Ag Ed Student Spotlight: Jessica Juncewski

Jessica Being asked the question, “What do you want to do for the rest of your life?” as a junior in high school had Jessica Juncewski contemplating.  “I answered that question like a typical high school student would. I was not sure of what I wanted to do career-wise,” she said.  However, with the help of two of her ag teachers, she embarked upon her journey in Agricultural Education.

Jessica, a senior in Agricultural Education from Dassel, Minnesota will be following her dreams this fall as she begins teaching.  She grew up on her family’s small dairy farm, where a passion for agriculture was ignited.  That passion carried into high school when she became involved in FFA.

“Two of my ag teachers told me they had been talking about me and thought that I would be a great ag teacher.”  She thought about this for the rest of her junior year, but then one of her ag teachers left and doubts started to arise as to whether or not teaching would be the right fit.  “The new ag teacher my senior year told me I couldn’t be a librarian, and now that’s why I’m a fifth year student at the U of M completing my Ag Ed degree.”

Jessica is a 2+2 student, who started her degree at Ridgewater College.  After two years at Ridgewater she chose to attend the University of Minnesota because, “it was either here or South Dakota State University, and I would much rather be a Gopher than a Jackrabbit!”  During her time at the U of M, Jessica was a member of the Agricultural Education Club where she served as secretary for one year.  She assisted with the fall and spring FFA invitational on campus, the Ag Ed Sneak Preview Day, and she also attended the Alpha Tau Alpha Conclave in conjunction with the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky.

In addition to being involved in campus activities, Jessica shadowed numerous high school agriculture teachers in preparation for her future career.  “One of my favorite classes that I took at the University of Minnesota was definitely AFEE 2096 with Doc Pete.  That man is a legend and is a great teacher.”  As part of that course, students complete an early field experience in an aspect of the agriculture industry that interests them.  Jessica completed her experience with James Weninger, an agriculture teacher at Howard Lake Waverly Winsted High School.  “I got to do what I love to do, which is being around students in class!”

Jessica is looking forward to what the future has in store, and she has three agriculture teachers to thank:  “Eric Sawatzke, Seena Glessing, and James Weninger led me to where I am today and I am really grateful for them.”  Jessica encourages incoming freshmen and current University of Minnesota students to spend time with friends, try new experiences, and to be bold because you only live once.  “Every year you get older, time goes by more quickly so take the time you have now and use it wisely.”  

Jessica’s Favorites:

  • Color: Blue
  • Song: "Lonely is the Night" by Billy Squier

  • Animal: Dog

  • Movie: Shrek

  • Book: "The Little Engine That Could" by Watty Piper

  • Quote: "If you can't dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullsh*t." -W.C. Fields

  • Food: Spaghetti

  • Hobby: Reading, watching Netflix, and hanging out with her dog