Young Alum of the Month: Michael Dolch

Michael Dolch
Title and Company: 
Special Assistant for Agriculture to U.S. Senator Joni Ernst
Villisca, IA
Major and Graduation Date: 
B.S., Agricultural and Life Sciences Education (Communications), August 2013
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

In short, I listen, evaluate and communicate.  I keep a pulse on agriculture issues, policy concerns and opinions voiced by Iowans through outreach across the state – more or less a conduit of information for Senator Ernst and the legislative shop, advising both on new developments.  I also help constituents navigate federal agencies like the Farm Service Agency and National Resources Conservation Service.

What you like most about your job/position: 

Traveling and Networking.  I am very fortunate to work for a Member of Congress who was born and raised on a family farm in rural Iowa – one who understands the importance of hard work, service and sacrifice. Spending a great deal of time on the road, I really enjoy interacting and connecting with people across the state.

Continuous Learning.  Agriculture is continually evolving to meet consumer needs and demands.  Technology, for example, is changing the face of modern agriculture, allowing a farmer to grow more from less.  I view every day as a learning opportunity disguised as a challenge.  Over the past year, I’ve learned a lot, but have a lot left to learn.

What advice would you give to current students: 

Leave your door open.  Although the practice may apply more so to incoming freshman, the habit is beneficial for everyone.  Leaving your door open is one of the best ways to meet people and show you’re open to new friendships.  Better yet, walk into open doors and simply introduce yourself.

Focus on your relationships more than your studies.  Studying is important, but isn’t everything.  You will likely never be surrounded by so many like-minded people with whom you can stay connected.  College is a great opportunity to build lifelong relationships, so take full advantage and never stop networking.

Build yourself, then your resume.  Too many students join clubs or organizations and gain leadership positions solely to impress future employers.  Focus more on developing yourself as a strong, well-rounded person, and you will be far more memorable during the interview process and in the working world.

Find a mentor and utilize career services.  Whether a professor or industry representative, find a mentor who can teach you about life and career goals.  CALS Career Services is home to some of the best staff and resources on campus – people who are truly committed to student and alumni success beyond the classroom.  Take the time to swing through the office and become familiar with the staff and student programming.

Favorite ISU Class(es):
AGEDS 211: Early Field Based Experience
AGEDS 235: Introduction to Agricultural Markets
AGEDS 451: Agricultural Law