I wanted a program that focused on Extension Education, more specifically the role of extension programming in the community development process. Although my degree is in AEE, my focus was on YFE. This area of emphasis helped me to understand and apply practical strategies that can be utilized to strengthen communities through local residents (i.e., youth and their families). In addition, the faculty in the department are well known in their respective disciplines, which was another influence on my decision to choose the program. I rarely had to go any further than the department to find individuals with the expertise that I needed.
I received two graduate degrees from the YFE/AEE program and both experiences allowed me to connect with caring faculty members whom I give credit to nurturing me into a young scholar. I especially liked the camaraderie among students and other staff members. The social outings (e.g., Christmas party, softball game, etc.) presented an opportunity to get to know one another within a more relaxed setting.
What I learned
I developed the research and analytical skills required to function in my current work environment (academia). I am confident that I can build my level of expertise, based on the foundation that I received as a graduate student in the department.
Working with the faculty and other graduate students greatly enhanced my professional growth. Initially, I had a plethora of ideas and interests that I wanted to explore. Now, as a result of working with my adviser and other faculty members in the department, I have developed a more focused agenda that I am passionate about.
If you are interested in a degree that deals with the needs of youth, families and their communities, offers the flexibility to design a program that fits your interests, and if you are in need of a highly regarded group of faculty members to assist you in achieving your professional goals, then the department is definitely worth considering.