A ‘Cooperative’ Education

CVM Ambassador Rebecca Gooder is building community relationships as she guides visitors around the college and interacts with customers at the local Producers Cooperative.

Story by Megan Myers

 

Rebecca Gooder maintains a busy schedule as a third-year veterinary student who works both as a Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) Ambassador and a customer service representative at Producers Cooperative in Bryan, one of the largest local agricultural supply cooperatives in the nation.

Producers Cooperative is a member-owned association in the Brazos Valley with about 10,000 members.

Although Gooder is currently the only CVM student working in the supply division, the cooperative has a history of hiring Texas A&M students.

Rebecca Gooder

According to Hope Bay Moriarty, a division manager at the cooperative’s Bryan location, A&M students make excellent employees. They use their jobs as opportunities to learn more about the agricultural industry and to strengthen their customer service skills and work habits.

Moriarty mentioned that Gooder, in particular, demonstrates outstanding character and has built up a very positive reputation among customers and co-workers.

“Rebecca is a superstar here,” Moriarty said. “She is always honest, kind, courteous, and very knowledgeable. We have many customers who will wait to have Rebecca check them out or help them because of their past experiences with her.”

Since Gooder began working at Producers Cooperative in 2014, she has assisted and advised customers on their agricultural needs. She says she has enjoyed getting to work with customers and learn more about the agricultural products she sells.

“Being in a customer service-type job, I have the opportunity to interact with a lot of different people,” she said. “Having the ability to effectively communicate and build relationships has served me well at Producers and it certainly will as a veterinarian, as well.”

Gooder has also used her job as an opportunity to expand upon the information she is learning in her veterinary classes.

“At school I’ve learned, for example, all about bovine respiratory disease. At work, I have the opportunity to familiarize myself with all of the various vaccines to prevent respiratory disease, as well as the antibiotics that treat respiratory disease,” Gooder said.

Her job, she said, is a mutually beneficial relationship between herself and the customers.  

“As much as I enjoy sharing my knowledge with customers, I am able to learn just as much from them through the experiences they share with me,” she said. 

In addition to working at the cooperative, Gooder serves as a CVM Ambassador, leading tours of the college for prospective students and encouraging them to apply.

“I took a tour of the veterinary school when I first moved to College Station and I remember being so appreciative of all the insight I gained from the ambassador leading the tour,” Gooder said. “I thought ‘Gosh, I want to be able to impact someone one day the way she impacted me.’”

Raised in California, Gooder became interested in agriculture at a very early age.

Rebecca Gooder with a customer

“I grew up with horses and always thought I would become an equine veterinarian,” Gooder said. “But through my high school participation in FFA, I fell in love with agriculture.”

After high school, Gooder knew she wanted a career that could combine her interests in veterinary medicine and agriculture.

“I started off my college career at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, as an agricultural communications major. But after enrolling in a general dairy husbandry course, I took a giant leap of faith and changed my major to dairy science, with a concentration in pre-veterinary studies,” she said.

After graduating from the CVM, Gooder hopes to work for a dairy practice in the San Joaquin Valley of California doing dairy production medicine. She has gained experience in dairy medicine through many externships and internships, including at Threemile Canyon Farms in Boardman, Oregon, and Daisy Farms in Paris, Texas.

She said one of her internships, at AgriVision Farm Management in Hartley, Texas, was what inspired her to move to Texas and pursue her veterinary degree.

One of her best memories at the CVM was the opportunity to be a part of the grand opening of Veterinary & Biomedical Education Complex (VBEC) in November 2016. 

“As an ambassador and proud Texas A&M veterinary student, it was really exciting to be there that day and experience such a monumental moment for our school,” she said.

With Producers Cooperative, her CVM Ambassador position, and her veterinary classes, Gooder has certainly acquired a variety of learning opportunities that will set her up to one day be a great veterinarian.

“I can’t wait to see what amazing things Rebecca accomplishes after veterinary school,” Moriarty said. “She is the kind of person who makes a difference at whatever she is doing and wherever she is; she certainly has made a difference here at Producers Cooperative.”

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Note: This story originally appeard in the 2019 Spring edition of CVM Today.

For more information about the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, please visit our website at vetmed.tamu.edu or join us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Interim Director of Communications, Media & Public Relations, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Science; jgauntt@cvm.tamu.edu; 979-862-4216