Ag, Natural Resources Career Focus on Science

The Educational Pipeline: preparing students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)

Ag, Natural Resources Career Focus on Science

college's Obermeyer helps students prepare, stays current on jobs, internships

Interview Julie Obermeyer Mary Garbacz

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicate there are more jobs available than there are students in the educational pipeline to fill them. Another statistic indicates that by the time a student graduates from college, there will be 60 percent more jobs available than when the student started college.

But how do college students prepare for and learn about these careers?

Julie Obermeyer is career development and corporate relations director for the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She teaches employment preparation classes and helps students prepare for the work world, both educationally and professionally. At the same time, she stays in contact with employers to learn about the professional trajectory of each company and the jobs being created as a result.

“A key component of my role is connecting students and employers, and to ensure students find a clear path to career success upon graduation,” Obermeyer said. 


“One of the main parts of my job is educational; preparing students and helping them build their career toolkits to be successful,” she said. The Employment Seminar course she teaches covers basics such as résumés, cover letters, interview skills, networking and interpersonal skills. A second course, Job Survival, prepares students for the transition to full-time employment. A seminar called Dean’s Scholars in Experiential Leadership is offered by CASNR and is available at no cost to freshmen. The seminar focuses on identifying and tapping into individual strengths and talents and on developing communication skills and confidence. All these opportunities, Obermeyer said, help students prepare educationally and professionally for their careers.


Obermeyer said the corporate relations segment of her job gives her the chance to network with industry and learn about new career opportunities for students. She also can expand the growing list of employers who want to hire the college’s graduates, either for internships or for full-time career positions after graduation.

She also is able to discover where companies are headed in the future and how many positions they’ll be hiring for each year. Since internships are required by many academic programs, Obermeyer helps companies establish internship programs and publicizes them.

Career fairs

Obermeyer organizes three career fairs during each academic year, where employers and students can meet one-on-one. There are two large career fairs – one in the sixth week of the fall semester and another about the same time in the spring semester, she said. A third, smaller career fair is held in late January, specifically timed for life sciences and natural resources students and employers.

“We’ve had significant growth and interest in our career fairs. In 2017, we hosted more than 100 employers at the fall fair alone, whereas a few years ago we tended to hold steady between 60 and 75 employers. About 600 students attend the fall career fair, making it a great opportunity for both students and employers to find each other,” she said. During the fall career fair, more than 200 interviews are conducted, with more occurring in the days following the fair. Hiring managers are interviewing for full-time employment and for summer internships, she added. 

A CASNR career fair is big business – and employers are there to hire. In fact, employers increasingly are looking at younger students who they see as having potential. And, they’re willing to wait for them.

“Employers are starting to look at students earlier in their academic careers. They keep track of students they’re really interested in, that they can’t hire just yet but want to stay connected to. That way, when students are closer to graduation and ready for full-time positions employers have already built strong relationships,” she said. ““It’s increasingly important for students to attend career fairs, network and become involved early in their academic careers.”

More and more employers are looking for people with high scientific knowledge and technical skills, Obermeyer said, but they’re also looking for “employability skills.” She explained that those are soft skills, such as communication and problem-solving as well as science literacy and basic, well-rounded scientific knowledge.


The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources includes more than a dozen academic programs with areas of study ranging from professional golf management to entomology; from animal science to food science; from natural resources to leadership, education and communication. 

More than 60 percent of CASNR students were placed in jobs within Nebraska in 2016, Obermeyer said. That statistic exceeds the percentage of students who specifically wanted to stay in Nebraska, most of whom were seeking positions within 45 minutes of their hometowns. Fifty percent of CASNR students said they would go anywhere for the right job.


“Ensuring Your Future” is a program unique to CASNR, Obermeyer said; no other peer institution offers this guarantee. The program is a comprehensive approach to preparing the college’s graduates for that first job, focusing on academics, involvement and experience.

“The program guarantees a student a job within six months of graduation – in the student’s field of study if he or she completes all the program requirements. It’s everything an employer or faculty member would say the students need to do to be successful,” she said. To qualify for this guarantee, the college student needs to maintain a 3.0 or higher grade point average; complete an internship; have another discovery experience; be involved in at least two student organizations; and be in an honor society. Specific details about the Ensuring Your Future program can be found at

For more information about careers in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, go to

Julie Obermeyer can be contacted by email at

Our Guarantee:

The college guarantees that any CASNR graduate who completes the Ensuring Your Future program and actively seeks employment will receive at least one job offer relevant to his or her academic program within the first six months after graduation. If you do not receive at least one employment offer, the College will pay for any course that is documented by an employer who interviewed you and found your degree program lacking critical elements. Career Services will administer an active résumé referral service, post job openings, provide help with résumé preparation and prepare you for interviews with employers who are recruiting University of Nebraska–Lincoln students.