What I Know Now: Samuel Gibson
I work for the USDA in Wildlife Services. I am a wildlife specialist and my responsibilities are to address wildlife damage issues in the counties of southwest Alabama.
hometown: Grand Bay, Alabama
education: I attended Tuskegee University and majored in Animal Science/Business. I chose the School of Agriculture (CAENS) because I was promised a job working with the cows on the research farm.
growing up: As a child I loved cattle and wanted to be a farmer when I grew up.
career: I work for the USDA in Wildlife Services. I am a wildlife specialist and my responsibilities are to address wildlife damage issues in the counties of southwest Alabama. I do things like trap beavers that are damming up creeks, trap and remove feral swine that are destroying crops, and monitor our rabies program. Basically when wildlife is causing issues for people, agriculture or other wildlife, I implement methods to control, reduce and prevent the problem.
parental influence: My parents, Bernard and Amie Gibson, taught me to first love and trust in the Lord. Secondly, they taught me to “adapt and overcome,” a principle instilled in them while in theMarine Corps. As a teenager I still desired to farm, but I was not so enthused about going to college. I always thought that college would only land me a job in an office sitting behind a desk. But my father convinced me to go to college and pursue a degree in animal science.
other influences: My grandfather, Edd Jackson Jr., had a huge impact on my life. He is retired from the paper mill and spends all of his time on the farm. He is responsible for my addiction to cattle. As a child I followed him everywhere, feeding the pigs, hauling hay, picking watermelons, and my favorite, checking on the cows. I wanted to be him when I grew up. To me, he had the greatest job in the world.
secret to success: Having a positive attitude, strong work ethic and building a network with the right people are the three things that are definitely keys to success. Pretty much every opportunity I’ve had has been because someone who knew me recommended me to someone else.
advice for teens: I wish I had never heard of Sallie Mae. Getting private student loans was probably the most convenient way to pay for college; it was easy. But it was probably the biggest mistake I’ve made in my life thus far. If I could rewind the hands of time, I would find another way to pay for college.
parental advice: My advice would be to sit down with your kids and ask them what it is they really want to do with their life and help them figure out the best route to take. Many teens have no idea what it is they want to do, and that is when it’s so helpful for parents to know their kids and their skills, strengths, weaknesses, likes and dislikes and then based on that, look into career choices with them. I didn’t even know animal science was a major. I knew I liked to farm, fish and hunt, but had no idea I could go to college and learn more about any of those topics. If my daddy hadn’t known his son and put in the work to look into that stuff first for me, and then with me, I might not be where I am today.
can’t live without:
- My family
- Being in the woods
- Helping my uncle with his cows
- Spending time with my wife