Some people dream about making a difference in the world. Some dream about
traveling to distant lands. I dream of both, which is partly why, for the last
two and a half years, I’ve dreamed of being selected to participate in AgrIInstitute’s
Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program (ALP).
Danica Kirkpatrick is a friend and colleague within the College
of Agriculture. Her ALP nomination, application and acceptance were my first
exposure to the program, but watching her journey made me long to walk the same
The dream became more vivid as I learned about the program’s professional
development and service orientation. I also found out
that many of my role models from all facets of the agricultural industry were
ALP graduates. The program seemed so pivotal to helping me become the
professional I hope to be in an industry for which I have a deep-seated passion.
As the daughter of farmers, agriculture is so much more than my professional
focus — it’s a way of life. I saw many springs from the cab of a tractor,
summers from the barn lot washing 4-H steers and fall
harvests from the passenger seat of the combine.
Growing up to earn a living as an agricultural editor and writer is a path
better and more meaningful than I ever imagined. That’s why the desire to
participate in the Indiana Agricultural Leadership Program gripped me so
tightly. Being the best professional I can be for the agricultural industry is
I had been through the rigorous application process, including an essay,
supervisor and spouse support documents, recommendation letters, and a 90-minute
interview. I left the interview hopeful and feeling like it had gone well, but
the 10-day wait to find out whether I’d been accepted was grueling. When I
finally opened my mailbox and saw the letter with AgrIInstitite emblazoned in
green across the top left corner, my heart skipped a beat.
I took a deep breath, then I ripped open that envelope faster than I’ve ever
opened a piece of mail in my life. There it was, in bold, black letters:
“CONGRATULATIONS! You have been selected to participate in the Indiana
Agricultural Leadership Program (ALP) Class 16.”
I had the same feeling in 1991. I was selected for Ohio State University LEAD Class IV. It was a 60 day intensive leadership study that took us all over Ohio, California and Western Europe. It changed my life forever. Some of the class members are still my closest and dearest friends.
If you ever get such an opportunity, take it.