Jessy Fagundes Named Spring 2014 Senior Scholar

Jessy Fagundes Named Spring 2014 Senior Scholar

Spring 2014 Reynolds School Senior Scholar Jessy Fagundes will be quick to tell you she didn’t get straight A’s throughout college. Rather, she got straight A’s and “one A minus”—a feat that most students (and their parents) can only dream about, but one that disappoints a self-described “type-A” Fagundes nonetheless.

Raised on a goat dairy in Churchill County, Fagundes has known the meaning of hard work from a young age. When asked if her upbringing is responsible for her uncanny ability to thrive academically, however, Fagundes said she didn’t necessarily think so.

Regardless of the lessons learned on her family farm, Fagundes explained, the desire to do well in school is something that comes from within. She recognizes the need to excel, not just in journalism, but in all subjects, in order to become a well-rounded and well-informed journalist.

“I love journalism for the sake of journalism,” Fagundes said. “But I’ve always wanted to strive academically. I thought economics was boring, but it’s beneficial if you want to be a financial journalist.”

Fagundes chose to come to the Reynolds School in 2010 following a Nevada Bound event.  She was initially impressed by the technology the school housed and thought the building was “pretty,” but fell more in love with the program once she realized it offered public relations as a focus, something she was highly interested in.

Fagundes knew from a young age that she wanted to be involved in agriculture. She also knew, however, that she didn’t love the level of manual labor farming demanded—something she learned from working what were sometimes 13-hour days on her parents’ goat dairy since age 14.

Realizing her strength was in communicating, Fagundes eventually decided that she wanted to work in the public relations sector of agriculture. For Fagundes, that meant speaking for those who too often go unheard.

“Farmers have good stories to tell and they’re doing great things, but they don’t want to speak up for themselves,” Fagundes said. “They didn’t go to school to learn to talk to the media. They learned to work land.”

Fagundes’ passion for giving conventional farmers a voice lead her to intern in public relations for the Department of Agriculture three different times throughout her college career, a position that advice from her chosen Senior Scholar Mentor, Reynolds School Internship Coordinator Alison Gaulden, helped her land.

“Alison gave me the most practical knowledge for public relations,” Fagundes explained. “She’s a practical professor and that’s something I needed to excel in the journalism school…And on top of being a wonderful mentor, she’s also a great friend.”

Gaulden is thrilled to have been chosen as the Spring 2014 Senior Scholar Mentor.

“As an instructor you want to reach all the students; you hope you can connect to a few. But when one bright star is singled out for her extraordinary talent and picks you as the one who influenced her the most—that far exceeds any expectations,” Gaulden said. “But then, that’s who Jessy is and what she does—exceeds all expectations.”

Fagundes will graduate in May 2014 and has secured a position as the director of communications for the Nevada Farm Bureau Federation. While she will miss her colleagues at the Department of Agriculture, she’s excited to travel across the state and meet farmers in order to realize her lifelong goal of combating misconceptions in agriculture through public relations efforts.

She also knows this position will set her one step closer to her ultimate dream job— becoming the vice president of communication for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C.—a goal that may be high, but that certainly isn’t out of reach for the Spring 2014 Reynolds School Senior Scholar.

“You’ve always got to have a goal,” Fagundes said. “A really high goal.”

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