Alum Asks, When Was The Last Time You Did Something For The First Time?

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Mark Hazelton ‘01 is the one who ultimately helped me decide to pledge,” Hushon explained. “[He helped] me see what joining AZ could offer beyond my stay at Penn State. I’m grateful he spent the time with me that he did.”

Hushon only lived at the actual house his senior year, but that very year marked his best of the four at Penn State.

“Alpha Zeta helped me make lifelong friends — my best memories from school were made with guys from the house, especially on warm spring days spent on the porch outside of Suite 6,” Hushon revealed. “There is no better time in State College than when the spring weather gets nice.”

Hushon spent those afternoons talking with his fellow Alpha Zetans out on that porch — subjects ranging from farm animals to Penn State football.

“If I could go back and do it now for a day, I would in a heartbeat,” Hushon said.

This Alpha Zeta Alum was and is so proud of his fraternity — he invested a lot of time in helping recruit new members, one of which was his brother, Jacob Hushon ‘05.

Hushon also felt that the lessons and experiences he gained at Alpha Zeta then, translated into his professional career in the present.

“Alpha Zeta gave me leadership opportunities that I grew through as a person. The semester I spent as Censor was challenging, but an important lesson in peer leadership, for sure,” he said. “Having the courage to confront your friends for the good of the house was not easy, but it helped me prepare for managing people today.”

Hushon values those instrumental leadership skills being a member of AZ provided, but also the vast network he can tap into at any moment.

“Alpha Zeta gave me an incredible alumni network — especially in the dairy industry,” Hushon said. “It was one of the aspects of pledging that appealed to me when I decided to join, and has proved to be beneficial.”

Hushon graduated in the spring of 2003, with a degree in Agriculture Business Management.

“I landed what was my dream job at the time – becoming an editor at Hoard’s Dairyman magazine,” Hushon said. “I was the first editor the company had hired from the East Coast in its 125-year history and I relocated to Wisconsin following graduation."

The dedicated and in every way impressive Alpha Zetan chose to move to Wisconsin, as part of his “three to five year plan”.

Hushon still lives there today, now working for Cargill Animal Nutrition.

“I am the U.S. beef and dairy marketing communications lead — I like to tell people that I work at the intersection of where the technical side of nutrition needs to meet the emotional side of marketing to be effective,” Hushon explained. “My job is to ensure all our communications are engaging and consistent for Cargill customers and prospects.”

One recent project of Hushon’s is called “Feed Your Dreams,” a dairy campaign that was quickly recognized as Best of Show by the National Agri-Marketing Association in 2015.

Hushon and his wife, Casey, also own a small hobby farm near North Prairie, Wisconsin.

“There, we raise a few show heifers in addition to being involved in a number of activities,” Hushon said.

When it comes to the alumni network, Hushon finds that he is ever-present within the community thanks to his working at Cargill.

“I work with dozens of Penn State Alpha Zeta alums. This includes my boss, Justin Howes '00 and my marketing teammate, Rebecca Shaw '14,” he said. “I work with both of them on a daily basis. Rebecca and I have even worked together at two companies now, and she and Steve Shaw helped me find the role at Cargill and apply.”

Hushon feels so grateful to be able to work with fellow Greek life members, but socially keeps in contact with the very guys who shared stories and warm days on that Suite 6 porch back in the days of 2003.

“I don’t get to see Bryant Hlavaty ‘04, Jeremiah Fearnley ‘04, or Matt Pavelski '04 as often as I would like, but when I do, it feels like no time has passed,” Hushon said. “I have gone years at times without seeing some of them, but it seems like we reconnect immediately when we get together. It’s a deeper connection that is hard to explain, but I know I have it because of the experiences we all had together.”

If Hushon were to connect with his fellow AZ Alums now, he would tell them all about his exciting new experience in the realm of “trying something new.”

“Last year, I was challenged by a former mentor who asked me, ‘When was the last time you did something for the first time? And if you can’t remember, it’s been too long,’” Hushon recalled. “I couldn’t remember, so I decided to take an improvisation comedy class to help me with public speaking, thinking on my feet and so forth.”

Hushon felt the eight-week experience was “intense, but really fun” as the final stage ended with a public show under the lights in front of about 80 people.

From those weeks, he gained a reminder he wants to share with his fellow Alpha Zetans.

“I can’t recommend improv comedy for everyone, but I would challenge everyone with that same question [my mentor asked me],” Hushon said.

So Hushon is asking:

“When was the last time you did something for the first time? If you can’t remember, do something that will challenge you,” Hushon repeated, inspiringly. “[It might] even scare you a little, but the [experience you’ll have will definitely] help you grow.”