The Enthusiast - Winter 2019

Birthdays represent special memories, and milestones for each of us. I loved strawberries as a young boy so my dad would pick them from our garden and my mom would make strawberry pie for my birthday. Being of legal age to drive my car was another key birthday, and my 45th birthday was special because my high school agriculture students, fellow teachers, and relatives decorated my classroom with black streamers, quotes about old age, and pictures of me when I was much younger.

We are excited to welcome two new professors to our department!

Declaring an international minor has many benefits beyond just adding another line to your resume. Dr. Jay Bell, the coordinator for the international agriculture minor described two key advantages that come from pursuing this minor. It will help students in a professional sense because agriculture is becoming increasingly global and having international experiences in college will set students apart in the workplace. However, Dr. Bell said that the benefits of experiences gleaned from an international minor are much greater than this. “The most important aspect is learning how to work within a culture that’s different than your own and learning how to deal with difference,” Dr. Bell explained.  

The CFANS Office of International Programs (OIP) provides helpful resources to students interested in studying abroad. Located in Coffey Hall 197 on the St. Paul Campus, OIP staff invite students to stop by so students can get their questions answered and receive more information about international opportunities. Staff will also support students through the study abroad application process. Drop-in hours happen every Wednesday from 2 to 4 p.m. in Coffey 130 or students can schedule time with a staff member.

In Minnesota, county fairs are a common occurrence throughout the summer. Last summer, Janelle Hueners got to experience an event similar to those familiar fairs while in Mexico. She spent two months in Magdalena, Sonora serving as an Expo Esperanza Intern for The Fatted Calf. According to their website, the goal of the Fatted Calf’s internship program is to “attract motivated young people with servant hearts to further the mission of The Fatted Calf as well as develop character and professionalism in the interns to take back home and incorporate into their communities.” During her internship, Janelle helped youth prepare for Expo Esperanza, which she compares to a county fair.

Elizabeth Abraham is excitedly looking forward to the research outcomes of her P.h.D thesis titled Development of Entrepreneurial Self-Efficacy of Tribal Farmers in Nagaland, India. She says she can never erase the memories she made while visiting and interacting with the indigenous people of Nagaland for her research and data collection. Her passion for learning about marginalized farming communities began while she pursued her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in her home country -- India. It was there that she witnessed the challenges faced by subsistence farmers, and she remembers reading in newspapers about these farmers committing suicide because they were unable to bear farming losses.

The chance to immerse yourself in another culture through international travel is not only limited to students. Agricultural Communication & Marketing Assistant Professor Rebecca Swenson will be the first to tell you that these opportunities are as valuable for faculty as they are for students.“I learned just as much as the students did,” she said about her recent trip to two African countries. Dr. Swenson served as a mentor for CFANS student and Global Food Challenge Emerging Leader Sierra Williamson. Because of this mentorship, she spent just under two weeks learning about agriculture in Malawi and South Africa alongside Sierra. Their travel group included university students and ambassadors, Land O’Lakes employees, and other Global Food Challenge Emerging Leaders.

Emily Annexstad, the communications assistant for the Agricultural Education, Communication & Marketing Department, wrote and edited this semester’s e-newsletter. Emily is a junior studying Animal Science and Agricultural Communication & Marketing (ACM).