Leadership Academy Newsletter, May 2020   Application Status-Cohort 2020
The application period for the 2020-2021 Leadership Academy closed in late April and we are thrilled to have a record number of applicants-over 80 in total, and quadruple the number of College of Forestry applicants. We are busily working through those applications and conducting group interviews. We are hoping to notify applicants soon and conduct an orientation in late May. 

We are absolutely thrilled at the growth of the Academy. There is a demand for leadership education in the Colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Forestry and we are hoping to meet that growing need.

Thank you to everyone who nominated students, invited us to speak in your classroom, and promoted the Academy.

Stay tuned as we congratulate the current cohort on a job well done, and reveal the 2020-2021 cohort names next month!


Industry Speaker Spotlight
  As many instructors will tell you, changing learning platforms to Zoom has been no small feat. With over 50 students in the cohort, Academy instructors have looked for innovative ways to continue to deliver solid content, preserve the familial atmosphere, connect with industry experts, and maintain social distancing. This past month the Leadership Academy successfully did just that. 

We invited eight industry speakers from around the state to participate in a conference-style seminar. The discussion began with some panel introductions and questions and then each speaker was assigned a breakout room. Through breakout rooms, students had the opportunity to hear from two guest speakers during the event with the option of hearing from the remaining six through video recording. Speakers discussed how they handle work-life balance, gave updates on their industry's challenges and trends, discussed how their organization manages change in times of crisis, and provided students an overview of the top three characteristics they find most desirable in new graduates.

Thank you to our speakers: Kathy Ward-Bayer, Lyle Gibbs-Nutrien, Chad Gilbreath-Northwest Farm Credit Services, Gabrielle Redhead-Oregon Department of Agriculture, Miriam Chambers-E&J Gallo, Mallory Phelan-Oregon AgLink, Bill Levy-Pacific Ag, and Casey Roscoe-Seneca.

Students in Academy take time for a little zoom shenanigans.


Guest Speaker: Sonny Ramaswamy

Students enjoyed Dr. Ramaswamy's presentation and although we have a large group, he did a wonderful job of keeping the discussion casual and engaging.Earlier this month, students in the Academy had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, former Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences speak on managing change-a theme of the Academy for both Winter and Spring terms.

His message to students focused on leadership traits of effective leaders and he challenged students not to fear change, but instead to go outside their comfort zone to find solutions.He encouraged students to "show up" and to be the voice for change and improvement, regardless of their leadership position.

Dr. Ramaswamy attended the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore and earned a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Master of Science in agricultural entomology. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in Entomology from Rutgers University.

In 2009, Dr. Ramaswamy was appointed as the Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University and Director of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. Seeing a need for leadership among the College’s graduates and taking heed of the advice of industry partners, he was a key player in the development of the Leadership Academy. He was a tireless cheerleader for the ties that he believes bind campus researchers, farmers, food processors, environmentalists and consumers.

In March of 2012, President Barack Obama appointed Dr. Ramaswamy as Director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture. After serving a term of six years, Dr. Ramaswamy was appointed President of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.


Alumna Spotlight: Heather Brown  

Heather reflects fondly on her time in the Academy stating, "I joined the Leadership Academy to meet new people and develop leadership skills (whatever that may have looked like). I quickly realized that this program was so much more than that. I made some lifelong friendships, learned about myself as a leader, my strengths and weaknesses, and how I could better use my strengths to empower those around me." Currently, a high school Science and Agriculture teacher, she says she uses skills that she learned in Leadership Academy to build positive relationships with students and help them see that they can do great things. 

She advises new students in the Academy to "Take full advantage of all the opportunities available to you. Each opportunity could change your life for the better, if you let it. Take the time to build relationships with fellow academy students, peers, and mentors. Don’t settle for less than your best. I still talk to several people I met in the academy, and go to them for advice from time to time. I also was paired with an amazing mentor who turned into a lifelong friend and confidant, for whom I am incredibly grateful."

-Heather Brown, a 2016 graduate of OSU in Agricultural Sciences -->

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