Staff Spotlight: Sarah Schlund

Sarah Schlund
Sarah Schlund
About Sarah Schlund:
I grew up on a small row cropping farm in north central Illinois, just outside of Princeton. My dad is a farmer, my mom is a teacher and I am the youngest of five children. I earned a bachelor’s of science degree at Eastern Illinois University located in Charleston, IL. My experiences as an undergraduate student in plant biology, growing up on a farm and being an intern with a corn/soybean research industry both in Princeton and Nebraska sparked my interest in plant pathology. I decided to earn my master’s degree in plant pathology at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and I graduated on May 6!

What is your position at UNL?
I started as a crops and water extension educator with Nebraska Extension in Dawson County on Feb. 1.  While my office is housed in Lexington (Dawson County), my accountability region also covers Buffalo and Hall Counties.

What drew you to UNL?
I decided to earn my M.S. degree at UNL after working as a summer intern in York, Nebr. during the summer of 2012 at a corn research facility. This was my first experience outside of Illinois, and the people were friendly, the community was nice and I loved my internship. The other interns all attended UNL for their bachelor’s degrees, and they encouraged me to look at UNL for my M.S. degree. My experiences here as a graduate student were amazing and my program allowed me to work partially in extension. When an opportunity came open as an extension educator, I applied so I could give back to local communities and help producers/youth learn about research going on at the university.  

What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
While I have only been in extension for a few short months, I have really enjoyed getting to work with our youth in the West Central District. I have had the opportunity to teach students of different ages about water stewardship, groundwater and farm safety. I have also enjoyed talking at a couple of meetings about fungicide resistance to producers and crop consultants. They ask a lot of interesting questions, and it’s great to see kids interacting and learning about the importance of water in Nebraska.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
At this point in time, both in my personal life and professional career, I would say my greatest achievements have been earning my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. A lot of time, patience, learning and perseverance went into earning those two degrees. My parents and siblings were always supportive of my decision to earn my B.S. and M.S. degrees. Now I want to take that knowledge and information that I gained and give back by helping others.

What is something that most people don't know about you?
Had I not gone into an agriculture-based field, I would have gone to culinary school to become a pastry chef. I love cooking in general, especially baking, and I’m constantly trying out new recipes. I also have a 17 lb cat named Gary that lives back in Illinois with my parents. He was abandoned as a kitten, and I found him my sophomore year of high school. He’s only slightly spoiled now!

What is your life like outside of work? 
Outside of work I enjoy cooking/baking, sewing, gardening, visiting my family and friends in Illinois as often as possible, attending church, reading, working on cars and spending time with my boyfriend.