Q&A With Paxton Dahmer

Dahmer is a junior in agricultural education

Why did you decide to come to the University of Missouri and major in agricultural education? What do you enjoy about the program itself? The field of study?

I came to the University of Missouri to major in Agricultural Education and Leadership because of the professors in the program and my love for agricultural education. Initially, I was preparing for a teaching certificate, but I eventually transferred to the leadership sector. I realized that the leadership degree allows me to have flexibility in my schedule, so I’m learning about a wide variety of agricultural industries. I know that with this degree, I’ll be employable in many different sectors of the agricultural industry. I enjoy the support that students get from the professors in this program. With the open-door policy, students can stop by their professor’s office at any point and seek anything from course advising to life advice. Our professors genuinely care about the success and well-being of students.

How have you used resources in the CAFNR Academic Programs Office (student services, career services, advising, study abroad)? What was your experience like?

We’re extremely lucky in CAFNR to have the resources that we do. With every turn, you’ll find someone that is invested in your time in CAFNR and wants to see you succeed. My advisor, Dr. (John) Tummons, has been extremely influential during my time in CAFNR. There is power in availability, and he works tirelessly to make himself available to all students. I’ve also used CAFNR Career Services a great deal. They’ve helped connect me to internships, as well as helping fine-tune my interview skills.

CAFNR’s RISE Initiative encourages students to have a variety of extracurricular experiences during their time at Mizzou (Research, International, Service Learning, Experiential Learning). What parts of the RISE initiative have you taken advantage of so far, and which do you plan to? What have you enjoyed about these experiences?

I’ve been fortunate to take advantage of the Research and Experiential Learning phases of the RISE Initiative. Through the Department of Agricultural Education and Leadership, I’ve been able to participate in an undergraduate research and curriculum development project. We’re putting together curriculum for middle and high school students that focuses on developing empathy towards those experiencing food insecurity. Our goal is to help students understand the implications and prevalence of food insecurity so that they’re intentional about developing projects that will help ease the burden of food insecurity in their own community. This has not only added meaning to my education, but it has helped me connect with others across the University of Missouri that have similar interests. I’ve also been able to actively engage in the experiential learning process through my classes. I’ve engaged in labs that give me the opportunity to take the information that I’ve gained and put it to work. I am confident that this has helped me develop a deeper and more thorough understanding of the material I’ve learned in class.

What has been your favorite activity or experience of being a CAFNR student?

My favorite experience in CAFNR has been the CAFNR Career Connections trip during Thanksgiving Break in 2019. We travelled to Arkansas and toured Tyson, Simmons Foods and Schreiber Foods. The trip, sponsored by CAFNR Career Services, allowed me to not only make connections with industry professionals, but it gave me the opportunity to learn about different aspects of agriculture. I was fascinated by the operations that we toured, and it opened my eyes to the many opportunities that a career in agriculture can bring. I recommend that all students check out the trips Career Services offers; you certainly won’t regret them.