• Derek Anibas 2019 fall graduate
  • Marley Malkow 2019 fall graduate
  • Wesley Korum 2019 fall graduate
  • Aaron Rathke 2019 fall graduate

College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences

The Future Looks Bright: CAFES Graduates Spotlight

Learn about our graduating students who have bright futures ahead of them in agriculture, business, engineering, conservation, animal science and more! These soon-to-be and past graduates of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences have all gone straight from commencement to career or graduate school with their futures lined up while they were still completing their senior years. Click on each story to read more.

Fall 2020 Graduates

Kirsten Rinholen

Major: Agricultural Business
Minor: Crop Science
Position: Agronomy Associate  
Company: Ag Partners (Western Wisconsin Ag Supply LLC)

2020 Kirsten Rinholen CAFES Hired Before Grad
A meeting at the UWRF Career Fair and an internship was the path that Kirsten took to her new career with Ag Partners.

"I was thrilled to be able to work for Ag Partners as a Sale Agronomy Intern the summer of 2020. It was a great opportunity to be able to make new connections while still learning to work independently in the field and with customers. They have an outstanding intern program and I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities they presented me with. They offered me a full-time position in August as my internship was coming to an end. I happily accepted."

As an Agronomy Associate, Kirsten looks forward to assisting with precision ag operations for AYS, the company's Advanced Yield Systems program, gathering data and learning how to create variable rate prescriptions. In the spring, she will begin helping with product application and operations, and training for a future sales role in the company.
Kirsten took advantage of many opportunities during her time at UWRF.

"I was actively involved in a variety of things from Crops and Soils Club, to intramurals, volunteering as a tour guide, and even having the opportunity to be a research assistant with some great professors. However, the most impactful experience of all has been my time as a student manager for the campus farm. I have made so many new friends and learned so much out at Mann Valley. It quite literally became a second home."
And while she learned much outside of the classroom, she is just as grateful for her time in the classroom.

"The faculty at UWRF did an amazing job prepping me for my future. All the hands-on courses and individual time they spent providing me with extensive resources has guided me in the right direction and provided the basic knowledge I need to start my career in agronomy. Thank you all so much."

Candi Quandt

Major: Conservation and Environmental Planning
Minor: Geography
Position: Geospatial Technician
Company: Continental Mapping

Candi Quandt CAFES Hired Before Grad
The skills, experience and knowledge Candi developed through coursework in her program was a driving force in her new career path today as a Geospatial Technician at Continental Mapping.

Candi explains "My GIS classes are why I got this job. My major only required two, but I ended taking four total because it was so interesting. I can't recommend GIS enough to people in the natural resources field. The core classes in my major put an emphasis on teamwork and presentation skills. This taught me how to work well with other people and talk in front of groups."

Candi's new position works within a team to complete large projects for clients. She will work with GIS tools like Google Earth, ArcGIS and other products to extract and analyze terrain data, and then she will use that data either on her own or with the team to create maps.
Candi found the position online and was interested in applying but was unsure if her experience was adequate. She unexpectedly ran into a UWRF graduate who had just started at Continental Mapping. The recent graduate told her more about the job and encouraged her to apply. Alumni connections can be so important when looking for a new job.
Candi fondly recalls how active she was at UWRF. "At some point in my college career, I've a part of Hall Council, pep band, chair of the Dining Services Advisory Committee, club tennis, Resource Management Club, and the CAS Dean's Advisory Council. Serving on two different advisory committees allowed me to have a direct impact on things at the college. I enjoyed getting to know staff and professors in a different setting while making a difference. The most memorable part of this was the Dean's Council fall trip to Chicago last year. A few students and professors took a train to Chicago for a weekend to the city. It was amazing! We went to so many museums and saw Hamilton in theater."

Through her coursework in GIS and environmental planning as well as her internship as a land use management intern for the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, Candi was able to be confident in her new career choices as she graduates from UWRF.

