2010 Turfgrass Science Alumnus Kevin Sheaffer

Posted: July 22, 2014

Kevin has gained a lot of experience in a short amount of time after he graduated from Penn State in 2010 with his B.S. in Turfgrass Science. He started as a Sales Representative in the Turf and Ornamental Division at Dow AgroSciences LLC and is now the Commercial Workforce Recruiting Specialist.
Kevin Sheaffer '10 Turfgrass Science

Kevin Sheaffer '10 Turfgrass Science

How has being a Penn State and College of Agricultural Sciences alum benefited your career?

The knowledge and experience that I received, while at Penn State, has benefited me in getting a jump start on my career. I use a lot of what I learned in class and outside of class in my day to day activities. Although my current position may not seem to relate to  major, skills I learned from class, professors and my peers through clubs and activities have really benefited me early on. The other great benefit you don’t quite know until you leave college, is the alumni network. We have such a large presence around the country that you can find a Penn Stater anywhere! When I worked in Florida, there were plenty of Penn State alum’s and networks and the same can be said about Indiana.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career?

I have really only just started my career. I graduated in 2010 and went to work for Dow AgroSciences, which only gives me just over 4 years with the company. I have had two jobs in the company since then, I started as a sales rep and now I am the recruiting specialist for our U.S. Commercial Sales team. The most rewarding part of my short career so far has really been all of the learning and growing that I feel I have done. In the first year to year and a half, I learned a lot about myself and how I work with people and co-workers in a true industry setting. Penn State did a great job preparing me with what I needed to be successful in the “Real World”, and I used those skills to get started. Today I continue to learn as much as I can, as I continue to progress in my career.

What advice would you give to current students?

Don’t be afraid to try something new that may take you out of your comfort zone, whether that is taking the lead in a club or on a project, or taking an internship away from home for the summer. You do a lot of learning and growing when you are out of your normal routine. Even though you may not think you are ready or may not like it, you don’t know until you try it.

What is the best piece of career advice that you’ve ever received?

Two things I was taught that I use today… the first is to do the common things, uncommonly well. Early on you will be given tasks that seem to be small or routine, but it is important to do that task better than anyone else. Take pride in the small things and add value wherever you can. The second is to become an expert at your current role, before you worry about taking the next. Coming out of college you may not get that “ideal” job you wanted, but it is important to remember that if you don’t do the first job well, you can’t move on to the next and grow your career. Become the best in your current role and opportunities will come your way eventually. If you just are looking ahead to the next job or how this current role isn’t what you wanted, you may never see that next role that you wanted.

What is your favorite creamery flavor?

Chocolate, it may seem common but they do the common thing uncommonly well.

What is the best suggestion you can give a to a recent College of Agricultural Sciences graduate beginning the job search?

The best suggestion I can give to folks who are just beginning the job search is to do your homework and think about what you want to do for a career and not just a job. Think about what you may want to do years from now and what type of company you see yourself working for. Make sure you find a company that is going to fit you. Finding a job that is going to fit you is one thing, but you have to remember you are starting a career, not a job. You want to be happy with the company and the job you look for. You may find that dream job, but that company may not fit you or your career goals. Also, remember during interviews that you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you.

What do you enjoy most about a day at Dow AgroSciences?

Dow AgroSciences has been a great choice for me. They gave me an opportunity back in 2010 to join their sales team and it really has been the best decision I have made. What I really enjoy about Dow AgroSciences is working with great people who really make work fun. I have had the privilege of working with a great sales team and I had a great boss in Florida. Nothing has changed with my recruiting role. I work on a great team, with great leadership, and we do have fun!

Thank you Kevin for providing insight on your career path and offering advice to current students!     -- Alyssa Maxwell, Alumni Relations Intern