Cal Poly Freshmen Learn By Doing at the National FFA Convention

By: Audrey Lent, agriculture science major

One of the most important qualities that Cal Poly looks for in its student body is a passion for the “Learn By Doing” lifestyle, and no one has embodied it better than four of our newest Mustangs, who won top honors at the National FFA Convention. Kaleb Robertson, a first-year Agricultural Science student, and Claire Nelson, a freshman studying Biomedical Engineering, helped lead a team from their chapter of Galt FFA to victory in the National Agricultural Issues Forum. While Brittney Thompson, a freshman in Agricultural Communications, and Brooke Gilstrap, another first-year Agricultural Science student, were both members of the team from Galt Liberty Ranch FFA who won the National Advanced Parliamentary Procedure Competition.

Parli Pro Team
2017 National Champion Parliamentary Procedure Team

Each of the students was ecstatic not only about their wins but for the opportunity to participate in this event at all, saying that it gave them opportunities they might not have otherwise had, as well as skills that they will use during their time at Cal Poly. When asked if anything she felt that anything she had learned from the Ag. Issues Forum related to her major, Nelson said, “Absolutely. You learn to speak more professionally, you learn to answer questions, you learn to interact with people,” skills that will definitely be needed when she is an engineer. Thompson expressed similar sentiments, sharing that she felt her knowledge of parliamentary procedure will give her an advantage on her path to becoming a lobbyist for the agricultural industry.

They hope to continue their involvement in activities like this during their time at Cal Poly, citing activities such as the Young Farmers and Ranchers Discussion Meet as potential opportunities to continue to hone their skills. Robertson and Gilstrap both shared enthusiasm for events like this, as they both would like to be able to share knowledge of and passion for the agricultural industry with their students when they become FFA advisors. Although Nelson and Thompson will not be involved in teaching agriculture, they both still hope to play a role in shaping the future of the FFA and its members.

AG. Issues Team
National Agricultural Issues Team Forum Champions

Although people have expressed concern over the future of the agricultural industry in this ever-changing world, it is clear that it is in the hands of some very capable young leaders. While their time at Cal Poly has only just begun, these four students are already making headlines, and there is no doubt they will continue to do so throughout their next four years as Mustangs.


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