The College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) at Illinois State University is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year! This series, CAST 50×50, is designed to highlight 50 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and organizations within CAST that make the college special. These notable people will tell you that every day in CAST is a great day to be a Redbird!
Today #CAST50 is excited to feature our first alumni! Kristen Faucon ’15 is a recent CAST alumna from the Department of Agriculture.
What was your major within CAST, why did you choose that, and when did you graduate?
I graduated with honors in the spring of 2015 with my degree in agricultural communication and leadership and a minor in political science. I knew that I wanted to pursue a career where I was communicating to or on behalf of farmers and the agricultural community so ag com was an obvious choice. What I liked about ISU’s program was that it allowed me a lot of flexibility to choose courses that would give me the right foundation for my future career.
Can you describe how your college career lead you to where you are today?
I remember in one of my first agriculture classes how Dr. (Rob) Rhykerd said to put yourself in position to be in position. Choosing to come to ISU was the first step that put me in position for numerous opportunities throughout my college career. Leadership positions in different organizations taught me a lot about working with other people, how to prioritize and manage my time, and other important soft skills. The networking opportunities led to significant internships and key relationships that have helped me to move up and to be successful in my current role. There are a lot of different pieces of my ISU experience that led to where I am today—all of these pieces put me in position to be in position.
Describe what you do on a daily basis.
I communicate, advocate, and educate on behalf of the GROWMARK System in the legislative/regulatory arenas. I research how proposals will impact our cooperative and ultimately our farmer owners, and I work with other partners in the industry to shape the outcome of these proposals. I spend a lot of time traveling to meetings and events, talking with our member companies and associations, as well as writing and analysis.
What are your ultimate career goals?
I’d like to stay in the agriculture policy world and pursue leadership roles, but I couldn’t say a specific job title, company, location, etc. I’m looking to apply to some graduate degree programs and learning as much as I can in my current role at GROWMARK.
What piece of advice do you have for current students?
My general advice to students would be to take advantage of the opportunity and flexibility that the ISU experience allows and to leverage the network of faculty and registered student organizations (RSO). The experiences that had the biggest impact on me and my future career came from professors setting up a job shadows, competitions, and leadership positions in student clubs, and from making my degree program work for me.
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