Blaize Dankers 

Major: Agriculture Business with an emphasis in Marketing Communications
Position: Livestock Production Specialist
Company: Land O’Lakes - Purina Mills

2020 Blaize CAFES Hired Before Grad
While remote classes posed some challenges, it also gave Blaize the opportunity to begin her new position as a Livestock Product Specialist with Purina while also finishing classes online this semester!

Blaize explains, "I have been working in nutrition and feed sales in central Minnesota with dairy and beef producers. I work for three separate cooperatives offering nutrition plan assistance, feed sales, calf management advice, feed samples, sanitation audits, air quality tests and more. The flexibility from the company to finish my school work was incredible."

Blaize was first introduced to the company in fall 2018 during an on-campus event. "During the event, I went outside of my comfort zone to speak with some of the top leadership within Purina and it surely paid off. I accepted a summer internship with Purina and All-American cooperative during the summer of 2019 and kept in good contact with Regional and National sales managers after that. I was thrilled to be brought back onto the team full-time this year in a different part of the state."
As an agriculture business major, Blaize was exposed to many aspects of agriculture in her coursework, such as policy, economics, finance, farm management, natural resource management, sales and more. She likes the agricultural business program since it can be very applicable to different career paths.

Outside of classes, Blaize was highly involved in both Sigma Alpha and the UWRF Dairy Club. "I held an executive position in Sigma Alpha as the recruitment chair and was on the sale committee for Dairy Club. Being involved in these organizations helped me build lasting relationships with others in agriculture. In addition, I was apart of AFA (Agriculture Future of America) and held 3 internships - including one that took place in Liberia, Africa which I truly enjoyed. Agriculture is so unique in that there is something for everyone. Personally, I have a deep passion for agriculture policy and food security which I was able to develop at UWRF."

Spring 2020 Graduates

Ariel Graveen

Major: Dairy Science
Position: Agropur Graduate
Company: Agropur

2020 spring graduate Ariel Graveen
After meeting representatives from Agropur at a presentation during her Dairy Manufacturing II class and completing several steps of interviews, Ariel received a job offer in December to start as an Argopur Graduate this summer. Ariel explains this unique starting job position for recent graduates at Agropur.

"This program hires college graduates for a two-year rotational program that consists of four six-month rotations through four different Agropur plants/locations. My first rotation will be at their Jerome, Idaho location. This is one of their largest locations and here I will be learning about all of the different aspects of cheese production. After the six months in Idaho, I will be moving back to Wisconsin and working in the Appleton area. Agropur has three plants near there, Luxemburg, Little Chute and Weyauwega, so I will be at two of those three locations for 6 months each. After those three rotations, Many factors will determine my final location. They will consider where I excelled, where they liked me, what I enjoyed and where they have an opening. Based on all these factors, I will likely be placed as a supervisor of cheese production somewhere within the company!"

At UWRF, Ariel was involved in several activities like Dairy Club, Farm Bureau, Alpha Zeta and intramural sports. Ariel recalls her experiences in Dairy Club.

"This club allowed me to meet so many people, many of which will definitely be life-long friends. We traveled throughout the Midwest and met other dairy science students from other universities. Dairy Club connected me to multiple conferences that gave us amazing networking opportunities and taught me so much about the dairy industry through workshops, presentations, keynote speakers and by talking with many industry professionals. Participating in these trips and conferences made me a very well-rounded dairy science student. I learned a lot from my classes, but participating in these events gave me real life experience that you simply can't get in the classroom."

"The classes, professors, students and activities at UWRF prepared me for my future by challenging me. College wasn't always a breeze. I was constantly challenged by my professors with the course work, by my peers to stay involved and improve our clubs, and by myself to keep going and build a better version of myself. These challenges made me a better public speaker, increased my confidence and taught me the academic skills that I will use in my position and in the rest of my professional career."

Paul Tietz

Major: Environmental Science
Graduate Program: Soil and Water Systems Dept
Graduate School: University of Idaho

2020 spring graduate Paul Tietz
2020 recipient of the UWRF Chancellor’s Award for Students, environmental science graduate Paul Tietz has a bright future ahead as a graduate student at the University of Idaho.

