Meet Our New Professors

Headshot of Dr. Garrett SteedeDr. Garrett Steede taught Advanced Journalism and Persuasive Writing for Ag, Food, and Environmental Sciences and developed a new Food and Agricultural Marketing Campaigns course this fall. In the spring he will teach two new courses including one focused on online media and the other on layout and design for print media. Garrett graduated from Mississippi State University with his B.S. in Animal and Dairy Science before working as a temporary lecturer in the Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at Clemson University in South Carolina and completing his M.S. in Agricultural and Extension Education at Mississippi State University. After serving as an instructor and meat judging coach in the Department of Agriculture at Fort Hays State University for two years Garrett completed his Ph.D. at Texas Tech University.

Fun Facts About Dr. Steede
What is your connection to agriculture?

I grew up on a diversified farm on the Mississippi Gulf Coast where my family grew watermelons, peanuts, vegetables, and registered Limousine cattle. I was heavily involved in both 4-H and FFA showing my Limousin cattle as well as club goats. My family has a strong connection to agriculture and agricultural education as my dad was a high school agriculture teacher for 12 years before making a career change to become an Extension agent. My sister followed in his footsteps and now teaches high school agriculture.

What is your favorite thing about the University of Minnesota?

I really enjoy how driven and involved the students are at the U. The tagline “Driven to Discover” really is true here.

Why do you find Agricultural Communication & Marketing exciting?

For the longest time I thought I would be an animal scientist. I love teaching and learning about animal agriculture, but found that I just did not like doing animal science research. I also had a great passion for writing and talking to people about agriculture. As I worked to discover the opportunities outside of animal science, I grew to love communicating the science of agriculture to others. I think the role that scientific knowledge plays in our field is vitally important. You can learn to be a pro at graphic design and photography, have the AP Style book memorized, and have great public speaking abilities, but you must be able to pair that with sound scientific knowledge of food, agriculture, and natural resources to effectively communicate to our audiences. The point where those two merge is what excites me most!

What hobbies do you enjoy?

In a new city, finding new hobbies can be challenging. I enjoy going to the gym and trying to be healthy. My partner and I just recently adopted a retired racing greyhound named Jethro, so he keeps us pretty busy. I also really love to travel so I’ve tried to take advantage of travel opportunities we have here with such a large airport.

Headshot of Dr. Troy McKayDr. Troy McKay taught Digital Media Essentials for AFNR and Podcasting for Science Literacy this fall. Next semester he will teach Advanced Video Storytelling for AFNR and Field Reporting and Program Production for AFNR. Troy earned his B.A. from the University of Northern Iowa in Ceder Falls, Iowa and a Graduate Certificate in Film and Video Production from UCLA. Troy then earned is M.A. from Woodbury University in Burbank, California and earned his Ph.D from Iowa State University. Dr. McKay also spent 15 years working in freelance film production in Los Angeles and worked on projects for major studios including ABS, CBS, and NBC. Additionally, he worked as a professional actor and has appeared in many commercial campaigns, television shows, and feature films.

Fun Facts About Dr. McKay

What is your connection to agriculture?

My connection to agriculture is not as robust as my experience with digital media production.  I grew up in a small rural town in Iowa and attended a consolidated high school. I was active in 4-H, but not really in agriculture-related activities. I did the media and mechanical projects available in 4-H. I grew up working in the summer on farms to earn money, but my family was not in an ag-related industry.

What is your favorite thing about the University of Minnesota?

My favorite thing about the University of Minnesota is the people I am working with and the students that I am teaching. The people I work with have been so supportive and have made my family’s transition to the university and the Twin Cities very easy. The students are making my job a lot of fun. They are smart and creative, and I can see that they are excited about the topics that I think are exciting. This makes coming to work and preparing for classroom activities very rewarding, and I look forward to seeing what the students can achieve both in my classes and out in the professional world.

What do you enjoy about Agricultural, Education, Communication & Marketing?

I primarily teach and work in content production. I think one of the most exciting things I get to experience in a program like this is when students get a chance to apply their own creativity and develop their own style of working. This typically happens when students get through the basic mastery of technical skills. Once this is complete students tend to explore and challenge themselves. The discoveries that happened in the classroom and through hands-on experiences is so rewarding from a teaching perspective, plus I am always learning new ways to teach from my students.   

What are some of your hobbies?

I love to watch sports and movies as well as traveling with my family. We are hoping to take an RV road trip out west this summer! I also love live music, so taking advantage of living in the Twin Cities and the great venues we have here has been awesome.