How rewarding is it to work with students in the agricultural systems technology and plant sciences degree programs?
It has been so rewarding working with agricultural systems technology (AST) and plant sciences students! I have been lucky to see them as prospective students and meet the important people in their lives, to being their instructor and seeing them open up, make connections, and figure out this thing called college. I have the opportunity to get to know who they are as people in advising appointments and student nights. It is such a great feeling when a student comes into my office and says I just wanted to come by to tell you I aced my exam, I got the job, I made a friend, or I just wanted to come by and say hi. I am honored they want to include me in this part of their lives.
How do you assist those students throughout their academic journey?
I start assisting students in our program once they are accepted to MU. I want them to know I am here to help before they arrive so they feel more comfortable when they are here. From their first day, I review any transfer credits they may have and introduce them to their graduation plan. This plan is important because it gives students an idea of when they will graduate, but also shows what is required of them to reach their goals and we work together to make sure they are on track for graduation. It is not all sunshine and rainbows all of the time; I am there for the good and the bad. College is hard, life happens and when it does, I want to make sure they are OK, provide them a safe space and give them the resources to get back up.
What advice would you give to high school students who are interested in pursuing degrees in agricultural systems technology or plant sciences?
Get involved and be curious. The more you explore the more you are closer to finding the career path you want to pursue. There are so many things you can do with our degrees, so starting early exploring options is helpful. We would also love for you to come visit us! We enjoy showing students our facilities and what goes on in and outside of the classroom. Our division is unique in that we have several different labs for both programs with hands-on learning for each!
What is your favorite part of serving as an academic advisor for these two degree programs?
My favorite part of being an academic advisor for the Division of Plant Science and Technology is the students; they are truly one big family! I have a freezer full of freezie pops that students are welcome to come in and grab when they need a pick-me-up. This has been great way to get to know students more and encourage them to come visit to check-in. I have enjoyed these conversations the most; the unplanned stop by for a freezie pop conversation. Listening to their stories and their future aspirations is energizing and I am honored I get to be a little part of that.