Leadership in Action

The Source Spring 2019 Edition


Providing students with scholarships to attend professional experiences has the power to fuel their passion to continue pursuing a career in agriculture. In addition to participating in weekly leadership seminars and receiving one-on-one faculty mentorship, fellows in the Leadership Academy are also provided with scholarships to attend professional development opportunities and conferences around the States. So far this year, generous donations have provided twenty professional development scholarships to our current cohort. These experiences offer our students opportunities to put into practice many leadership lessons that they have been learning throughout the year from the Academy. Upon returning from these experiences, our students have all expressed significant ways in which their leadership and professional skills were developed by the opportunities they received with Leadership Academy scholarships. Melissa Wong, Jessica Croxson, and Morgan Lyman are three current fellows who have maximized their time in the Leadership Academy by attending conferences where they have put their leadership in action.

During fall term, Melissa Wong, a senior studying Food Science and Technology, utilized a Leadership Academy scholarship to attend a food science workshop all about ice cream at the Food Innovation Center in Portland. Melissa summarized her experience by saying, "Industry professionals from various fields attended this course and it was interesting to learn how they perceived food (in this case, ice cream) from different perspectives related to their field of work.” During the two-day workshop Melissa managed to “step outside [her] comfort zone to connect with different people” where she was able to network with professionals and meet new friends.  From this workshop Melissa learned “how certain substances are added into ice cream to enhance its flavor and texture” and that “chocolate and vanilla are still all-time favorite ice cream flavors!” Melissa shared that she is grateful to the donors of the Leadership Academy for helping her “become who [she] is striving to be” with the support of this scholarship. 

In early February, Jessica Croxson, a junior studying Animal Sciences, attended the 2019 Sigma Alpha Leadership Seminar in Salt Lake City, Utah. While at the conference, Jessica represented the Xi Chapter of Sigma Alpha, Oregon State University’s sorority for women in agriculture. Jessica said that this year, “the focus of the event was how to be ‘Agents for Change’ within our campus and beyond in our communities.” While at the conference, Jessica “became equipped with innovative ways to solve problems that include doing what others don't and cultivating curiosity in our approach” as the facilitators “shifted our mindsets as leaders in our chapters by guiding us to think inside out; where we focus on the reason why we do what we do first.” In this exercise, Jessica worked through identifying the why and what that motivates people to create change. “The seminar ended with differentiating the elements of the motivational cycle: need, drive, incentive, and goal. We were asked to write a short mission statement about our drive for Sigma Alpha and asked ourselves a question: What is your motivation?” Jessica shared upon her return. Throughout this experience, Jessica was able to “network with alumnae of Sigma Alpha and active members from other US chapters” while learning how to effectively create change and solve problems.

In late January, current senior studying Animal Sciences, Morgan Lyman, was selected to represent Steer-A-Year and Oregon State University at the National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) Annual Convention and Trade Show in New Orleans, Louisiana for which she received a Leadership Academy scholarship to attend. During her week down south, Morgan attended Cattlemen’s College which she summarized as “an amazing experience attending classes about different topics related to the beef industry.” Morgan says that the most interesting class she attended was about the latest updates on meat substitutes. “We were able to get an update from NCBA lobbyists that are working hard in Washington, D.C. for the cattlemen,” Morgan shared.  By far one of Morgan’s favorite experiences at Cattlemen's College was getting to hear from Temple Grandin on cattle handling and low stress techniques. “I was fortunate to get to meet and talk to [Temple Grandin] about her techniques and best practices,” Morgan said. In addition to these great experiences at Cattlemen’s College, Morgan was also able to “network and talk to cattlemen from all different aspects of the industry and nation at the Trade Show” where she got to meet “a lot of great people” and make “incredible memories.” While reflecting on her experience, Morgan shared, “I have always been passionate about the beef industry… and this trip solidified my desire to pursue a career in this industry…. As graduation approaches, I have become more excited about my future as a young beef enthusiast.” Morgan would also like to thank those who have donated to the Leadership Academy to provide these professional development scholarships.

From these three students, it is clear that the value of receiving a professional development scholarship extends far beyond a monetary value. The experiences made accessible to Leadership Academy fellows through these scholarships provide students with opportunities to grow their comfort zones, learn new cutting-edge information from experts in their field of study, and put into action the leadership skills they have been developing throughout the year. When students report that the experiences they gain while on these trips fuels their passion to continue towards a career in agriculture industries, it is easy to see the priceless impact these opportunities have on their lives and the future leaders of the agriculture industry.