Ten agriculture students from Missouri State University-West Plains attended the Missouri Professional Agricultural Student (PAS) Organization’s annual conference Nov. 15-17 at Crowder College in Neosho.
While there, they competed in contests related to their knowledge of agriculture, career preparedness and employment interview skills. They also took advantage of opportunities to network with potential employers and attended seminars on career development.
Officers for the state chapter were elected, and Jarod Coatney, West Plains, was elected reporter.
Lyndsey Parker, Salem, placed first in a very competitive public speaking contest.
In the career specialists contests, which evaluate the students’ knowledge in specific areas, Haden Garrett, West Plains, placed first and Bryce King, Alton, placed fourth in equine science. In livestock production, Patricia Evins, Moody, placed fourth. In agricultural education, Vanessa Kirkwood, Houston, placed fourth, and Coatney fifth.
Career planning contests evaluate first-year students’ efforts in researching their chosen careers, interviewing people employed in those careers, and mapping out the steps it takes to become gainfully employed in those areas.
Kirkwood placed first and Megan Bever, Licking, placed fourth in agriculture education. Sean Loughridge, Licking, placed fourth in livestock production.
Career progress contests demonstrate the progress second- and third-year students have made in implementing the plans they developed as first-year students. In addition, these students are challenged to use their critical thinking skills to evaluate and apply an emerging technology to their chosen career field.
Missouri State-West Plains students excelled in these tests, with Parker winning the agribusiness category, Evins winning the ruminant animal systems category, Coatney winning the agricultural education systems category, and Rae Kirkwood, Houston, placing fourth in the agricultural education systems category.
Garrett placed third in the non-ruminant systems category, and Douglas Cooley, Plato, placed fourth in the natural resource systems category.
The employment interview contest evaluates a student’s ability to craft a cover letter, resume and employment application, as well as an in-person interview with a potential employer.
Parker placed first in agribusiness administration, and Evins placed first and Loughridge fourth in livestock production.
Other top four placings included Cooley in forestry and natural resources, Garrett in feed and animal health, and Vanessa Kirkwood in agricultural education systems.
All 10 students attending the state convention placed high enough in one or more contests to qualify for competitions at the National PAS Convention set for March 2019 in Loveland, Colorado.