Conflict Resolution program graduate Katie Metraux

“I learned skills that I can apply directly to my job, and there are very few classes that I can say that about,” said Katie Metraux, a land use planner with the California Department of State Parks and Recreation and a graduate of the Professional Concentration in Conflict Resolution. As a planner, Metraux works with various agencies and stakeholder groups to determine the best possible use and public access for California’s state parks—a role that inherently requires her to facilitate discussion and manage conflict. 

“I can’t imagine any career where you wouldn’t have to deal with conflict”

Why did you enroll in our Conflict Resolution Program? 

What I do has inherent conflict, that’s one of the reasons I wanted to take this program. I felt like I needed more experience in how to handle the different groups and meeting facilitation. But because I work, I needed to find something that was doable with my schedule and found that UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education was the best fit for me and my job.

How has the program impacted your career?

My job is to talk to groups, find out what the main issues are, and figure out a way to make all of their concerns realized and work for a particular park. The Conflict Resolution Program helped me learn to listen more effectively, especially with people who are very impassioned and inspired by what they feel is important in their lives. I learned how to facilitate meetings more effectively so that everybody feels heard and that their opinions are being considered. The program also helped me come up with different ways for defusing heated discussions. This was the most applicable program I could have taken for my job. It was extremely valuable.

What about the program stood out to you?

The most valuable thing I got out of the program was roleplaying and actually working with other folks in the class to put some of the skills we learned into practice. It’s great to learn theory, but if you have theory without the practice, it’s kind of elusive. All of the classes had the interactive/roleplaying type of scenarios, and I really appreciated those. I was also impressed by the professionalism of all of the instructors and the real-world experiences they brought into an applied setting. 

Would you recommend this program?

I already have! And the reason why is that the program provides skills that anybody can use in their daily life interactions, but also – I can’t imagine any career that you wouldn’t have to deal with conflict with a client or a group of stakeholders.

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