Having grown up in the St. John Valley, I knew from high school that I wanted to reside in this area because of all it has to offer both professionally and recreationally. The small-town atmosphere that UMFK offers is something that I was comfortable with, and there was no question as to where I wanted to attend. I originally declared my major in Business Management, where I remained in the program for 2 years. I took classes in accounting, finance, and human resources, but I realized that I was in search of more, and I did not feel that business was the best fit for where I wanted to take my career.
I knew that the Applied Forest Management Program was very rigorous and hands on, so I approached the faculty with some questions. They were very kind to point me in the right direction, and understood my concerns about the direction I wanted to be professionally. I was placed on a detailed track to complete the 2.5 year Applied Forest Management program in about 1.5 years, keeping me on track to graduate in a 4-year time frame with both a B.S. in Business Management and A.S. in Applied Forest Management.
The most pivotal experience that came out of my time in the forestry program was the opportunity that the program provides to meet with potential employers. I did an internship with J.D. Irving in the summer of 2020 managing migrant crews conducting silviculture operations for the landowner. With this opportunity, I was able to develop excellent relationships with the company, establish a foundation of skills for managing people, and realize that forestry was indeed the field I wanted to be in. J.D. Irving offered me a full-time job as a Harvesting Supervisor about 4 months before I was set to graduate, where I had the opportunity to train for my position 3 days a week, while finishing up my courses on my days off.
I have maintained great relationships with professors and peers after graduation, and have found a career where I can continue my hobbies of canoeing, fishing, camping, skiing, and hunting in an area that I love. I am very grateful for the opportunities and guidance that UMFK has offered me during my time spent there to put me in the position that I am.