My name is Justin Patterson, and I recently graduated this past spring from the University of Wisconsin Madison Area Technical College (UW-MATC) with an IT-Networking Specialist Degree. I am now obtaining the required transfer credits to enter the University of Wisconsin Madison?s School of Business, majoring in Information Systems. Last semester I was able to achieve a 4.0 perfect grade point average as a full-time student working part time as an Intern with the USDA. I believe the USDA has been a great opportunity providing me with experience and direction in life not obtainable with any other employer. I give partial credit for my educational success to many of the skills I have received while working for the USDA.
I have always been interested in computers since I can remember. After a Vocational Counselor presented me with a great potential Internship opportunity through the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and Microsoft, I was awarded a government internship in DC. My interest in the USDA began after High School, when my Father began learning organic farming from a friend whom completed a Will Allen "Growing Power" Course. I was considering a Security organization like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) due to my previous work and security clearance with TRICARE military insurance. My parents and a very energetic and thoughtful Supervisor were able to show how well a summer with the USDA in Washington DC would work for my career development. I have always had a fondness for technology, and had been trying to wrap my brain around how I would incorporate that skill into my goal of an MBA from the UW. The USDA provides several career paths for individuals like me, who like to combine many talents and skills together in a productive work environment. It also gave me a portal to stay in touch with my own interests in organic farming and farmers markets.
My summer in DC gave me the opportunity to be part of a powerful team. I saw firsthand how my talents were very rough and needed refining. The USDA and AAPD provided me with advice and counseling to polish my talents and organize my thinking. I was able to be a member "the web design team" which was facilitating some exciting changes going on in the USDA I was also able to use many of my talents in the Public Comment Analysis Toolkit (PCAT).
My experience with the USDA has been wonderful. I continue to learn more about agriculture, and computers with my ongoing projects as an IT-Trainee with the USDA-AMS-DAIRY-VIP team. I realized that the USDA is partially responsible for me pursuing my Major of Information Systems from the UW School of Business. I have learned much about myself I guess through working at the USDA. I never expected to be combining so many of my likes and interests into one career.
The past few years have been amazing and very formidable to my future. I have found a place to begin deploying my skills with the USDA. My current internship with Agricultural Marketing Service Dairy Programs has allowed me to continue to push what I consider possible for myself. I currently have started assisting Dairy Programs by developing HTML code for new dairy web pages. I have 3 pages currently up on the USDA?s site and it has been a continued honor displaying my abilities in computers assisting Dairy Programs with its various IT needs.