Being a student in Agricultural Economics isn’t just about going to class and studying! Here, our students are able to embrace the many opportunities for them such as clubs and organizations, internships and undergraduate research.
A native of Lillian, Alabama, Kelsey Cassebaum is no stranger to the life of agriculture. Cassebaum knows the meaning of hard work after growing up on a farm boasting of 1500 acres of row crops, 250 head of cattle in a cow-calf operation and a 1000+ pecan tree operation.
“There is something to do all year-round,” she says. “My interest is the cattle side of things whereas my dad and brother run the farm.”
In addition to running a farm full-time, Cassebaum also helps her family operate a produce stand that starts on Memorial Day well known for “Cassebaum’s silver king corn.” By not wholesaling any of their produce, they are able to sell everything at the stand with nothing going to waste.
“We plant 30 acres of sweet corn in two week intervals so it’s not all ready at once. In addition to corn, we have about two acres of watermelon and cantaloupe, about three acres of peas and butter beans that we shell out, and about one acre of tomatoes each summer.”
With hard work being instilled in her at a young age, Cassebuam was bottle-feeding baby calves and helping out at the age of five.
“My father started his own part of the farm when he was 16, so that determination was passed down to my brother and I. That is why I have such a strong passion in Agriculture and always will.
FAVORITE STUDY SPOT ON THE HILL:
“The second floor of Comer Hall.”
WHERE DOES YOUR PASSION FOR AGRICULTURE LIE?
“I am passionate about every aspect of agriculture. It’s not only handwork and dedication that explains agriculture, but it is a source of livelihood and a backbone of our economic system. Agriculture is very important in our society today and I hope it continues to increase in such a way that is positive to farmers.”
FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS DEPARTMENT:
“My favorite thing about the Ag Econ department is knowing a lot of your peers, and being able to see them in some of your classes or getting them to help you in one of their previous classes that you are currently taking, but most importantly everyone is just as passionate as you are when it comes to Agriculture.”
ADVICE TO INCOMING STUDENTS:
“As a transfer student, I advise you all to become involved within your major, meet new people, gain knowledge and experience, and most of all don’t be afraid to stick yourself out there when the time is right.”
While at Auburn, he has been involved in the Agribusiness Club and is currently serving as an Ag Ambassador for the College of Agriculture.
Instead of taking the summer off to enjoy the sun and water on Lake Martin, Brady decided to expand his resume by working as an Assistant Teller and Intern at Farmers and Merchants Bank in Lafayette and Dadeville.
“It was a broad experience, so I got to learn many different things about banking,” Brady says. “I knew that I wanted to go into agricultural lending before starting the internship and getting to see many farmers come into the bank and talk to them about their operations was quite entertaining as well.”
FAVORITE PART ABOUT YOUR INTERNSHIP:
“My favorite part about the summer experience was getting to know customers and figuring out the whole loan process,” he shares. “I am pretty personable, as many can probably say about myself. This summer I got to meet many people which I love doing, while assisting them in any way that I could. I convinced a kid to play his guitar to the whole staff inside the bank one day, I got to talk about cars and trucks to many customers, and I even got a couple surprise visits from family and friends! Not knowing much about the loan process going into the summer internship, I came out with a different aspect of knowledge on giving out loans and processing them.”
MATT’S ADVICE FOR FUTURE INTERNS:
“As a Junior last year I talked to many different employers around the country about jobs and what different people are looking for out of an intern,” he says. “Many of the internships that I applied for wanted someone with experience. Well, my whole life I have worked at the family farm so that wasn’t anything that employers really wanted to see on a resume. As I got the same feedback from many people, I realized that I was looking in the wrong places and that I needed to step out of my comfort zone and do something that my future employers might like to see. Ag Economics does not require an internship in its curriculum, but I would consider one to all students no matter what major or what year you are. It is good to learn new things, new people, and new places.”
PLANS AFTER GRADUATION:
“My plans after graduation are up in the air, as many could probably say going into senior year,” Brady declares. “If I am not hired on with someone immediately after graduation, I will work on the same farm I have worked on my whole life. I have a couple of options up in the air at the moment, but I believe that the good Lord will lead me in the right direction after graduation in May.”
