Michaela Kandzer graduated from the University of Florida Food & Resource Economics (FRE) bachelor’s degree program in 2019. She followed in the footsteps of her father, a fellow program alumnus who graduated with a degree in FRE at UF in 2000.
“I knew this major would open the door to a lot of different career opportunities,” Kandzer said. “I was interested in studying business and had a passion for the ag. industry, so this degree tied those interests together perfectly!”
Michaela also earned her master’s degree from UF in Agricultural Education and Communication.
As a communications specialist, she works part-time at the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (PIE Center). She is an essential member of the center’s outreach efforts and many affiliate programs. Kandzer can often be heard on the center’s podcast “Science by the Slice,” interviewing experts across various fields to explore the science behind issues affecting our daily lives.
One of the many projects on which Kandzer provides communications support is a collaboration involving FRE faculty member Christa Court. The project is funded by a grant from the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. It seeks to examine, understand and provide educational outreach on food-supply chain issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kandzer also owns her own strategic digital marketing company, MK Design Co. She provides graphic design, strategic marketing counseling, and more to help agricultural businesses and others to promote their products and services and increase the reach of their brands.
“I love getting to use the skills I developed at UF to help my clients grow their businesses,” Kandzer said. “Business owners invest so much of themselves in their business, and it is an honor to come alongside them and help them to become more successful!”
Kandzer uses the skills gained in accounting and finance from her time in FRE daily as she runs her business. In addition, concepts learned about best practices, agribusiness marketing, and how economics impacts marketing strengthen her work.
For current students, Kandzer’s advice is this:
It is never too early to begin building a network! I began working to build a network during my first semester in the FRE program after Dr. Stefanou gave a lecture on networking in the FRE Seminar course that year. Without my professional network, I wouldn’t be where I am today in my career. Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone you barely know and ask them to coffee. You never know what opportunities that relationship could provide!