PILOT Project - Career Development beyond Academia: A discussion with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 - 1:00pm to 2:30pm


Senior Graduate students, Recent Graduates, or Citizen Scholar undergraduates pursuing non-academic career paths are invited to join the live webinar “Career Development beyond Academia: A discussion with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development” June 22, 2022 from 1-2:30 EST.  This free event is hosted by “The PILOT Project: Pursuing Intentional Learning in Organizations Together”, an initiative from the Michigan State University Graduate School, College of Social Science, College of Natural Science, and Citizen Scholars, in partnership with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

Four guest speakers from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) will share their experience transitioning from university and academic workplaces into non-academic careers. Each speaker will share how they applied the four stages of career transition (adopted from Beyond the Professoriate), including: discovery, research, implement and build. Participants will reflect on how to (1) discover their skills, strengths and values; (2) research careers and opportunities that align with these factors; (3) implement a tailored job search; and (4) how to continue building their career path after accepting a job.

Participants will also learn about the Summer PILOT Project, which will host Michigan State senior graduate and Citizen Scholar undergraduate students in a community-building  experience in non-academic job preparation. The PILOT Project will continue these conversations in a weekly working group that revisits each of the four stages of career transition from Beyond the Professoriate, a program available to Michigan State University students for free. Additionally, participants will benefit from mentorship and organizing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion materials and presentations with University Faculty to gain valuable experience in engaging with non-academic institutions. To learn more about the PILOT Project, which is accepting applications until June 24th, please visit: https://grad.msu.edu/news/professional-development-opportunity-pilot-project

Guest Speakers

Ashley Batten, MDARD Recruitment, Professional Development, and DEI Officer

Ashley (she/her/hers) has been the Recruitment, Professional Development, and DEI Officer for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development since November 2019. Prior to her time at MDARD, she spent 12 years in the education industry, most recently at Michigan State University in a Career Center working with hundreds of employers to build their recruiting strategy and working with students on developing their professional brand and connecting with employers. She is grateful to have been able to dive head first into operationalizing DEI at MDARD, supporting a fantastic team of staff who have passion in integrating inclusive and equitable practices at MDARD. She lives in the mid-Michigan area with her husband, 4 kids, and Goldendoodle!

Amber Neils, MDARD Export and Compliance Program Specialist

Plants, science and math have always been Amber’s favorite subjects. She studied biology with a focus on plant science for undergraduate work where she was first exposed to and quickly became obsessed with plant pathology. From there she attended MSU for a PhD program in plant pathology. She studied ginseng diseases with Mary Hausbeck, who led a very hands-on lab where she learned a lot about so many different crops and diseases. She knew then that she wanted to move forward in a career where she would never stop learning new things about plant health, but she also wanted to explore options outside of academia out of curiosity.  Fortunately, she found a job at MDARD-Pesticide and Plant Pest Management, and felt it could not have been any more perfect. Every day is different and she learns something new several times each day.

Kayleen Schumacher

Kayleen (she/her/hers) has been working as the Communication Representative for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Animal Industry Division since April 2020. Previously, she taught composition for 13 years at three different Michigan universities. Most recently, she taught First-Year Writing at Michigan State University.

 Now, Kayleen uses her background in writing, public speaking, and instructional design to build effective communication materials about animal health for a variety of different internal and external audiences. She also supports the media and outreach efforts of MDARD’s Executive Communication team and the DEI efforts of the department.

 She lives in the central-Michigan area with her husband and cat.

Jen Calogero, DVM, PhD

Dr. Jen Calogero is one of the Assistant State Veterinarians within the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (MDARD) Animal Industry Division. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Michigan State University and then immediately began a dual DVM-PhD program at Michigan State University. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 2014. Upon graduation from veterinary school, she worked on finishing her PhD while also working for the National Park Service.  She completed an internship with the National Park Service Wildlife Health Branch and then worked as a Wildlife Biologist for Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore for two years. In 2016, she earned her PhD in Comparative Medicine and Integrative Biology from Michigan State University, studying Lyme disease ecology in Michigan. From 2016-April 2019, immediately prior to her time at MDARD, she worked for Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as a veterinary epidemiologist. Dr. Calogero is currently adjunct faculty at MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and still mentors veterinary and graduate students. She lives in East Lansing with her husband and nine-month-old daughter.

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