Agricultural Economics senior, Madeline Harrington is a native of Auburn, Alabama and a member of the Auburn Christian Student Center, an Ag Ambassador for the College of Agriculture and a group fitness instructor at the Recreation and Wellness Center on campus.
As her senior year approached, Harrington decided she didn’t want to spend her summer lying on the sandy beaches in Florida or traveling the world. This Auburn native spent her taking a Real Estate Course through John Rice Realty. While taking the course, Harrington worked in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology as a student advisor for incoming students and also served the College of Agriculture as an Ag Ambassador.
Harrington couldn’t have been more thrilled to take the Real Estate course this summer. “I was a blast,” she says. “I wanted to be involved in a field of work where I could work with different people from different paths of life, and since real estate is such a great asset, I will be able to help and reach out to all kinds of people.”
FAVORITE PART OF YOUR EXPERIENCE:
“My favorite part was getting to hear all of the knowledge and not just the classroom knowledge,” she says. “I was the youngest in a class of about 20 people, and I had the chance to hear so many stories from the older men and women in the class. I made lots of new friends, and gained a lot of knowledge I wouldn’t have otherwise.”
PLANS AFTER GRADUATION:
“My plan as of now is to continue gaining my education in real estate,” she says. “I hope to take the post license course and become a real estate agent somewhere.”
MADELINE’S ADVICE FOR STUDENTS:
“Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone,” Harrington shared. “Meet new people, gain knowledge, excel in your job but also know where your limits are. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Know when it’s time to step back and let someone else take the lead. Listen to your body, and know when you’re doing too much.”
Robert Ellis is a senior at Auburn University studying Agricultural Economics. This year, Ellis is serving as the Agribusiness Club’s president. Working on his third year at Auburn after transferring from a junior college, this North Carolina native can’t wait to begin his senior year.
As president of the Agribusiness Club, Ellis is responsible for the conducting all club meetings, maintaining contact with advisors and administrators, and serving as a spokesperson for the organization. In addition, the President is responsible for helping coordinate the club’s Agribusiness Tour as well as any fundraisers or philanthropy events the club may have.
“The Agribusiness Club is just in the beginning stages,” he says. “I hope that we can continue to increase involvement and have a positive impact on members.” He’s excited about what the upcoming year holds in store for the club and hopes to build on the club’s relationship with the College of Agriculture.
The Agribusiness Club is just one of the many clubs and organizations the College of Agriculture has to offer and is housing in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. Many of our club members are also Peer Mentors, Ag Ambassadors or student workers within the college.
“Getting involved in the Agribusiness Club or any organization is a great way for students to get an inside look at the industry,” he says. Ellis recommends getting involved and finding an organization that shares the same interests. “It will help you tremendously in your personal and professional endeavors.”
Jake Tucker is a junior studying Agricultural Business and Economics. After growing up as a 5th generation row crop and cattle farmer in Uriah, Alabama, Tucker is no stranger to the world of agricultural business.
While at Auburn, Tucker serves as the Auburn University Young Farmers president for the 2016-2017 academic year and is a member of the Agribusiness Club and Block and Bridle. Last year, he was the travel chair for the Agribusiness Club and played a large part in planning the Chicago Agribusiness Tour that several students took in May 2016.
After graduation, Tucker plans to return to the family farm to continue what his family started so many generations ago. “Returning to the farm is something I have always wanted to do,” he says. “Getting my education in Agricultural Business and Economics will only help me in the long run.”
FAVORITE STUDY SPOT ON AG HILL:
“The Comer computer lab.”
FAVORITE THING ABOUT THE AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS DEPARTMENT:
“Everyone takes the same classes and all of the upper classmen can offer insight into what to expect and what you need to know,” he shares.
JAKE’S ADVICE FOR STUDENTS:
“Introduce yourself to your teachers. If they know who you are, you will be able to benefit from them in the long run.”