Why did you choose the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences?
Agriculture has always been my passion, having grown up on a small poultry farm back home NC State was always my top choice for schools. I started out in poultry science and enjoyed the classes I took but more importantly the business classes are what intrigued me the most. I enjoyed the economics and business side of my education while pursuing a minor in agricultural business management. This led me to declare a second major in Agricultural Business Management the spring of my sophomore year. At first I didn’t expect to graduate in four years but I managed to take a few summer classes and do just that by graduating this spring of 2020. As for the Agricultural Business Management degree I would highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in both business and agriculture. Within the degree there are many opportunities for you to take classes that open up a new perspective on the agricultural industry you might not have known before. Trade, communications, accounting, economics, markets and much much more are just a few of the key topics that grew my interest into the degree. Overall the agricultural business degree and the ARE department as a whole has gifted me a knowledge that I will carry with me everywhere I go.
Tell us about the role of internships in your academic career.
I did multiple internships while at NC State with companies including Mountaire Farms, Cal-Maine, and Scotts Miracle-Gro Company. Before I get into the details of how I got these internships I would like to emphasize the importance of internships and that they can open doors for you as a student which I will mention in the next question. I did my first internship with Mountaire Farms after my freshmen year of college for the summer and found it to be a very valuable internship that got me in contact with some very valuable people that I still talk to today. My Scotts Miracle-Gro internship gave me insight into the industry of retail and helped me tremendously improve my face-to-face communication skills with customers while also giving me an opportunity to learn about an industry that I knew nothing about before I started. The internship I did with Cal-Maine gave me the most opportunity by far and changed my entire plan for where I wanted to work post graduation. I met a lot of great people when working at Cal-Maine where I was given the opportunity to lead and provide input, an experience that I could not stress enough which has helped to shape me into who I am today.
How has your degree open doors for you?
My degree has certainly opened doors for me but as I have told people many times its not always about what you know but rather who you meet and get to know that can improve your future. Certainly my degrees have opened many doors to industries that I wouldn’t have got the opportunity to meet had it not been for my education. To expand on that, my education has helped me indefinitely to pursue my interests and land me in the job I have planned for graduation. Hard work, dedication, and motivation go a long way with a degree. Also, attending career fairs along with having a degree like the ones I have in two ag-related fields would open up doors for anyone and give them a new perspective on an industry or business that they might not have thought about before.
Tell us about your plans for the future.
I will work for Cal-Maine Foods at their Bethune, SC facility. I will be a supervisor picking up about where I left off as an intern and I very much look forward to it and I am very grateful for the opportunity. I am from NC so I hope to one day move back this way within the near future. As I have always done, I will continuously look for new opportunities and be open to change with the hope of improving my career in the future. I also hope to one day own a business and grow my financial portfolio in addition to my career.
What advice do you have for freshman in the agricultural business management program?
For freshmen within the Ag. Business degree, don’t be afraid to explore new opportunities that come your way because you may find that you like something you didn’t know about before. Don’t be afraid to fail in that don’t be afraid to take chances in pursuing what you want to do. You may not know the outcome of an internship but I can assure you that you will be grateful that you took a chance. Attend as many career fairs as possible and network with as many people as possible. You never know where an opportunity may arise so it is important to expand your portfolio as far as possible which I can tell you from experience, goes a long way with your professional career. As for your education, I would strongly encourage you to take classes that challenge you and intrigue your interests. There are many classes I have taken for the Ag. Business degree and many have stood out to me as being very beneficial because they intrigued my interest and taught me valuable things that I will be able to take with me through life. I would encourage you to also remember your social life. School is important, but the memories you make with friends and what you do with your time at NC State will stick with you for life. Most importantly I would encourage you as freshman to aim high and miss than to aim low and hit. Never be afraid to pursue what interests you and always look for new opportunities. Lastly, I would advise you to strive for greatness and explore everything the Ag. Business degree has to offer.