"Starting this fall I will be a graduate research assistant for professors Dan Strawn and Sanaz Shafian at the University of Idaho. My project will involve monitoring nutrient contamination in rivers using technology including UAVs/drones. I will also be an assistant coach for the University of Idaho Soil Judging Team."

Paul was involved in many extracurricular activities at UWRF, including pep band, the Chancellor's Student Ambassadors organization, and team captain of the Soil Judging Team. He was also the student vice president of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

"Overall, my experience on the soil judging team was the most impactful and I will never forget our team's trips to Nebraska and Kentucky for competitions. Soil judging has become a huge passion for me, and while I wasn't able to as a judger, someday I hope to lead a team to become national champions as a coach."

Excelling in undergraduate research, Paul placed first for his poster at the Students of Agronomy, Soils, and Environmental Sciences conference in San Antonio, Texas.

"While applying to grad programs, I learned that my undergraduate research experience and presentations at national conferences made me a uniquely qualified graduate prospect. Support from Plant & Earth Science faculty, the URSCA Office, and the Crops & Soils Club gave me these opportunities to succeed as a prospective graduate student, and I am incredibly grateful for it all."

Bailey Larson

Major: Dairy Science
Minor: Agricultural Business
Position: Dairy Nutritionist
Company: Purina-Provision Partners

Bailey Larsen web
Last summer, Bailey Larson had the opportunity to intern with Purina Animal Nutrition and was placed with ProVision Partners, a co-op headquartered in Marshfield, WI. Now that internship has turned into a career with Purina.

“I will be starting as a dairy nutritionist for west-central Wisconsin in mid-May. I will be creating, balancing and analyzing feed rations, with an emphasis in lactating dairy cattle, that best meet the needs of dairy producers. Selling feed and supplements, prospecting new customers and testing forages will also be responsibilities of my new position.”

Bailey was very active in student clubs at UWRF, including Dairy Club, Block and Bridle, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Agricultural Business and Marketing Society, and many intramural sports.

“I will never forget is being elected as the co-chair of the 2020 Falcon Premier, a biannual heifer sale put on by the River Falls Dairy Club. After months of organizing, working with an excellent committee and overcoming challenges along the way, it was unbelievable to see the event unfold and be such a success!”

For Bailey, her courses in dairy science and animal science at UWRF laid a strong foundation for her career.

“The professors in the Animal and Food Science Department do an excellent job of building the skill sets that students need to excel in any career in the industry. My overall college experience, including internships, coursework and organizations, has deepened my passion for the dairy industry and has made me even more excited to begin my career!”

Paige Isensee

Major: Animal Science and Dairy Science-Science Option. Pre-Veterinary Medicine.
Graduate Program: College of Veterinary Medicine
Graduate School: University of Missouri

Paige 2020 CAFES graduate
Ultimately in pursuit of her Ph.D., Paige is excited to be accepted to the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine to complete her degree in veterinary medicine as well as a master’s degree.

“Vet school is typically a four-year commitment, but I will be attending the University of Missouri for five years. I will complete my first two years of vet school, then complete my master’s in a year, followed by my final two years of clinicals in order to complete my degree in veterinary medicine. After the completion of my dual degree plans at the University of Missouri, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. with hopes of marrying research and veterinary medicine throughout my career. I plan to specialize in large animal medicine and hope to use my passion for research to help both producers and animals.”

During her time at UWRF, Paige was involved in many activities, including the women’s golf team, Dairy Club, Block and Bridle, Pre-Vet Club, the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and research projects on the UWRF Lab Farms.

“I think being a student-athlete in addition to having the opportunity to perform several research trials at the UWRF Lab Farms are the two things that were the most impactful at UWRF. Being a student-athlete means that you are a part of something bigger than you realize when you step foot on campus. You are a part of one big Falcon Family that will be there to support you on and off the field, and that mentality is what allowed me to become so involved in research which played a major role into shaping me into the person I am today. I will forever be grateful for the continuous support and encouragement to chase my dreams and shoot for the stars by everyone at UWRF. My Falcon Family will be one of the main things that I will always remember when I think of UWRF.”

