2013-2014 Fellows

Aaron Schoknecht

My name is Aaron Schoknecht and I am from Estacada, Oregon. Through my involvement in the Leadership Academy, I hope to grow in the areas of communication and teamwork. In the communication area I specifically want to improve my interpersonal communication skills and my ability to speak in groups. In the teamwork area I would like to improve my team motivation and team leader skills. My long-term career goal is to work at a large agribusiness company such as CHS Inc.  

I expect the Leadership Academy to enhance my experience at OSU by putting me in situations that I normally would not choose to be in. This will help me to now only grow as a student, but also as a person to help me be better prepared for life after college.  

I think that a leader is someone who takes responsibility whether it is for success or failure. They are good motivators and are someone who leads by setting an example of what they want the people they are leading to do. 

Catalina Coleman

I am Catalina Coleman, and I am from Hermiston, Oregon. I am a Junior studying Agricultural Sciences. Through participating in the Leadership Academy, hope to become more comfortable when I find myself in new situations, to expand my confidence in my speaking abilities and to be able to enunciate exactly what I am trying to say to others. By participating in the leadership academy, I can open doors, expand my network and find new ways to attack situations. In the future, I hope to eventually own and operate my own business within the Ag industry or help expand the family farm. 

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams

Brett Harrison 

My name is Brett Harrison and I am from Heppner, Oregon. I am a Junior studying Agricultural Business Management.  

Through my involvement in the Leadership Academy, I hope to gain personal growth improving my social and professional skills. I also hope to learn more about the type of leader and person I am with my involvement in the Leadership Academy.  

I expect the Leadership Academy to help me to network and create new relationships with students, and faculty at Oregon State University.  

A good leader is someone who leads by example and “walks the talk.” A good leader also doesn’t try to micromanage everything, they have to step back sometimes and allow the followers to make decisions. Finally, a good leader does not force options on anyone they have to almost advise in a strong manner.  

For the long-term, I plan on having a career in the agriculture industry, working as an Agronomist in the crop production industry, or owning and operating a wheat farming operation.

Brytann J. Busick 

My name is Brytann J. Busick and I am from Ferndale, California. I am a Junior studying Environmental Economics and Policy.  

I am an individual who constantly strives to pursue opportunities that will help me to better myself as an individual, increase my knowledge, and enable me to better pursue my personal and professional goals. The Leadership Academy is an opportunity that I feel would provide me with this kind of valuable experience. By participating in the Leadership Academy, I would hope to further develop my leadership and communication skills, increase my knowledge of the agriculture industry and leadership roles within it, and have support in developing professional relationships and connections by working with fellow Leadership Academy members, attending seminars, and by building a relationship and working with my mentor. This opportunity would enable me to better shape my future career goals and the path I need to be on to achieve them. 

I am certain the the Leadership Academy will help me to reach both my personal and professional goals because it will provide me with valuable opportunities to further my knowledge of the agriculture industry and careers within it, help me to make professional connects that could help me to further define what I would like to do for a career, and increase my leadership skills, communication skills, knowledge base which will make me more employable. I hope to gain new friendships and relationships within the leadership academy that will better my experience at Oregon State.  

Sometimes not knowing exactly what I would like to do for a career is very scary, however I know that by taking steps like being involved in programs like the Leadership Academy I am taking one step closer to discovering the career path I would like to embark on. That gives me confidence and assurance that I will be able to accomplish my goals and be successful in the future.

"A good leader inspires people to have confidence in the leader, a great leader inspires people to have confidence in themselves."  

The ideal leader must be passionate, dedicated, and committed to their cause or organization. They must always be encouraging and supportive of those who they lead in order to motivate them toward a common goal. I believe that a true leader must also be able to be a follower and work well within a team. 

My passion for agriculture and the environment has led me to pursue a career working within the agriculture industry as an environmental lawyer, an agriculture lobbyist, or within the environmental policy field. This is why I chose to major in Environmental Policy at Oregon State University. I am unsure which career field I intend to enter, as I am only a sophomore in college however, I am certain that I will pursue a graduate degree or a law degree upon graduation from OSU. I am confident that by pursuing opportunities, being open to new ideas, and working hard that I will be able to further define my career goals. 

Elijah Wilson 

My name is Elijah Wilson and I am from Cottage Grove, Oregon. I am a Junior studying Forestry.  

The areas in which I hope to grow while in the Leadership Academy are my ability to speak in front of people, to become more outgoing, and to be a better leader with whatever I am involved with. Also, to be able to do this with many different groups of people, such as Native Spanish speakers.  

One of the ways I expect the Leadership Academy to enhance my experience here at Oregon State University is to help me become more involved in activities within the university and the community.  By helping to build my confidence to be more involved and to give me the experience I need to become more of a leader in any organization I am involved with.   

A good leader needs to be able to look at the abilities of many different people and determine where their skill sets are and then be able to determine where those skills can be best utilized. Someone who is always clear headed in the most difficult of situations. A good leader is not someone who is always giving orders but instead explains what should be done so each individual person can become their own leader. Finally, a good leader is someone that can always be counted on, who will know what to do and if not can in an effective manner.   

