Upon graduation in 2012, UW-Green Bay alumnus Amy Manske (in pink) decided not to settle. She was going to look for her dream job — one that incorporated her love for agriculture and her degree in Communication. A previous opportunity as a finalist for “Alice in Dairyland,” the official agricultural ambassador for the state of Wisconsin, only solidified her desire for a career in agricultural public relations.
It took Manske only two months after graduation to find work in her chosen field. She accepted a job as communications coordinator at the Wisconsin Farm Bureau Federation (WFBF) in Madison, Wisconsin’s largest general farm organization.
“The reason why I like my job so much is because I get to tell people about agriculture and farmers,” Manske said. “So many of our members are the hardworking farmers out working every day, even in the frigid temperatures out feeding their animals and taking care of them. That is really noteworthy and cool to tell people.”
Manske grew up on a dairy farm in New London, Wis., and has a soft spot for agriculture and those responsible for it.
“It’s really challenging because less than two percent of the population is involved in agriculture anymore,” she said. “Telling that story to 98 percent of the world is a challenge.”
Manske says she enjoys the variety of her job. On any given day she could be setting up media interviews, writing articles, updating several social media accounts, working with committees, going to events or working with a co-worker on the county newsletters.
She travels to the 61 county farm bureaus and events across the state, and a few outside the state as well. Last year a trip to Washington D.C. gave her a professional development opportunity to meet with others from the American Farm Bureau and speak with legislators.
Manske originally chose to attend UW-Green Bay for its proximity to her hometown. She says she stayed because of the supportive people that helped her grow as a person. She says she found family, friendship and love.
“There are a lot of people that stick out in my mind at UWGB because the nature of the campus is to be friendly and supportive,” Manske said.
She interned with the public relations director of the Green Bay Area Public School District helping with social media and public relations. She also gained experience as an intern with Margarita’s Mexican Restaurant, working with the Green Bay establishment to create a new website and work on its public relations and social media presence.
“It takes time to master professional skills and those internships allowed me to practice and improve,” Manske said. “I was able to experiment with social media to see what works and what doesn’t while I was still in school.”
Manske also worked in UWGB’s Dean of Students office, where she became close to University Services Associate, Amanda Wildenberg, saying Wildenberg was a very special role model. “I appreciated her constant encouragement,” she said. “I felt like I had a family away from my own family, everyone in that office made me feel like their daughter in a sense.”
Manske also met her future husband, Jonathan Eckelberg, at UWGB. They had Communication classes and Residence Hall and Apartment Association meetings in common, and deepened their friendship when they both became student ambassadors. (The story has it that Eckelberg poked Manske with a fork to get her attention during an ambassador luncheon, but that’s a separate story). They plan to be married in October of 2014.
Story by Cheyenne Makinia, Marketing and University Communication intern