“My academic courses did an excellent job of setting a solid foundation of book knowledge while also giving me the opportunity to apply my knowledge in a variety of practical ways during labs. My involvement on campus acted as a launch pad for amazing internship opportunities, which allowed me to further apply my classroom knowledge while gaining hands-on experience in several sectors of the ag industry. As a result of my academic courses, club involvement and internships, I was fortunate enough to be accepted to several vet schools on my first attempt and feel prepared for the rigorous coursework that lies ahead.”

Madison Schochenmaier

Major: Agricultural Engineering
Position: Quality Engineer
Company: AGCO Corporation

Madison 300 web
Agricultural engineering major Madison was initially set to start her new position as a Quality Engineer with AGCO Corporation located in Kansas on June 1st, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was given the opportunity to start early with some remote projects as she finished her final semester at UWRF.

Madison got her start with AGCO Corporation the summer after her junior year working as a Quality Engineer. A few months after her summer internship ended, she was offered a full-time opportunity in the same position at their Kansas location.

At UWRF, Madison was fortunate enough to play on the women’s golf team during her freshman and sophomore years. She also participated in ASABE, Agricultural Industries Club and Quarter Scale Falcon Pulling Team. She held the role of Vice President for the quarter scale team her sophomore through senior years.

“The quarter scale team truly impacted my time at UWRF. Every year we would build and design a quarter scale tractor from scratch. Then at the end of May we would haul it to Peoria, Illinois and compete against 30 other schools. The club and competition taught me teamwork, engineering skills and networking. Going to competition every year has given me memories with not only my team but other teams that I will never forget.”

“An engineering degree isn't always easy, especially in agriculture when you have such a broad focus on topics. My classes in machine design, fluid power, advanced instrumentation, and CREO design were the four main classes that helped me in my internship and my job. The engineering professors did an amazing job preparing us for real world applications.”

Fall 2019 Graduates

Aaron Rathke 2019 fall graduate
Aaron Rathke

Major: Agricultural Business
Minor: Animal Science
Company Adell Cooperative
Position: Sales/Nutritionist

When Aaron transferred to UW-River Falls with a background in FFA, 4H and helping on his parents' hobby farm, he knew he wanted to be involved in agriculture. With that in mind, he majored in agricultural business, minored in animal science, and was involved in a host of activities outside the classroom, from the Beef Management Team and Block and Bridle to the Livestock and Carcass Evaluation Team.

These experiences and college connections has him set up after graduation. First he heads to Kansas as one of four interns across the country to help run all operations on the second largest angus ranch in the U.S., Gardiner Angus Ranch. He is one of the first student interns from a smaller, non-land grant university to join their roster of interns. Professor Acquimedes Reyes, faculty adviser to the Beef Management Team, encouraged Aaron to apply for this unique opportunity.

After this unique four-month internship, he returns for a career waiting just eight miles from his family home as Sales/Nutritionist for Adell Cooperative, a dealer of Hubbard Feeds. He met a representative of Hubbard Feeds at the CAFES Pre-Career Fair Social. They then talked about open position the next day at the Career Fair, and he was ultimately hired by Adell Cooperative.  

"I will be working in southeastern Wisconsin with producers, formulating rations that best fit their operation as well acquiring new operations in the area," says Aaron about his new position.

Aaron continues, "My courses at UWRF gave me the foundation I needed for the position. And my overall experience in college has deepened my drive and passion for agriculture. This is the industry I want to be a part of and the chance to do that right out of college is very exciting!"

Derek Anibas 2019 fall graduate
Derek Anibas

Major: Agricultural Engineering Technology
Company: Jennie-O Turkey Store
Position: Associate Maintenance Engineer

Agricultural engineering technology graduate Derek thought he would choose a career as a test engineer working with farm machinery. Living and working on his grandpa’s family farm, farming machinery and equipment were most familiar to him.

However, that changed after taking courses that expanded his perspective of what he could do with a degree in agricultural engineering technology. Courses like Applied Electricity and Machine Design provided Derek with problem solving techniques and introduced him to other engineering processes. But it was especially agricultural engineering technology professor Youngmi Kim’s food process engineering courses that guided Derek the most toward his new career.

