Three students from the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences, MacKenna Clifton, Lizzie Foushee and Lisandra Mejia, were awarded their American Degrees at the 2021 National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Convention. The American Degree is the highest honor the National FFA bestows and to earn it, students must have achieved the previous degree (State FFA Degree), been active members for the previous three years, and carried out an outstanding supervised agricultural experience (SAE). They must also carry out community service, leadership activities, and have an outstanding academic record. Additional requirements for the award can be found here. Less than 1% of FFA members are selected to receive the American FFA Degree Award.
MacKenna Clifton is a sophomore Agriculture Education major with minors in Agribusiness Management and Spanish. She is a NC Teaching Fellow, involved with the Student Alumni Association and was a NCFFA National Officer Candidate. For her SAE,she created an inclusive curriculum for the agricultural classroom and FFA workshops. This curriculum was implemented to reach elementary, middle, and high school students, along with special education students, elderly individuals and many other groups! Clifton also created and led a 2-3 day event entitled “Discover Ag Day” to increase ag literacy in her community. This event specifically targeted 4th grade students to start agricultural education sooner rather than later. She was recognized as a National Proficiency Award Finalist this past October because of the work she completed for her SAE! Clifton stated that “Earning my American Degree this past year was the perfect ending to my six-year journey within the National FFA Organization. The FFA is committed to supporting the next generation of leaders in our society. My American Degree is something I’ll carry with me for the rest of my life because it signifies that the opportunities within the FFA are limitless, we just have to be willing to take a leap of faith and invest!”
Elizabeth Foushee is a junior majoring in Agricultural Education with a minor in Horticultural Science. She is also a NC Teaching Fellow and secretary of the Horticulture Club. Her SAE centered around two projects involving agribusiness and horticulture. The agribusiness portion of her SAE revolved around working for her dad’s business, Burlington Awning. This gave her the opportunity to learn different fabrication processes such as sewing and welding, all while developing the best products for his customers. The horticulture portion of her SAE revolved around completing many different landscaping tasks for members of my community such as planting, weeding, mulching, and mowing. Foushee stated “I am so blessed to have received my FFA American Degree and cannot wait to see what my future in agriculture holds.”
Lisandra Mejia is a junior majoring in Agricultural Education with minors in Horticulture Science and Agricultural Business Management. She currently serves as secretary for the NC State Chapter of Young Farmers and Ranchers. One aspect of her SAE was that she helped maintain the school greenhouse, which included working at the school plant sale, conducting research on a variety of annual plants, and helping take care of the grafted Christmas trees that they grew in the greenhouse. Another project for her SAE involved her as vice president and editor for a student created and operated agriculture blog and social media outlet known as Everything Agriculture. They advocated for the industry by conducting interviews with farmers from all different aspects of the industry, and connecting with agriculturalists across the world with their social media pages. Mejiia expressed that “Receiving my American Degree means the ending of a long and impactful journey. It shows me the early mornings, late nights and difficult hours all resulted in something. FFA has changed my life forever and has shown me my potential, and with the American Degree I have the key to unlock it.“
Overall, the AHS department had five students earn their American Degrees. Congratulations to these amazing students on their award. We wish you continued success at NC State and the future.