Four years ago, Detroit native and current GMC graduate student Kristen Schmitt was working as a legal marketing specialist at a busy Michigan law firm. Like many young professionals, she was performing the difficult art of balancing career and family (which includes her husband Jason, a communication studies professor at GMC, and their young daughter Bennett). “We made a conscious decision to re-evaluate our priorities and kind of hit the ‘reset button,’” Kristen says.
The family moved from Detroit to Wells, Vt., Kristen was already writing freelance articles for Urban Times, an online publication based in the U.K. Her material came largely from her family’s shift to gluten-free, diary-free dietary habits. “I discovered it was something I could write about and share with people,” Kristen says.
With more time on her hands, she enrolled in the College’s Master’s of Sustainable Food Systems. While her career as a freelance journalist was already launched, Kristen found the program a stimulating idea factory. She took up archery and bow hunting, and partnered with F&W Media to produce the “Beginner Guide to Archery: For Women,” distributed in 2013 through Deer and Deer Hunting magazine. The DVD, which grew out of her MSFS capstone project, is a “how to” guide for women getting into bow hunting for the first time, with tips on proper dress, safety, and handling a bow. Her final paper in her livestock class turned into an article on deer farming for Modern Farmer magazine.
“I didn’t think higher education degree in communications would do that much for me. Having the MSFS degree gives me an area of specialization that I think will be interesting and productive while giving me that extra credential that gives my voice more authority.”