June 13, 2014 – One of Fort Valley State University’s own is returning home to Georgia.
Katura Wright, a 1998 plant science alumna, assumes the position of assistant state conservationist for programs at the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) office in Athens. As the assistant state conservationist for programs, Wright is responsible for the coordination, direction and evaluation of farm bill programs in Georgia. She began her new position June 30.
“I am extremely happy about returning to my home state,” Wright said. The plant science alumna, who is presently the assistant state conservationist for programs at the NRCS office in Columbia, Mo., previously worked in Georgia from 1998 until 2001. She left Georgia in 2001 and continued her career with NRCS, making a brief stop in the Gulfport, Miss., field office before moving to the state office in Jackson, Miss. While in Jackson, she served as a program specialist for six years.
In her new position, Wright says she hopes to impact her clientele with the help of legislation and the resources available at NRCS. “With the passing of the 2014 Agriculture Act, our agency is poised to offer more financial and technical assistance to the landowners and farmers in the state of Georgia,” Wright said.
Wright started her career with the NRCS in 1995 by participating as a student trainee in FVSU’s Cooperative Education Program. The program is a joint venture between companies, agencies and higher education. It allows students to gain work experience while they are enrolled at FVSU. As a student trainee, she worked at the Brunswick and Nashville, Ga., field offices. After earning her degree from FVSU, Wright worked at NRCS field offices in Georgia, Mississippi, Vermont, Florida and Missouri. In 2007, Wright earned her master’s degree in urban and regional planning, environment and land use from Jackson State University in Mississippi.
The Brunswick native said she selected her major because she wanted to follow in her grandfather and father’s footsteps. Her father Edward Wright is a FVSC 1971 agronomy alumnus and grandfather Alfred Nobles is a FVSC 1949 agricultural education alumnus. “Each was fortunate enough to begin working in their field of study upon graduation, and I wanted to do the same thing,” Wright said.
While at FVSU, Wright said she took the advice of Dr. Mark Latimore Jr., interim dean of the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology. Latimore told her to perform well in her studies and participate in internships. “I listened and took advantage of this advice. I interned with the Cooperative Extension Service the summer of my freshman year and with the NRCS the next two years. By doing so, I was able to go to work shortly after I finished my studies at FVSU,” Wright said.
Wright said that any student wanting to major in agriculture should not be swayed by stereotypes associated with the practice. “Don’t think that Ag [agriculture] is only for farmers,” Wright said. “I didn’t grow up on a farm, but it’s a rewarding career in that you get to help farmers and ranchers across the country and have an impact on the world.”
During her undergraduate days, Wright participated in numerous clubs and organizations including the agronomy club, Agri-Demic forum and student senate. She said she had an amazing experience at FVSU. “The classes were small enough that the professors knew you by name. Professors really care about your success and will do anything they can to help you while attending FVSU and beyond,” Wright said. In her spare time, the FVSU grad likes to read, volunteer her time to charity and spend time with family.
Her advice to FVSU students attending the university is simple. “Enjoy your time there, but remember that those four years outline your life from graduation forward. You are in total control of your success. Own it!” Wright said.