Written by Ayah Mohamed
Senior Ambassador Lauren Hunley is from rural Stokes County, North Carolina where she was involved in her high school’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) club. She also had an internship with 4-H so Lauren knew the Agricultural Business Management program would be a good fit for her because of her interests in agriculture during her youth.
Lauren knew starting a new stage of life at a university could be stressful but she benefitted from the close-knit community of students, advisers and professors in the ABM program. Lauren says she loves that the structure of the program which focuses on making and maintaining relationships for personal and professional growth. This “small-school” feel boosted her networking skills and the opportunities for Lauren and her cohort to meet industry leaders and participle in mock-interviews during their time as an undergraduate helped prepare them to apply to internships and jobs.
Although Lauren wasn’t set on a specific major, she knew she was interested in agriculture and business and an education that could provide her career flexibility. By attending departmental events, meeting new people, making connections and having discussions she learned more about the program and its capabilities. She believes the amount of resources the program provides sets it apart from others offered at NC State. Lauren says, “I am so glad I chose the ABM major because I can have all of the opportunities that NC State has to offer, but I also get the small school feels from the department that I was used to before college.”
Lauren says her experience as an Ambassador for the ARE department has helped her grow in many ways. She says it gave her the chance to attend events, network with industry professionals, meet faculty members, grow her leadership skills, enhance her communication skills, work on department projects, and ultimately gave her an enjoyable college experience. The Ambassador program is in its fourth year and intends to employ six students in the coming academic year.
Lauren is unsure about her plans after graduation but holds an internship this upcoming summer with Carolina Farm Credit. She believes the skills and experience she gains there will help influence her plans for after graduation.
When asked what advice she would lend to incoming ABM students she says to take advantage of the opportunities around you. She explains that getting out of your comfort zone and attending events, especially as a freshman, will benefit you in the long run. Lauren says that everyone in the program is helpful and willing to assist with any aspect of professional development. She says she owes thanks to those who have helped her thus far and pushes others to be as involved as they can. Lauren says, “ABM really does take care of their students and if you’re willing to put in the work, you’ll get a great experience out of it.”