"My agriculture education teacher was a big influence in my life and helped build my passion for agriculture," said Krista Zavadil '21, Morningside's first agriculture education major. "I want to be able to do the same for students in rural communities."
After finishing her student-teaching in the Hinton Community School District in Hinton, Iowa, Krista will graduate this May and head to Glidden-Ralston High School in Glidden, Iowa, to be the new agriculture teacher and Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor. Looking back at her time as an undergraduate, the Crofton, Neb. native says didn't quite know what she wanted to do besides join the cross country and track team when she first arrived at Morningside. Coming from a small town, she liked that Morningside was a small university where she was more than just a number.
"I knew I could do a wide range of activities and my professors would know me by name," Krista said, "and that's exactly what happened." After taking some general courses, she found herself drawn to Morningside's agricultural and food studies department and decided to study ag education. It was a natural next step for Krista, who grew up on a third-generation family farm in northeast Nebraska with parents who both worked in the agriculture industry.
"Agriculture is one of the biggest industries in the world and is an important part of our future," Krista said. "As an agriculture teacher, you are helping to shape students towards careers in agriculture and help teach them skills they need for careers and life."
Krista discovered that the experiences in Morningside's agriculture education program are one-of-a-kind, especially compared to bigger programs where students can easily be lost in the crowd. She was impressed with her professors in agriculture and education who not only knew her name but would routinely check in with her and even help her come up with strategies for lesson plans. Beyond the classroom, Krista gained experience in the Garden Club and Ag Club and got involved as a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa and Kappa Delta Pi honor societies. "If you want a place to be able to learn from experiences outside of the typical classroom, that place is Morningside."
Learn more about Morningside's agricultural and food studies programs here.