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Thanks to her college professor, Sydney Burek found an internship with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), which led to her career path.
“The University of Wyoming is where I was introduced to my current career path,” she says.
Burek majored in agricultural business, with a minor in rangeland ecology and watershed management. One of her professors recommended the NRCS internship program. The NRCS is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that provides technical assistance to farmers and other private landowners and managers.
“During the internship, I discovered there was an entire career path that would keep me working with plants and rangeland,” Burek says. “I never knew there were such opportunities. My coursework matched up so well to the work I did as a range conservationist with the NRCS. My learning helped me to feel comfortable and confident in my career.”
Burek graduated in 2011 and became a full-time conservationist for NRCS in Platte County, where she works with landowners to address natural resource concerns on their operations.
“We put together management plans and design any structural practices that may be needed, as well as offer cost-share programs to implement these projects to alleviate the resource concerns,” she says.
Her education also helps Burek make a difference in the community as vice president of the Laramie Peak CattleWomen, assisting the Wheatland FFA team with plant identification and range-related topics, and serving as the assistant leader for the Wheatland’s Finest 4-H Club and leader for the 4-H Platte County Leadership Team. Burek also presents in classrooms throughout Platte County on agricultural-related topics and helps on field days.
Each Memorial Day, you can find her placing flags on graves, and Burek is the current American Indian/Alaska Native Special Emphasis Program Manager for the Wyoming NRCS Civil Rights Advisory Committee and current co-chair. In addition, Burek is the past young women’s president and current second counselor for the Relief Society for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Wheatland.
Burek finds UW alumni connections wherever she goes: “The friends and relationships I formed at UW have continued to grow after college. I continually work with the individuals I met while at college. It’s amazing how ‘small’ and close the UW graduate community is!”
For Wyomingites who grew up in small towns, Burek says UW will make you feel right at home.
“Growing up in a small town, I was very nervous about going to a university, but UW had many characteristics that made me feel like I was still in a small-town community. The majority of campus is in a single location. I was able to walk to all of my classes with no worries of being late or getting lost. The smaller class sizes and course structure created a great learning environment. My professors in the agriculture and range departments were very down to earth, personable and very willing to help. I not only gained a great education, but I continue to have these professors to turn to with questions and advice.”
At UW, Burek also enjoyed participating in a wide variety of campus activities and making lifelong friends.
“Being a UW Cowboy is an honor,” she says. “I’m part of a tight-knit, supportive community where everyone is willing to pitch in to lend a hand. It’s more of a family that I am proud to say I’m part of!”
Sydney Burek WAS a featured speaker at the event on May 18, 2021
Wheatland | Vimbo’s Restaurant and Lounge