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Cultivating a Future in Agricultural Education: Meet Katlyn Foy

Growing up in the midst of family farming operations, Katlyn Foy gained a profound understanding of the values of hard work and dedication embedded in agriculture. Her affinity for this field always existed, but it wasn’t until her first year of high school that she discovered a way to translate these homegrown principles into tangible action through her involvement with the FFA (Future Farmers of America). It was during this time that she cultivated her passion for agricultural education.

Her journey in the FFA, guided by her mentor and teacher, Joseph Murray, afforded her the chance to explore agricultural education as a potential career. Foy fondly recalls, “Through these opportunities and experiences, I fell in love with agriculture and teaching. From that point on, I knew I wanted to attend NC State and pursue agricultural education as my future career.”

Foy embarked on her path toward becoming an agricultural educator at NC State where she graduated in May of 2022 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education. Subsequently, she took a leap of faith and applied for the graduate program. Presently, she is furthering her education by pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural and extension education, concurrently working as a graduate instructor, with plans to graduate in May 2024.

Throughout her time at NC State, numerous faculty members, staff, and peers have significantly influenced and supported her journey. While it’s challenging to compile an exhaustive list, some noteworthy individuals include Wendy Warner, Joy Morgan, Misty Lambert, and Travis Park. Foy acknowledges their instrumental role in shaping and guiding her path as an agricultural educator.

Agricultural Education students and faculty members at the 2023 the Southern Region AAAE Conference

Reflecting on her journey, Foy attributes much of her inspiration to her family and Murray. She emphasizes, “Without his guidance and influence, I would undoubtedly not be where I am today. His actions and teaching methods have inspired me to be the best educator I can be and to advocate tirelessly for my students.” During her time at NC State, she has developed a particular interest in understanding the impact of diversity in agricultural education settings.

Throughout her tenure at NC State, Foy actively participated in various organizations, including the AEE Club, Agronomy Club, and the Agricultural Business Management Club. For nearly two years, she has served as a graduate instructor for AEE 226: Computer Applications and Information Technology in Agricultural & Extension Education. In addition to this role, she has engaged in research under the guidance of Warner. Concurrently, she has been working on her thesis project, focusing on Diversification in Agricultural Education. This research delves into the experiences of underrepresented students pursuing agricultural education at the post-secondary level in North Carolina.

Her research is increasing in importance as the diversification of agricultural education continues to gain momentum. Foy hopes that her research will shed light on issues within agricultural education settings and provide recommendations to better support and empower students from diverse backgrounds. She articulates, “Interactions between students and agricultural educators who share the same race, culture, ethnicity, gender, etc., can help dispel common stereotypes and biases prevalent in agricultural settings.”

Looking ahead, Foy aspires to persist in teaching agricultural classes, whether in the public or higher education sphere, while also pursuing further education at the doctoral level. She expresses, “Over the past year and a half, my passion for teaching and research has grown immensely, and I eagerly anticipate the opportunities the future holds.”