Women in Ag: Taylor Chaisson
Senior Taylor Chaisson found herself in the agricultural operations management (AOM) major in the University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) after taking courses as part of the Challenge 2050 program.
“I was drawn to the issue of food security and I ended up finding a major that felt more hands-on,” Chaisson said. “I know I’ll get be outside and work with people. I know I’m in the right major because I can talk about what I learned in class until someone tells me to stop!”
Fellow women in agricultural and natural resources (ANR) have played a vital role in Chaisson’s education. During the summer of 2016, Chaisson completed an internship with the University of Georgia’s Extension office in Coweta County. County extension coordinator and ANR agent Stephanie Butcher took Chaisson under her wing for the summer.
“I was able to learn so much about practical agriculture and interacting with the agricultural community,” Chaisson said. “She told me that I didn’t have to know everything, but not to be afraid to speak up if I did know something. If I didn’t have the answer, she encouraged me to go learn about it from someone who knows the topic well.”
In the typically male-dominated field of agriculture, Chaisson said she has had nothing but good experiences. From field representatives to faculty, Chaisson found that all have been friendly and more than happy to teach her what she needs to know about vegetable seed production.
“They were patient and able to pass along relevant information in a way that let me learn but didn’t make me feel ignorant, even though I walked in with no experience and asked a lot of questions,” Chaisson said.
Currently, Chaisson is exploring jobs in the vegetable seed industry in the area of supply chain and production or in product management. Through her recent internship with HM.Clause, Chaisson has found that she loves working with vegetables and found the seed-side of production to be fascinating.
Chaisson advises other young women interested in pursuing careers in the agricultural and natural resources to ask lots of questions.
“Don’t be afraid to jump in with no experience,” Chaisson said. “The field of agriculture is more modern than you think. If you find something interesting, learn everything you can about it and you will be respected for what you know. There are more smart and interesting females in your field than you may think. There’s nothing wrong with asking questions, but make sure you ask well-formed questions that will get you a complete answer and maybe even a story to go along with it.”
Note: In honor of Women’s History Month, CALS will be sharing stories of students throughout March.