Sharing Experience

Alumni showcase careers in conservation, consulting, and manufacturing.

On February 25-26 the college’s Diversity Coordinating Council invited three alumni to University Park to speak with students, faculty members, and administrators about their experiences at Penn State and in the workforce. The event is part of an ongoing effort to have alumni share their perspectives on career paths, outcomes, and expertise. Megan Davis Reed, Leonard Cornish, and David Bolden come from diverse backgrounds and represent a wide range of careers—in conservation, consulting, and business—for students who choose agricultural majors.

Megan Davis Reed
Megan Davis Reed, Wildlife and Fisheries Science '12

In college, Reed, Wildlife and Fisheries Science ’12, participated in the Wildlife Society; MANNRS (Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences); Ag Sciences and ESM student councils; the Ag Advocates program; and intramural softball, soccer, basketball, and football. After completing her degree in just 2.5 years, she went to work full time at a National Wildlife Refuge, and was recently hired as a special assistant at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Reed believes her willingness to try different things is the reason for her accomplishments. “I’ve had a lot of opportunities and haven’t been afraid to take advantage of them,” she says.

Leonard Cornish
Leonard Cornish, Animal Science '77

Cornish, Animal Science ’77 and Soil Science ’95, tells a different kind of success story, one that led to achieving his dream of owning his own business. After working for regulatory agencies for many years, he founded Pocono Soil and Environmental Consulting, where he provides professional environmental consulting services in the fields of soil science, biological science, and select biological specialties. A military veteran and animal lover, Cornish dreamed of going to veterinary school but decided to take a different path. Now, he’s preserving the water quality in rural areas of Pennsylvania. “My main motivation,” he explains, “is to protect our environment by making sure that people have their needs met without damaging our soil and water systems.”

David Bolden
David Bolden, Food Science '87

Bolden, Food Science ’87, is the quality food assurance manager of Snavely’s Mill, a company that processes a variety of grain crops into flour. Raised in Philadelphia, he credits his mother for setting him up for success. She sent him to an agricultural high school, W.B. Saul, and Penn State was the obvious next step. After graduation, Bolden took an entry-level job as a quality control technician for a jam and jelly manufacturer. Since then, he has held multiple food quality and safety positions in several different industries. According to Bolden, the hands-on nature of food science at Penn State is what prepared him for success. “That’s how I knew I could do more than just one thing,” he says.

At a student and faculty panel in the Forest Resources Building, the three alumni answered questions about working in agriculture, applying for jobs, and getting the most out of your education. They brought different perspectives, but agreed on one thing—whether you are answering questions about wildlife, explaining a regulatory requirement, or supervising a production team, the ability to work with people is one of the most beneficial things you learn in the College of Agricultural Sciences. “It’s important to have good people working beside you,” said Bolden.

—Emily Bartlett