CALS student finds full-time job prior to graduation
A summer internship with Columbia Bank turned into a full-time job offer for University of Idaho student Laramie Stipe — even though he had a full semester of classes to complete on the Moscow campus before earning his degree.
Stipe will graduate with a bachelor’s in agribusiness from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in December. In January, he will officially start his full-time position as a commercial credit analyst at the Columbia Bank branch in Payette. Stipe was hired in August but given a four month educational leave to complete his degree.
“Not many people get to go to their last semester of school with a job already lined up, so that has been stress-free,” Stipe said. “I worked with a lot of people during the internship who asked where I went to school and they would say that UI is a great Ag school. The marketing factor of a UI degree was well recognized.”
In his new position, Stipe will be analyzing past history of loan applicants, crop sales, tax returns and financial statements to determine what applicants do well and don’t do well before handing his work over to loan officers. He will also check in with those who already have loans to make sure they are keeping up with their loan investment and to offer assistance.
“We’ve been on the lookout for someone with an ag background. Most of our customers are farmers and ranchers, so Laramie’s background was perfect,” said Alan Bullard, senior vice president and commercial team leader for Columbia Bank in southern Idaho. “We have a lot of UI graduates that work here and they all do a great job. My personal experience with my kids attending UI is that they are getting a great education and that a UI degree travels really well.”
Stipe will be working specifically with agricultural loans, an important factor for him. Stipe grew up in Nyssa, Oregon, along the Oregon/Idaho border. His family raised potatoes, corn, alfalfa and 200 registered Charolais cattle.
A Family of Vandals
Stipe’s older brother, Jackson, graduated from UI in May 2016 with a degree in biological and agricultural engineering. His younger brother, Sage, is currently a sophomore studying agribusiness. The youngest brother, Orin, is only 12, but says he’s also going to be a Vandal. Neither of the Stipe parents are Vandals, so Laramie takes credit for leading the way to UI.
“No one really believes this since my older brother came here first, but I was the one that wanted to come to UI.” Stipe said. “Our FFA teacher in Nyssa is a UI graduate so he was pushing me to come up here. The CALS Ambassadors came to our school, which really got me interested. Then my older brother and I came up for a visit and that’s when he decided to come here.”
The trip to Moscow also introduced Stipe to the Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology department in CALS. He wasn’t sure yet of a major, but knew that it would be in agriculture.
“I wasn’t really into economics, but then I came up here and learned about ag business,” Stipe said. “When I learned how great the department was that really pushed me more toward UI. I didn’t want to come up here and learn something I already knew. I knew how to work with livestock. I wanted to broaden my horizons and learn about something that I didn’t know much about.”
The Discover Idaho scholarship program was the final deciding factor for Stipe to attend UI. The academic merit scholarship paid for a portion of his non-resident tuition expense, making UI more affordable for him than Oregon universities that he was considering.
A Family in CALS
Stipe was able to settle in easily to his new family in CALS, due in part to his enjoyment in meeting new people.
“Everyone that I go to school with and the professors are real and down to earth. Especially in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences,” Stipe said. “Ag connects everyone together. There are a lot of ways you can get involved and meet people.”
“Anytime there’s an intramural sport, I’m probably in it,” he said. “If you want to do something, the university is really great at providing it to you for a cheaper price.”
While Stipe has enjoyed his time in Moscow, he is looking forward to returning to the Treasure Valley and starting his career. His ultimate goal is to become a loan officer because he enjoys working with people. He also likes the flexibility offered in the position that will allow him to have a small herd of cattle.
“I love cattle, so that’s important to me,” he said. “It’s the perfect balance between a work schedule and having a small ranch.”
Article by Amy Calabretta, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences