[ACEL]: Hi Ellen! You majored in agricultural communication. Why did you select that major?
[Gilliland]: I choose agricultural communication as my major because I loved agriculture and I loved talking. It seemed so simple and obvious. Little did I know how impactful the classes would be and how much more communication is beyond talking.
Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I had decided that I wanted to go to Ohio State before I had decided what my major would be. I wanted to stay within Ohio for my education and I wanted to go to an excellent school that had a major allowing me to further my experience within agriculture. Ohio State was the answer to all of my hopes and dreams.
How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My decision to Ohio State and my education from there is the whole reason I have a career! Since my first day at Ohio State I was exposed to job opportunities, learning experiences and way to better myself as a student and a professional.
You were really involved on campus outside of the classroom. Share some of the organizations and experiences in which you participated.
I was a very active and involved student, within my classes, major, college and the university. Some of the organizations I was in included: Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (president), National Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (Vice President), College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Peer Mentors (transition student lead), Buckeyes Against Hunger (founder, secretary), Saddle & Sirloin (committee chair), CFAES Student Council (president), Beanie Drake student scholarship and endowment board of directors (secretary), Undergraduate Student Government campaigns (grounds game), CFAES Towers Honorary (vice president), Alpha Sigma Upsilon (president). Though this is a long list and to some is nothing but a long list of meetings, agendas, and so on. To me this is a list of memories, accomplishments, learning moments, teaching moments, experiences and impact. Each organization served a specific purpose in shaping my college career. Each organization holds a special place in my heart.
What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
As a senior at Ohio State I was selected as one of three recipients among all undergraduate students for the Spirit of a Buckeye award. To be selected, you have to be nominated by a faculty or staff member or student. Spirit of a Buckeye recipients are selected based on achievements in both academics and other involvement across the university. This was such an honor, and I think it is really a perfect way to describe my mentality while I was studying there and even now.
What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
Upon graduation I moved to Omaha, Nebraska and worked for RFD-TV as the marketing manager.
Where has your career taken you since your first job?
I currently work for Ohio Corn & Wheat as the project manager. As the project manager, I oversee several initiatives to represent Ohio grain farmers and provide long-term profitability. My duties include overseeing student member benefits, leadership initiatives, assisting with communication, supervising the internship program, event planning and all meeting coordinating. Previously, I worked as the marketing manager at RFD-TV in Omaha, Nebraska and worked with the Chief Marketing Officer to organize and execute projects such as ads, publications, and commercials with the creative team.
During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
Though the work I do is not for the recognition, but rather the commitment to being that person to help students like the alumni that helped me as a student, I have been recognized for my time and effort. Just 3.5 years into my alumni status I was both surprised and honored to be named distinguished alumni by three different groups already! Alpha Sigma Upsilon, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and Alpha Zeta Partners have recognized me for contributing to their organizations.
What advice would you give to a current student?
I would suggest to current students to get involved outside of the classroom with student organizations and internships. I would recommend traveling abroad and gaining understanding of a global perspective. I would advise them to have fun and soak up the networking, opportunities and memories that they experiences every day while at Ohio State.
What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
ACEL cultivated in me an appreciation for all that is available outside of my comfort zone. Everything from international experiences to career opportunities and new ways of thinking to skills that have set me up for success.