- February 2022
Extension Agent II
MSU Extension Service
Years in Position: 6.5 year
Years at MSU: 20 years
Extension agents never know what the day holds, but that’s part of the appeal of the job for Natalie Ray.
“This job is very diverse,” said Ray, a 4-H and family and consumer science agent in Clay County. “You never know what questions will come in. There is no way we can know everything about everything. But we rely on each other and outside experts to help us answer questions. If we don’t personally have an answer, we can find someone who has the answer.”
Ray teaches a variety of topics, including health, nutrition, cooking, emergency preparedness, food safety, interior design, public speaking, personal finance, sewing and other textile work, and STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics activities), as well as other subjects.
“When I chose this career, I wanted to be able to make a difference in people’s lives,” Ray said. “One of my favorite things about this job is the diversity in the topics I teach. I love it when individuals come back and say they created something or were able to make better choices because of a workshop that I taught them.”
Although Ray does a lot of instructing as an Extension agent, she said she also learns a lot.
“The best advice I can give anyone interested in a career with Extension is to get out and do as much as you can in all areas. Try new things. Don’t be afraid to work and get your hands dirty because you will learn so much.”
Over the years, Ray said she has worked on learning to be flexible, an important trait for success as an Extension agent.
“You have to be able to go with the flow and make changes quickly,” she said.
Ray and her husband Patrick have two boys Riley and Mason. Their dogs, Sugar and Coffee, round out the family.