Alumni Spotlight: Brynnen Gardner

brynnen gardnerYou don’t have to come to college knowing exactly what you want to do after you graduate. College is a time of exploration and growth, and that is exactly what Brynnen Gardner’s experience proved.

Gardner started her freshman year at Iowa State as an animal science major, after recognizing her passion for animal agriculture but not knowing what she intended to do with the degree. “I thought that communicating was a hobby, and my mentors showed me it was a real option.” Gardner graduated in the Spring of 2021 with her degree in Animal Science and minors in Public Relations and Political Sciences and is now an Assistant Account Executive in Public Relations at Bader-Rutter.

Gardner was extremely involved during her time at Iowa State, including CALS Council, Dairy Science Club, Block and Bridle, Cardinal Key Honor Society, and working for the Animal Science Department. Gardner credits her time outside and inside the classroom, preparing her for her future career. “My science-based curriculum allowed me to have a deeper understanding of the animal industry, while still exploring how it fit with my passion for communications. My degrees have allowed me to better perform at my job and serve our agricultural clients.”

She encourages current animal science students to acknowledge the value classes like ANS 211 and ANS 411 provide. “Learning how to communicate any message is important, but learning to communicate well when you are passionate about an area takes the time and practice these classes provide.” Gardner has an even greater appreciation for these classes as they were the first time she realized animal science and communications could go together. “It was really eye-opening to view my scientific understandings of an industry from a communications and even a bit of a crisis management standpoint.”

Gardner shared that her career has had a few meaningful moments each with their own special impact. She was proud to have contributed to a NAMA-winning website during her first year at Bader-Rutter, stating, “Not only did it clear away any lingering imposter syndrome, but it confirmed I was in the right career.” Gardner’s second meaningful moment is when she realized how tight-knit the animal industry is and how important your connections are. “It is so wonderful to talk to alumni and reach out to students. Support goes both ways, and I am honored to provide the stepping stones others have provided me.”

Brynnen’s advice for students:
“You don’t need to have an exact life plan; just focus on what you are excited and passionate about, and you will find that your career will fall into place. It is better to focus on learning and growing through life rather than trying to get to one specific destination.”