ACM Alumni Spotlight: Theresa Twohey
Growing up on her family’s dairy farm near Rochester, Minnesota, Theresa always thought that she wanted to be a nurse until she joined 4-H and FFA. Through participation in those two organizations, she found a passion for communicating. “For those that know me, it was no shock to my family and friends that I enjoyed talking. So, I decided to make a career out of it,” Theresa said. That passion led her to the University of Minnesota where she graduated in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Education- Leadership and Communication.
The University of Minnesota was the best fit for Theresa because of her involvement in youth leadership programs and her desire to pursue a career in agricultural communications. Because of that communication focus, she graduated with minors in Mass Communication and Animal Science. Outside of her coursework, Theresa “was blessed with many opportunities to continue to develop skills through internships with University of Minnesota Extension and the Midwest Dairy Association.” During her internship with Midwest Dairy, Theresa’s supervisor, Sherry Newell, quickly became one of her biggest mentors. That summer working with the Midwest Dairy Association solidified her decision to pursue a career in agricultural communications.
Upon graduation, she accepted a job with the Minnesota Pork Producers Association as the Director of Communications and Marketing. Theresa had been in that position for the last three years, but she recently took an opportunity to get back to her dairy roots and now works as the Integrated Communication Program Manager for the Midwest Dairy Association. Her favorite aspect of this new job is that she gets to work on building consumer confidence in agriculture in addition to helping farmers connect with consumers. “Communicating to both farmers and consumers provides a beautiful challenge that is truly rewarding.” In addition to her new position, Theresa is also currently going back to school to receive her M.A. in Strategic Communications from the University of Minnesota.
During her undergraduate years at the University of Minnesota, Theresa served as the president of Gopher Dairy Club, Vice President of the CFANS Student Board, Vice President and Ag Awareness Day Chair of the Agricultural Education Club, and assisted in recruitment for Beta of Clovia. Her favorite experience was being a part of the Dairy Judging Team. “It was stressful to miss that much school during fall semester, but I built lifelong friendships and I had so much fun.”
The University of Minnesota not only helped Theresa develop the skills that she needed for her career, but provided her with many opportunities to network with professionals that are still a part of her life today. Theresa said, “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the U of M and I think agricultural communication students are luckier now than ever before with the introduction of the new major.” In addition to developing professionally, Theresa met her fiancé at the University of Minnesota. They will be married on April 8, 2017.
Theresa’s advice for incoming freshmen and current U of M students is to, “enjoy your time because it goes so fast. Take advantage of the opportunities you are given to network, find internships and get familiar with the agricultural community. I know it is cliché to say, but relationships are key to everything, so make sure you are taking the time to create new relationships and nurture the ones you already have.” Theresa also encourages students to talk with people who have differing viewpoints than they do. “The U of M is a diverse student body so take the chance to learn how to communicate and respect others who have views that might differ from yours. I really appreciated that about the classes I took outside of the St. Paul campus.”