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Ryan Gooch

Ryan Gooch
International Agricultural Development
Museum Education Student Co- Coordinator 2017-2018

My time with the UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden has been the most influential and impactful aspect of my college career. My decision to join the Learning by Leading family as the Museum Education Co-Coordinator was one of the best decisions I have ever made. When I first started here as a transfer student in fall 2016, I was lost and unmotivated because I had no direction and no goal to aspire towards. When I saw the job posting on Aggie Job Link, I knew that I could not pass this opportunity up. Being chosen as a Co-Coordinator in spring 2017 was exactly what I needed to help propel me forward in life personally and professionally. One of the greatest things about being a Co-Coordinator for the Museum Education team was that it was the first year of this team’s existence, which meant that I and my Co-Coordinator, Ella Groff, were able to mold and shape this experience to our own design. Between Ella, myself, and our wonderful staff mentor, Maya Makker, we had a very large and rewarding undertaking on our hands.

Between designing educational signage, working with clients from around campus, cleaning and maintaining signs, creating and delivering tours for guests, and helping plan the huge “Pollinator Discovery Day”, among various other randomly assigned tasks, it seemed there really wasn’t anything we couldn’t do! This job has really taught me flexibility, time management, and leadership skills. Luckily, I had the pleasure of working with eight of the best interns anyone could ask for. Although we all were from different backgrounds and majors, we came together to create one cohesive and fantastic team!

Working for the UCD Arboretum and Public Garden is unlike any other experience available for undergraduates. We are given a lot of responsibility and the amazing staff here are always there to provide assistance or advice, yet they never pigeon-hold us, and instead encourage us to foster our creativity and make our ideas a reality. This experience has been so influential to me that I have, since joining, been a member of every committee and group I could manage within the Arboretum, even so far as winning a scholarship to attend this year’s annual American Public Gardens Association Conference as a Garden Scholar. This conference allowed me to network and even gain the experience of helping present a workshop for conference goers from around the country interested in creating their own Learning by Leading program. I now plan to focus on public gardens for my future career goals, and I have my time here with the Learning by Leading program to thank for that.

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