Young Alum of the Month: Teresa M. Sigafoose

Teresa M. Sigafoose
Title and Company: 
Microbiologist at United States Department of Agriculture
Elkton, Virginia
Major and Graduation Date: 
Microbiology, May 2003
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

As a member of the Brucella and Mycobacterium Reagents Team, I oversee and coordinate the production of all Brucella and Mycobacterium reagents used by state and federal veterinarians for the detection ofBrucella spp. (in cattle, swine, sheep, goats, elk, bison, and dogs) and Mycobacterium spp. (primarily in cattle). I am also responsible for two government contracts that are part of the National Brucellosis Eradication Program and the National Tuberculosis Program. I occasionally travel, nationally and internationally, to participate in Brucellosis training courses for veterinarians and laboratory personnel. When I am not working on reagent production, I work on my section's quality assurance system by updating operating procedures, creating worksheets for production records, developing inventory databases, and creating a user friendly filing system.

What you like most about your job/position: 

I enjoy the challenges and responsibilities that my job offers me on a daily basis. My duties vary from day to day. One day I may be working on Tuberculin reagents and the next day Brucella reagents; or I may be preparing materials for a training presentation or attending training classes myself. I also enjoy the opportunity to work with scientists and veterinarians across the country and overseas on animal and human health issues.

The benefits are also very nice. The federal government provides their employees with excellent health insurance options and vacation time.

What advice would you give to current students: 

Seek out a mentor in your area of interest. There are so many career opportunities in Agriculture. Your mentor can help guide you with decisions you make and can lend an encouraging ear when you have questions, concerns, or frustrations. I have been very fortunate. I found my mentor a year before I graduated from ISU and she is still my mentor today. When I feel overwhelmed because of challenging situations or have to work on something that I don't enjoy, she reminds me to "consider these things as opportunities for personal growth and development." I have taken her words of wisdom to heart so many times and have grown professionally and personally because of her advice.