ACM Undergraduate Student Spotlight: Ellyn Swanson

Written by Kayla Leiding

EllynEllyn Swanson grew up surrounded by agriculture and it has always been a passion and interest area of hers. “I knew I wanted to be in agriculture and I wanted to stay in state at a land-grant university, so the U of M was really my only option.” Ellyn is now a senior at the University of Minnesota majoring in Agricultural Communication and Marketing, with an emphasis in Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences. Ellyn grew up in Trimont, Minnesota in a farm-focused community. She spent a lot of time on her family’s corn and soybean farm and was also heavily involved in FFA. Agriculture has always been an incredible passion of hers and she plans on always staying close to her roots of farming.

At the University of Minnesota, Ellyn was involved in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource’s (CFANS) Policy Engagement Program, and she was also a student member of the Agricultural Education Club. Ellyn was an ACE (Agricultural Communication and Education) Program Ambassador for one year and she is currently a mentor in the AECM Peer Mentor Program. She has also been an active volunteer at the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul. Coming into college, Ellyn started as an Agricultural Education major. However, about halfway through her first year, she shadowed an ag program that was very different from her home school and she decided that teaching was not the right career path for her. Ellyn said, “I switched over to ACM and have loved it ever since! In that major and in the communications work I do, I found that I absolutely love to write so the ACM major was more of a better fit.”

While Ellyn may have not been incredibly involved with student organizations on campus, she has gained tremendous work experience to supplement her time. The summer between her freshman and sophomore year, she was the Summer Program Intern for Martin County 4-H and then this past summer she worked for New Fashion Pork out of Jackson, Minnesota as their Communications Project Intern. This past summer, she also had the opportunity to return to Martin County 4-H for the month of August as their Interim Program Coordinator, which was an excellent learning experience! Currently, Ellyn works in three different positions. She is in her second year working with the Minnesota FFA Foundation as their State Convention News Editor, and she is in her third year as the Communications Assistant for the Agricultural Education, Communication and Marketing Department focusing on writing and editing the department newsletter. Ellyn also works for Highview Farms out of Hamburg, Minnesota as their Communications Manager. In that role, she organizes and executes their social media plan that highlights activities around the farm and also helps with production work, like feeding calves and milking cows, when needed.

Upon graduating in the spring, Ellyn’s dream job would be social media marketing and agricultural freelance writing. She loves sharing photos and stories of farmers that focus on the work they do and why they do it. She also hopes to farm alongside her family.

Ellyns advice for new and current U of M students is, “Do not be afraid to branch out and experience new things. One of the many beautiful features of the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities Campus is that there are three campuses. Leave St. Paul and experience what the East and West Banks have to offer. I have met some of my best friends on the Minneapolis campus, so you never know the people you could meet!”

Ellyn’s Favorites:

  • Color: Anything neutral
  • Animal: Jersey calf
  • Quote: “Live in such a way that if anyone should speak badly of you, no one would believe it.”
  • Food: Pizza
  • Hobby: Cooking and baking. She loves The Pioneer Woman!