The courses introduced him to the specific processing systems and engineering principles used in food processing while the lab sessions gave him hands-on experience with equipment he would see and use in the industry.

"I will be starting out as an associate maintenance engineer and one of my main responsibilities will be directing maintenance, modification, and installation of equipment in the plant," says Derek. "I will be tasked with assuring that all preventive maintenance schedules for assigned buildings, equipment and machinery are completed on time and as directed. Another responsibility will be minimizing plant delay by identifying problem areas and recommending corrective action to reduce and eliminate mechanical delay."

To current and future students, Derek encourages them to take a variety of courses to gain an understanding of what career they would like to get into.

“If you are interested in certain courses, go to the professor and talk to them about job opportunities," says Derek. "They might have contacts and connections which could be a foot in the door with a company."

Marley Malkow 2019 fall graduate
Marley Malkow

Major: Dairy Science
Minor: Agricultural Business
Company: Select Sires - Central Star
Position: Artificial Insemination (A.I.) Technician

From potential intern to part-time job to career, Marley has had many experiences with her now current employer Select Sires.

"I will doing relief work, covering for numerous techs ranging from as far east as Lancaster to as far west as Lake Geneva and from south to Warren, IL back to north of Dane," says Marley, "Although it can be a lot of travel, I like the change of pace and scenery I get on a day to day basis. The wide geographic range allows me to see and work with a wide variety of producers in the dairy state."
Originally she applied for the internship at East Central Select Sires. Out of nearly 100 applicants, she was one of six individuals chosen to interview. While Marley ended up not being chosen to receive the internship, she was offered and accepted a part-time position that she continued until graduation when she was offered a full-time one.
Marley was an extremely successful track and field athlete at UWRF from her freshman to junior years, earning athletic academic honors and a three times conference qualifier. Sadly her athletic career ended with a car accident, though her academic and professional experiences continued to remain strong and flourish. Throughout college, she worked on three different dairy farms, was a member of the UWRF Dairy Club and participated in the Dairy Judging Team.
Many of Marley's courses were extremely influential in preparing her for her career.

"Dr. Justin Luther's class Physiology of Reproduction may have been one of the hardest classes I took during my time at UWRF, however, the knowledge I learned from the class was so much more advanced than my peers from other colleges in the areas of bovine reproductive anatomy, endocrine system, and hormone synchronization," says Marley, "Dr. Luther's Advanced Bovine Reproduction course really cemented the skills and gave me the opportunity to practice and expand my knowledge in a classroom environment. Also Dr. Kelm's Principles of Breeding class helped me understand the heritability of different traits, which is crucial during sire selection in my job."

Coming from a small town with a high school graduating class of only 17, Marley chose UWRF over other bigger universities that she was accepted to because it allowed her to broaden her horizons while still being small enough to feel like home.

"I will be forever grateful for the relationship between myself and my professors," says Marley. "The last few years have had a lot of ups and downs. I'm thankful for my professors to not only be there for my education but support me and my dreams going forward."

Wesley Korum 2019 fall graduate
Wesley Korum

Major: Conservation and Environmental Planning
Company: Willow River Company
Position: Project Manager

What started out as an internship for conservation and environmental planning graduate Wesley, has now turned into his career.

"Over the summer at Willow River Company, I completed many tasks leading a crew of landscapers," says Wesley. "We worked on projects such as paver patios to general landscaping around different houses. My responsibilities during my internship as a foreman included leading the crew and keeping everyone on track to meet our company goals."

After his internship was complete, Wesley was offered a full time position after graduation as a project manager for the company. He is excited to start right away the beginning of January 2020.

To Wesley, Willow River Company is like family and everyone is so easy to get along with and work with as a crew. He is ready to learn and grow within a very successful company and to see where the opportunity takes him.
"When looking back at my time here at UWRF, many of my classes were very closely related to my internship and future job," says Wesley. "Some of the classes that really stood out to me included soils, forestry and hydrology. I like seeing how what I learned in those classes relates to real life situations now in my career."

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College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
Fax 715-425-3785
210 Agricultural Science
611 S. 3rd St.
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