Year in school: Junior
Major: Agricultural economics; global food systems leadership, minors in leadership and international agriculture
Hometown: Salina, Kansas
K-State has been a large part of my life because my dad was an alumnus, so I don't think I have one specific memory as my first recollection of the university. I will instead tell you of a university memory that forever impacted my life. As a freshman in high school, I attended a 4-H event at the university called Discovery Days. This event allows high school students to take mock classes and learn the same concepts they would in college courses at K-State. One of the classes I took was a workshop on learning how to make pretzels. During this class, I learned that you could pursue bakery and food science majors. This experience led me to research and realize that K-State is the only university in the country to offer bakery science, which I initially wanted to study. When the time came to enroll in classes for my first year at K-State, I found that my advisor was the man who taught me how to make pretzels and exposed me to the industry and that major.
Why did you choose K-State?
K-State is the only university to offer a degree in bakery science. While this was the main factor in my decision to come here, many other things made me realize that K-State was the university for me. When I went on a campus tour during my senior year of high school, I visited the Staley School of Leadership, which I had never heard of. Out of all the other colleges I looked at, the leadership studies courses differed from what K-State offered. K-State gave me a sense of community and family. All the staff and faculty genuinely wanted to do anything they could to help me succeed. Once at K-State, I found my secondary major – Global Food Systems Leadership. Through these classes, I found that instead of creating the food products you see on the grocery store shelves, I want to work to ensure that everyone has access to food. This led to changing my major to Agricultural Economics, allowing me to take policy, trade, and international relations classes.
How are you involved at K-State?
At K-State I am involved in a wide variety of activities and programs. I currently serve as Basic Needs Director in the Student Governing Association. Through this position, I collaborate with 'Cats Cupboard, the campus pantry, to ensure that students, faculty, and staff have access to food. I am also part of Food Security Scholars and serve as Stakeholders and Public Relations Director. I was selected for the Student Alumni Board and work with the K-State Alumni Association to link past, current, and prospective students. Within this organization, I am co-chair of For Sophomores Only, an event that allows high schoolers to come to Manhattan and complete a simulation of what college life is like at K-State. I am an ambassador at the Staley School of Leadership and work on the education committee to organize events with students and people in the Manhattan community. Through leadership, I had the opportunity to spend a summer doing a month-long education abroad experience in Orvieto, Italy.
What has been your favorite K-State experience?
My favorite K-State experience has been my time in the Flinchbaugh Food & Agriculture Policy Fellowship. When I was changing my major to Agricultural Economics, a mentor from K-State told me about this program. In honor of Barry Flinchbaugh, who was monumental in teaching ag policy at Kansas State University, the university offers the fellowship to anyone interested in learning about ag policy. I completed a joint internship with Kansas Grain Sorghum and National Sorghum Producers in the spring. This internship taught me about state policy and how I could advocate for all Kansas sorghum farmers. After completing this internship, I spent the summer in Washington, D.C., as an intern for Kansas Senator Jerry Moran's office. That opportunity enabled me to see firsthand what issues affect Kansas and how the Senator and his office advocate for Kansans.
How does K-State care for Kansans in your hometown community?
In Salina, K-State has a university campus focusing on aviation and engineering technology degrees. K-State Research and Extension provides services such as 4-H for youth in the area and programs on agriculture, community, family, food, health, and lawn and garden. K-State Research and Extension aims to better the lives of the communities it serves. Through this, extension agents work with community members to find solutions to problems residents are facing in Salina.
Why do you want to bring K-State to your community?
As a land-grant university, K-State offers many unique programs and services. Since being at K-State, the faculty, staff, and students I have met have worked with me to maximize my time at the university and have given me many opportunities academically and professionally. K-State has something special, and I want to work with the university to tell Salina and the greater Kansas community why. This initiative will also be a chance to receive feedback from the community on how K-State can better serve Kansans and its prospective students.