication students to get involved and take advantage of every available opportunity. While classroom learning aided in my education, it alone did not prepare me for a career. It was the application of classroom learning into various opportunities and experiences that developed me into a well-rounded individual.
Associate Marketing Executive
Filament Marketing, Madison, WI
Hometown: Marshall, WI
B.S. Marketing Communications (Agriculture) and Agriculture Business minor (May 2009)
Since June 2010 I have been working as an associate marketing executive (AME) with Filament Marketing in Madison, Wis. As an AME I have been exposed to a variety of agriculture and dairy related businesses. The main function of my job is to make our clients as successful as possible through marketing and communications efforts. My responsibilities range from writing press releases, assisting at trade shows and industry events, to helping companies develop marketing and communications strategies.
Throughout my four years at UWRF, I gained valuable experience not only in the classroom but also by being involved in student organizations. I was very involved in Dairy Club, Sigma Alpha and the Agriculture Communicators of Tomorrow. Each of these organizations helped me grow not only as a person but also as a communicator. The skills I gained and people I interacted with, while at UWRF have helped me in my career and beyond.