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UMD student gets peek at future career

February 22, 2018

It's often hard for college students to figure out their majors. But NRRI helped this graduate student with the right connections.

Here’s a classic problem for college students – not knowing enough about careers to know what to major in. But Tyler Untiedt, who thought he might be interested in natural resources fields, got over that hurtle with the help of NRRI Associate Director Lucinda Johnson.

Each year, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources holds a “Roundtable” event to connect with their stakeholders. So on a cold January day this year, professionals from all corners of the DNR, Fish and Wildlife Service, and other natural resources agencies, gathered to share, listen and learn. This year’s theme: The Value and Importance of Minnesota’s Public Lands.

And Untiedt was one of a couple dozen college students from around the state attending.

“The best thing for me was the student breakfast before the Roundtable,” he said. “They had about eight DNR professionals there, informal panel discussions and then we talked with them one-on-one. It was a great opportunity.”

He wanted to get at the nitty-gritty for what it takes to get a job with the Minnesota DNR and was seated with the perfect person. Megan Benage is a regional ecologist in New Ulm. She talked about her research and emphasized the importance of job shadowing. Benage even offered Untiedt the chance to shadow her job, if he wanted to.

“That was very nice of her. As a young professional, that was just really great,” he added. Untiedt received his undergraduate degree from UMD last May and is now in graduate school studying water resources.

Untiedt is in his second year working in NRRI Senior Scientist Chanlan Chun’s microbiology lab. Chun nominated Untiedt to attend the Roundtable. Johnson said she tries to send a student each year.

“The DNR started the student portion of the program to educate and encourage the next generation of professionals,” she said. “Tyler is passionate about this career path and it shows.”

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