Jordan Stowe, a junior in the College of Education’s Agriscience Education program, has been elected as the Southern region’s vice president of the national Future Farmers of America (FFA). The FFA is the largest youth leadership organization in the country with nearly 700,000 members.
According to Stowe’s major professor, Dr. Chris Clemons, being elected to national office is a very big deal and a great compliment to both Stowe and the program she represents. She said her path to Auburn felt natural to her.
“I was very involved with FFA at Enterprise High School, and in my senior year I decided to make a run at statewide office and was elected as the 2015-16 vice president,” she said. “Over the course of that year, FFA really shaped who I was and what I wanted to do with my life. I used that experience to teach more members skills that would help them like it did me. And of course my next goal was to come to Auburn and major in AgriScience Education.”
After her first year at Auburn, Stowe ran unsuccessfully for national office, but came back the next year more determined than ever.
“My success in the Agriscience program really helped me learn to just stick to who I am and what I believed. Young people in America need someone to tell just them it’s OK to be who you are.”
National FFA leadership is very demanding. Stowe, like the other national officers, has taken a year away from school. She and her fellow officers will each travel to 40 states and meet with more than 200,000 FFA members in those states. Her leadership and workshop training will take place in Indiana, and last for a month.
“After that, I’ll basically be on a different plane every four days and live out of a suitcase for a year,” she said. “The workshops will focus on leadership, personal growth, and career success. In everything we do we will work to help students be the best versions of themselves.”
Stowe emphasizes that not everyone in the program will end up with a career in agriculture, but that the lessons learned are valuable in any career.
“Agriculture affects everyone, from New York City to small-town Alabama,” she said. “We want students to recognize the importance of agriculture, but also to learn to be a team player, develop strong moral character, and learn how they can positively influence others.”
After five semesters at Auburn, Stowe is excited about both her present and future.
“I love our Agriscience Education program,” she said. “Our students form a very tight-knit group. If you ever need help with anything, someone is always right there. Also, Professors Lindner and Clemons care about us as people. They know us. We’re not just names on a roster. The day I was elected to office Dr. Clemons called me and said I had his and the department’s total support. That kind of deep caring, to go along with the great leadership, professionalism, and strong academics we see every day, will have a huge impact on the students I will soon be teaching.”
Stowe aspires to take these lessons across the globe. Upon graduation, she plans to join AgriCorps and teach people in impoverished areas of the world how to grow food and create strong local economies.
“Right now I hope to work in Africa, perhaps Ghana,” she said. “My experiences in FFA and AgriScience Education have created in me a strong desire to give back and share the knowledge and skills I have developed through study and hard work. I know it sounds corny, but I owe it all to Auburn and FFA!”