My name is MaKayla Gross and I am from Sanford, North Carolina. I am currently a rising senior at North Carolina State University (GO PACK!) majoring in Agriculture Business Management while also minoring in Crop Science and Leadership in Agriculture and Life Sciences. As a rural farm kid, the road to NCSU was filled with lots of trails and tribulations. Just as most people would feel after not getting accepted into their dream school right after high school – I was heartbroken. Through the guidance of my local county extension agent, my parents and many talks with God, I was offered to participate in the STEAM program at NCSU. STEAM (Student Transfer Enrollment Advising and Mentoring) is a program that makes higher education more accessible for rural students. STEAM was also my saving grace.
As a first generation college student, I feel especially privileged and grateful to attend such a prestigious institution such as North Carolina State University. NCSU has continued to open so many doors and opportunities for me. In fact, I recently just got back from a study abroad program to Oaxaca, Mexico where I studied sustainability in emerging countries. While there, I became exposed to the geographical, biological and agricultural diversity in Oaxaca. I had the opportunity to visit an organic coffee farm, a permaculture farm, released baby sea turtles back into the ocean, went swimming in bioluminescent waters, explored ancient civilizations, as well as so much more. The picture featured below is a field of Agave plants which is used to produce Mezcal and Tequila.
This summer, I have the pleasure of going back and forth between the Ellerbe, Siler City, and Carthage branches of Carolina Farm Credit. Being exposed to these various branches has allowed me to see how different people do different things. I have noticed that no one office is the same. Over the last three weeks, I have tour multiple Iredell county farms, overviewed the process of a loan from start to finish, accompanied a loan officer on farm visits, and attended multiple loan closings. Every branch has welcomed me into their families and into their hearts. It is wonderful to work in an environment full of faith, family and fun.
To read more about Carolina Farm Credit, our members and the ag industry, check out issues of our Leader magazine—you can read them online.
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