Eighteen CALS students participated in the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Leaders Conference in Kansas City, Missouri – the largest contingent the college has ever sent. They represented eight majors and ranged from freshman to senior.
And, for each of them, the experience was unforgettable.
“Most of the sessions that I attended were about leadership, self-improvement and how to excel in the professional world,” said Hubert Asamoah Boadu, a freshman biochemistry major. “My biggest takeaway was that there are an incredible amount of opportunities in the sciences, many of which I wasn’t aware of in the past. My favorite part of the experience was meeting so many incredible students from different colleges across the country.”
The four-day conference provided nearly 800 students from land-grant colleges and universities throughout the country with opportunities to build their leadership and professional skills and connect with industry leaders and representatives.
They attended three types of sessions: professional development education, presentations by motivational speakers and networking.
For senior agricultural science major Andrew Blythe, the networking session was most valuable.
“I met many new like-minded students from a variety of states,” Blythe said. “Those connections made will surely be lifelong. Also, I had the opportunity to hand out resumes and speak with industry representatives at the opportunity fair. This time was the most important part of the conference in my eyes.”
Each of the CALS students was selected from a competitive national pool to receive industry sponsorship, covering their conference fees and lodging. CALS Academic Programs supported the majority of their travel costs, with six departments assisting their students by covering the remaining cost of travel.
“CALS has been working hard to provide our students with a comprehensive education and prepare them for their careers,” said John Dole, CALS associate dean and director of academic programs. “The AFA Leaders Conference is a great way for our students to get the skills needed in today’s job market while having fun, meeting with and getting to know fellow students from all over the United States, and networking with industry professionals.”