Taking Student Recruitment to the Next Level

CAFNR Office of Academic Programs strengthens recruitment team with new staff addition

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ Office of Academic Programs strengthened its student recruitment team with a new staff addition, Tara O’Brien, who joined in September.

O’Brien is a recruitment and events specialist, a brand-new position to CAFNR.

“While CAFNR has an incredible amount of support regarding recruitment efforts from faculty, staff, students and administrators, we knew we could do more,” said Julie Scroggs, director of student recruitment. “Tara is able to make our existing events even better and create new events for prospective and admitted CAFNR students. With Tara, we’re able to enhance the awareness of CAFNR’s degree programs and our service to prospective students and families.”

A 2019 CAFNR graduate with a degree in hospitality management and emphasis in conference and event management, O’Brien brings her experience as a CAFNR student to the position.

“CAFNR gave me a sense of community when I moved here,” O’Brien said. “I’m from a super small town, Elsberry, Missouri, and a lot of people were worried that when I went to Mizzou it would be a culture shock. It never really felt like a culture shock and I think that was because of CAFNR and the small-town feel of everything.”

In her role, O’Brien focuses on student recruitment and recruitment events. She acts as a liaison between high schools who come to campus for a visit and the college. After identifying what the prospective students are interested in, O’Brien reaches out to the various departments within CAFNR and degree programs to set up degree overviews or activities for the students.

“Finding out students’ interests is a big part of it because we want to make sure the visit is catered to their interests,” O’Brien said. “We also like to make the visits as hands-on as possible because CAFNR classes are typically very hands-on, so we like to give them that experience right out of the gate.”

O’Brien planned the first-ever CAFNR Visit Day, an opportunity for students to come to campus to learn about and explore careers they are exposed to through CAFNR. The day focused on hands-on activities with each degree program.

“There’s a large focus for recruitment all across campus right now,” O’Brien said. “In the past, Julie Scroggs was doing all student recruitment, which is a lot to put on one person. With this new position, we can divide and conquer, reach more people and do more events.”