Teaching from Experience

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For Allison Meadows, versatility is key to being a good educator.

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Allison Meadows
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Allison MeadowsIf you ask Allison Meadows what makes a good agriculture teacher, she’ll tell you it’s passion, leadership and life experience. Meadows, who has wanted to teach agriculture since her freshman year in high school, and who is pursuing her master’s in Agricultural Education, has all three.

Although she did not grow up in a family with an agricultural background, Meadows’ mother moved the family to rural Oregon when she was 10. Meadows learned how to raise pigs, and got motivated to join FFA with her friends. Her high school mentor, Marlene Mensch (also an Oregon State alumna), was a major influence on her.

“Marlene introduced me to things you can do in agriculture besides livestock, like horticulture. She motivated me to get into public speaking,” says Meadows. “I thought, ‘I can do that, too.’ I like to share my passion with others. It drove me to teaching.”

While working toward her bachelor’s degree, Meadows spent time in livestock judging, but during her junior year at Oregon State, she did something unconventional: She went out for the OSU rowing team. “I wanted to prove to others that I could do something different,” she says. “It was really intense. But the more experiences you can bring to your students, the better teacher you’ll be. Rowing does that.” 

Meadows will have no shortage of experiences to bring to her students to complement rowing. This year she served as an ambassador for Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resources, and she has been the editor for New Fields, a student agricultural publication. The agricultural leadership class she took with Dr. Jonathan Velez also gave Meadows insight into the kind of leader she was – outgoing and energetic.

“The General Agriculture and Agricultural Education programs at Oregon State are putting professionals out into the field,” Meadows says. “You feel very at home here, and know that you can do what you want to do.”