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Published December 10, 2019
Ten University of Wyoming students recently participated in a “Live Local, Work Local” career experience in Sweetwater County. The program provides students opportunities to live and work in Wyoming.
The UW career services team worked with the Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition to organize the opportunity for Sweetwater County communities to highlight their businesses, careers and cities while increasing students’ career awareness of Wyoming opportunities. Career services team members were from the UW colleges of Engineering and Applied Science, Business, and Agriculture and Natural Resources; and UW’s School of Energy Resources, and the Advising, Career and Exploratory Studies Center.
Participating UW students have majors in management, chemical engineering, education, anthropology, geology and geography.
Students toured Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County on the first day. A business panel followed, composed of Gary Collins, of SweetwaterNOW; Mark Cowan, of Radiant Manufacturing; and Jessica Evans, of Royal Flush Advertising. Participants learned some of the pros and cons of small business ownership.
Students attended a networking reception at the historic Broadway Theater featuring Rock Springs City Council President Tim Savage and Chad Banks, the Rock Springs Downtown Urban Renewal Agency Main Street manager.
Students on the second day toured trona mines Genesis-Alkali, TATA Chemicals and HydraFab in Green River. The tours helped participants to understand one of the major industries in southwest Wyoming.
“I gained a new appreciation for smaller communities as a viable place of employment, with routes for progression,” says Robert Millar, a UW student from Ballymena, Northern Ireland. “It broadened my knowledge of new industries and gave me wider knowledge of Wyoming's coal/gas dilemma and then how the trona and small companies combat this until a viable alternative is developed.”
Students later met with county Commissioners Roy Lloyd and Wally Johnson; Green River Mayor Pete Rust and city Administrator Reed Clevenger; and Rock Springs City Council members Glennise Wendorf and Jeannie Demas.
During the final days, students met with organization representatives to ask more focused questions. One group visited Rock Springs Junior High, Stagecoach Elementary, Western Wyoming Community College and Black Butte High School.
A second group went to Simplot Phosphates, Western Engineers and Geologists, Mountain States Pressure Services and Wyoming Machinery.
“'Live Local, Work Local' helped me decide that moving back to the Rock Springs area is exactly what I need,” says UW student Tiffany Prather, from Rock Springs. “I had many opportunities to speak with employers about their companies and talk about my plans after I graduate. I recommend to any future students looking at that area. It was very helpful for me!”
The third group went to the Sweetwater County Land Use and Planning and Zoning Department, Hager Industries, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and JFC Engineers and Surveyors.
The most interesting and beneficial visit for anthropology student Aurora Noe, from Cheyenne, was to speak to a BLM anthropologist.
“This really opened up my eyes to what they really do. They explain that, although they are archaeologists, they do not solely do archaeology,” she says. “They also utilize cultural anthropology, which is the direction in anthropology that I plan to go into. I am now interested in possibly doing an internship with them.”
To learn more about the program, call the UW Advising, Career and Exploratory Studies Center at (307) 766-2398 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students who participated in the Sweetwater County event are:
Ballymena, Northern Ireland -- Robert Millar.
Cheyenne -- Aurora Noe.
Chicago, Ill. -- Christopher Kingwill.
Evanston -- Todd Muller.
Ghana, West Africa -- Johannes Addido.
Greeley, Colo. -- Bryley Van Doren.
Green River -- Hunter Lee.
Laramie -- Jeremia Varca.
Rock Springs -- Tiffany Prather and Kody Thomas.