Hometown: Cedarville, AR Currently Living In: White Hall, AR
Title/Position: Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor at White Hall High School
Briefly describe your role: As the Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor at White Hall High School I teach two hands-on Agriculture Mechanics courses that include welding, wood working, electricity, concrete, small engines, and plumbing. I also teach four Survey of Agriculture courses that include introduction to plant science, animal science, natural resources, agriculture mechanics, and agriculture business. In addition to my role as teacher I advise the White Hall FFA Chapter. This includes giving students experiences that enhance their classwork outside of the classroom. Some days this may consist of hands-on workshops that teach about conservation and hunting, other days we are suited up in FFA official dress fine tuning our public speaking skills.
Q: Is what you’re doing now what you always pictured you would do?
A: Absolutely! From a very young age I have known I wanted to be an educator, but it wasn’t until I joined Agriculture Education and FFA in high school that I realized my passion was Agricultural Education. I am blessed to teach agriculture as it proves to be a new adventure each day. All in a single day you may find me suited up in welding gear, teaching students to weld; germinating plants for our vertical vegetable garden; preparing students for public speaking contests; or even working with our classroom pets! My dad has worked in construction my entire life, so I practically grew up wearing a tool belt with a hammer in my hand and my job allows me to combine my passion for agriculture and leadership with the skills and experience I learned from my father.
Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges for women in your chosen industry? What are the greatest opportunities?
A: The greatest challenge for women in Agriculture Education is being seen as less capable than our male counterparts by the general public. When I tell people I teach Agriculture Mechanics (welding, wood working, plumbing, electricity, etc.) I often get strange looks and people have a hard time believing I teach the “shop class.” You don’t have to be a male to enjoy welding and wood working!
Q: Who has inspired you in your life/career?
A: The biggest inspiration in my life is my grandma Judy! She has shown me to take every battle life throws at you and handle it with grace, to keep going when the going gets tough, and to be able to support myself in every step of life.
The biggest inspiration in my career comes from my high school agriculture teacher, Courtney Smith. Courtney gave me every possible opportunity that FFA offers and allowed me to find my place in the world. She took a chance on a rambunctious and rough around the edges freshman and helped me gain leadership skills, a passion for agriculture, and a love of serving my community.
Q: What advice would you give to an aspiring professional?
A: It may sound cheesy, but my advice to an aspiring professional is to find something you are passionate about, set your goals, find your crew, and don’t stop! There may be bumps in the road that send you on a detour, and you may land at a dead end, but you’ll be glad you persevered through those hard times.
Q: What’s been your secret to success?
A: To this point in my life my secret to success has been to set goals and continue working towards them until I have reached them. I guess you could say my secret to success is to work hard and don’t stop until you get where you’re trying to go. I was raised in a low-income family, neither of my parents graduated high school, and I was the first in my family to go to college. I could have taken these circumstances and succumbed to what life had given me but instead I took it as a challenge to break the cycle. My strengths are achieving and having a futuristic mindset so typically when I set goals I work constantly until I achieve them. I had to work harder to navigate college and life as a young adult but if fueled my fire to keep going and to make it to my goal of being an Agriculture Teacher.