Spring 2020 Graduation Feature: High School Mentor Leads Student to Pursue Agricultural Education Career
After enrolling in an agriculture course her freshman year of high school, Heather Yoder saw her teacher, Mrs. Everett, as a role model and the reason she majored in an agricultural education and communication at the University of Florida. As Heather became more involved in class and FFA, she knew she wanted to spend her career in the agricultural industry and become an agricultural educator.
Heather visited UF’s campus often as a high schooler and became familiar with the faculty and staff in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). She found the folks in CALS and the Agricultural Education and Communication Department to be helpful in their advice. Though she grew up in ‘Nole country, coming to UF felt natural and like the right thing to do. Heather transferred to UF in 2018 after earning her associate’s degree from her local community college.
One of Heather’s most memorable moments of college was traveling to Lincoln, Nebraska, in June 2019 to participate in the Farm Foundation Round Table. The invitational discussion group brought together thought-leaders from across geographic, regional, and value-chain sectors to explore issues that will impact the entire food and agricultural sectors.
“Networking with and learning from industry leaders was an incredible experience,” Heather said. “I was also able to present parts of my undergraduate research that related to the meeting’s topic of ‘Workforce Issues in Food and Agriculture.’”
As some parting words of wisdom to her peers, Heather encourages all students to develop positive relationships with the faculty and staff in their department. “Be a friendly face willing to take initiative and work hard – more than likely it will make an impression and open a few doors,” she said.
After graduation, Heather will be staying in Gainesville to start her career as the Donor Relations Coordinator for UF/IFAS Advancement.
She would like to thank two of her professors, Dr. Thoron and Dr. Bunch, for the time they have invested in helping her succeed as a student and professional. “They both saw potential in me, enough to serve as faculty mentors on an undergraduate research study and to recruit my help with a grant project creating educational materials.”
Agricultural Education and Communication Major
Spring 2020 Bachelor’s Degree Graduate