Students prepare for careers in the food and agriculture industry
Posted on Feb 26, 2020
Photo by Jeranie Johnson. Fort Valley State University agricultural students recently gave presentations on their experiences with Agriculture Future of America (AFA) at a campus meeting in the O’Neal Veterinary Science auditorium. Pictured, from left, are Sierra Cloud, freshman; Charity Greene, sophomore; Dr. Ralph Noble, dean of the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology (CAFST); Fanisha Maze, marketing and outreach coordinator for the CAFST; Carrienton Stevenson, freshman; Ashley Collins, director of collegiate relations for AFA; and Tori McGuire, junior.
Four Fort Valley State University agricultural students recently traveled out of state to experience the various networking and internship opportunities through Agriculture Future of America (AFA).
AFA provides premiere personal and professional development programs to college students and young professionals in agriculture. Through FVSU’s University Growth Initiative, students Tori McGuire, junior plant science-biotechnology major; Charity Greene, sophomore agricultural economics major; and Carrienton Stevenson, freshman agricultural engineering major, attended the AFA Leaders Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, in November 2019.
The three Wildcats gave presentations about their conference experiences at a recent Fuel and Facts with AFA meeting in the O’Neal Veterinary Science auditorium on campus. McGuire and Sierra Cloud, freshman agricultural engineering major, also discussed their visit to Chicago to attend AFA’s Food Institute, where they learned about food production and processing to gain a broader picture of the food industry. FVSU’s AgriDemic Forum (ADF) hosted the educational meeting.
During their trips, the four students networked with industry professionals and learned about various internship and scholarship opportunities. They advised students at the campus meeting to participate in organizations like AFA and to challenge themselves.
Dr. Ralph Noble, dean of the College of Agriculture, Family Sciences and Technology (CAFST), echoed this message. “Agriculture is the most exciting field right now. Devise a career and then devise a plan,” he encouraged. “Internships determine how fast you get there.”
Furthermore, Ashley Collins, director of collegiate relations for AFA, explained the various programs available through the organization and how students can take advantage of those opportunities. In addition to the AFA Leaders Conference, the organization offers Leader Institutes (food, technology, animal, crop and policy), Leader Fellowship and the Alliance for young professionals. Collins added that AFA is a scholarship granting organization. She said they awarded $300,000 in scholarships last year.
Fanisha Maze, marketing and outreach coordinator for the CAFST and ADF co-adviser, serves as the AFA campus liaison. She said the AFA programs are open to all FVSU students, not just students majoring in agriculture.
“AFA is like an onion. As you peel back the layers, the opportunities available to students are endless, which can lead to other opportunities like scholarships, internships and ultimately your career,” Maze said.
The annual AFA Leaders Conference is a four-track program designed to offer college men and women four different personal and professional development opportunities spread across and matched to their years in college.
For eligibility, students must hold a 3.0 grade point average or higher, be enrolled as an undergraduate student (age 17-25), attend a four-year institution within the United States or articulate plans to obtain a four-year degree, possess a passion for food and agriculture, and plan to pursue a career in the food and agriculture industry. Visit www.agfuture.org for more information.
- FVSU Agriculture College