The students from the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources met with several government and agricultural industry officials.
Several undergraduate students from the College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources (CASNR) at Texas Tech University traveled to Washington, D.C., recently to learn about agricultural policy from government officials and industry representatives.
The students are members of the Matador Institute of Leadership Engagement (MILE), a new leadership and professional development program for selected CASNR students.
“This trip to Washington, D.C., provided a high-impact, transformative learning experience for our students as they met the people, agencies and organizations that develop and implement agricultural policy,” said Lindsay Kennedy, MILE Program Director and an instructor in the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications. “The goal of the MILE Program is to create a pipeline of well-rounded young leaders for agriculture, and this experience helped our students make valuable networking connections on Capitol Hill.”
While in D.C., 14 students met with United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies and officials, including Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue as well as staff within the House Agriculture Committee, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Department of Justice. The students also met with industry representatives from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, American Farm Bureau, National Corn Growers Association and National Cotton Council.
“The MILE Program is another example of the great opportunities our students are offered at Texas Tech University,” said Kristina Butts, chief of staff to the chancellor of the Texas Tech University System. “The breadth and influence of Texas Tech in D.C. is evident by the many alumni who bear our banners from the halls of Congress to federal agencies to the White House.”
The MILE Program is a three-semester leadership certificate program that seeks to develop participants' personal and professional skills while exposing them to the key issues affecting local, state and national agriculture and policy. The program is designed to provide participants with a competitive edge when seeking career opportunities after graduation.
The students who comprise the first CASNR MILE cohort are:
- Aspen Eaton, Department of Agricultural Education & Communications from Ovalo
- Heath Hadley, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics from Farwell
- Jacie Henefey, Department of Animal & Food Sciences from D'Hanis
- McKenna Johnson, Department of Agricultural Education & Communications from Floydada
- Brandon Jones, Department of Animal & Food Sciences from Veguita, New Mexico
- Kaylynn Kiker, Department of Animal & Food Sciences from Allison
- Reginald Lane, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics from Bridgeport
- J.W. Morgan, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics from Pilot Point
- Brynn Owen, Department of Animal & Food Sciences from Canyon
- Maggie Pipkin, Department of Agricultural Education & Communications from Spearman
- Anevay Sanchez, Department of Natural Resources Management from Odessa
- John Smithwick, Department of Animal & Food Sciences from Lubbock
- Carson Wienecke, Department of Natural Resources Management from Lometa
- Hagan Wright, Department of Natural Resources Management from Wolfforth
During the program, MILE participants enroll in three academic courses focused on the personal, service and community aspects of leadership, and each completes a professional internship. The MILE experience includes both on- and off-campus workshops and tours and a trip to Austin in the spring during the Texas legislative session.
Upon completion of the program, students will receive a leadership certificate to accompany their professional portfolio.