Agricultural Sciences Degree Leads to Dream Job for Alumna Cayla Walker ’20

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Agricultural Sciences Degree Leads to Dream Job for Alumna Cayla Walker ’20

Cayla Walker '20Ferrum College alumna Cayla Walker ’20 currently serves as the associate extension agent for 4-H Youth Development for Goochland County, a job she dreamed of having one day after graduating from college. Walker grew up on a beef cattle farm and participated in 4-H throughout her childhood and her teenage years. A native of Fluvanna County, Virginia, Walker graduated from Ferrum College in 2020 with a degree in Agricultural Sciences with an emphasis in Animal Science and a minor in Psychology and began working as an extension agent for Goochland County in June 2021. 

Walker developed an interest in psychology after completing the social sciences requisite. “It was a requirement to have one psychology class. I had Dr. Angie Dahl, and I loved the class. I ended up having her for every one of my minor classes. I loved learning about how people work and how their minds work. I think that was probably one of the best decisions I made because psychology is so multifaceted,” said Walker.

Dahl, who is now vice president of Student Development and Campus Life, remembers Walker as a student who maximized her interests and the opportunities at Ferrum. She engaged in her coursework and extracurricular activities to make the most of her experience at Ferrum College. She was able to find agreement between her love of the agriculture field and her interest in the field of psychology – two seemingly disparate fields. Cayla is a prime example of how a Ferrum College education can be individualized to meet a student’s passion,” said Dahl.  

Ferrum College was not Walker’s original college of choice and she initially had plans to study elsewhere. “Virginia Tech was the only other school I was looking at. I toured Tech, and it was too big for me,” explained Walker, who then toured Ferrum College’s agriculture facilities and campus. She loved the College and decided to apply.

During her time at Ferrum, Walker stayed involved. In addition to her interest in agriculture, she was an admissions ambassador, a member of the Psychology Club, and a member of Delta Phi Epsilon.  

Walker credits the accessibility of her professors and advisors with her success as an undergraduate student, in her career, and now as a graduate student studying Agricultural and Life Sciences with a concentration in Education through Virginia Tech’s online program. Professors like Nancy Brubaker, associate professor of Animal Sciences and Agricultural Sciences, taught Walker that it is okay to ask for help, and that success requires hard work. “Dr. Brubaker helped me realize that success doesn’t come easy. It comes with hard work and sometimes means making mistakes, and learning from them. She was always a professor who wanted to know your interests, both related to our studies and not. Her classes were challenging, but I learned a lot more than animal science knowledge in them. I learned life skills that I use every day in my job,” said Walker.

When asked if she had any advice for any current or future students, Walker stressed the importance of taking advantage of internships and any other opportunities available on campus. “Do an internship in something that you think would be useful. For example, there are work studies at Titmus Agricultural Center where you can work at the barn. I know there are a lot of different interactive labs, whether it’s animal science, plant science, or soil science. Go out to those things,” advises Walker. 

Brubaker recalled that Walker was a self motivated student who sought knowledge versus grades. “If I helped Cayla reach her success it was simply by being her advocate and requiring high standards as she navigated her time at (and beyond) Ferrum College,” said Brubaker.

 

From the 4-H Website:

4‑H is delivered by Cooperative Extension—a community of more than 100 public universities across the nation that provides experiences where young people learn by doing. For more than 100 years, 4‑H has welcomed young people of all beliefs and backgrounds, giving kids a voice to express who they are and how they make their lives and communities better.

To learn more about 4-H, please visit: https://4-h.org/

To learn more about our Agricultural Sciences program, please visit: https://www.ferrum.edu/school-of-undergraduate-studies/agricultural-science/

2023-01-06T13:42:40+00:00