My long-term career goals are to work towards a high-level leadership position in a wood products company that will also allow me to work on improved cookstoves in rural communities around the world.  The reason for this is because I really enjoy working in the wood industry and working with products that the wood industry makes. While interning in Nicaragua I had worked long hours with improved wood cookstoves and because of this experience I want to continue my work with wood cookstoves and be able to design new stove models. That I can then implement all around the world. I enjoy the wood industry and working with wood products, but I also want to help people around the world.  This is why I want to have a career that allows me to do both of these things.  

Emily Sykes 

My name is Emily Sykes and I am from Troutdale, OR. Through my involvement in the Leadership Academy, I hope to become well versed with leadership in a professional setting, as my previous experiences have been extremely informal. I also look forward to improving my involvement in the community beyond the university.  

My experience at Oregon State has been fairly one dimensional since I arrived two years ago, and I am excited to branch out more and gain additional perspectives with the Academy. Although all of the learning and experiences I have had so far have been wonderful so far, my hope is that the Leadership Academy can allow me to really make the most of my time at OSU. 

A good leader is not just in charge of others but is someone who is able to bring people together for a common purpose. Not only do leaders bring people together, but they let each person’s strengths shine in the process.  

My long-term career goal is to work in environmental policy making. I have always had a passion for the environment (thanks to my 6th grade teacher Mrs. O’Brien), and a talent for working with others. 

Eric Nygren

My name is Eric Nygren and I am from Dayton, Oregon. While in the Leadership Academy, I hope to be able to improve how I manage my time between academics, community involvement, and personal life. Currently, I feel this is not something I do as well as I should, and by utilizing the resources in the Leadership Academy, I believe I will be able to successfully manage my time. 

I expect that the Leadership Academy will enhance my experience at Oregon State University by providing numerous opportunities for me to become a leader, both on campus and off. In addition, I expect to learn how to think as successful leaders do when confronted with difficult situations. 

I believe a good leader, aside from being a decision-maker, should also be a good follower. If the group makes a decision that does not coincide with what the leader views as being the best decision, the leader should still be expected to follow the group’s decision and help them progress as much as possible, instead of hindering them. 

After graduation, I hope to become a Professional Engineer in the civil sector while also keeping my foot in the forestry industry.

Gabriella DeSimone 

My name is Gabriella DeSimoneand I am from Central Point, Oregon. I am a Junior studying Agricultural Business Management.  

Throughout the Leadership Academy I hope to become a more effective communicator, acquire the knack for delegating in a team setting, learn about different leadership techniques and styles, and be able to successfully implement them into a family business environment.  Although, this is my focus, I plan to continue exercising all areas of leadership in order to become a more balanced and well-rounded individual.  

In my opinion, leadership skills are one of the main factors that determine how successful a person can and/or will be.  I want to be the best me I can be, and I do not believe that can be accomplished if I do not continue to develop my leadership skills.  From what I have read and heard from past fellows, the Leadership Academy undoubtedly will improve my leadership skills.  Also, the mentorship that occurs throughout the year is one of the most invaluable experiences a student could have during their education at OSU.  I truly enjoy working and interacting with people, and I am constantly looking for ways to improve my efficiency in each situation.  All of the relationships I will gain throughout the year will be an advantage throughout the rest of my life.  I feel that I will continue to discover even more benefits to the Academy as time progresses.  It is evident the Leadership Academy will enhance my experience at Oregon State University by providing me the opportunity to build relevant industry relationships and improve my soft skills. 

A good leader is one, who possesses effective communication skills, has an abundance of passion for what they are doing, organized, thorough, able to delegate, confident, optimistic but realistic, and lifts those around him/her. I also believe a good leader is quick to build rapport with those he/she meets, by being genuinely sincere and accountable.      

After I I plan to dive into the business world with my degree in Agricultural Business Management and continue being active in entrepreneurial enterprises as well as my family's businesses.  Putting my business plan for 276 Cattle Company into action is one of my primary professional goals.  “Agvocation” and community involvement will also remain an important part of my life.   

Hannah You 

My name is Hannah You and I am from Portland, Oregon. I am a Junior studying BioResource Research. Through my involvement in the Leadership Academy, I hope to enhance my communication skills and verbalize my thoughts as effective as possible.  

I believe the Leadership Academy will enhance my experience at Oregon State University by giving me an opportunity to communicate with people who are dedicated and passionate about their field and future.  It will also give me an opportunity to improve my communication skills professionally.   

Confidence, good people skills, and communication skills make a good leader.  A good leader is able to organize his/her thoughts and verbalize it clearly.   

After I graduate Oregon State University, I want to do research in the biomedical field and/or go to a medical school to become a pediatrician.  I also want to join the Peace Corps.  

Jasmine Unrau 

My name is Jasmine Unrau and I am from Scio, Oregon. Through my involvement in the Leadership Academy, I hope to enhance my ability to effectively communicate my ideas and thoughts professionally and personally in a way that is clear and easy to understand. I also hope to gain leadership experience in all aspects, as well as learning more about my style of leadership and how to utilize it in a professional setting.  

I expect the Leadership Academy to give me the tools I will need to grow personally, educationally, and professionally. As well as the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone and experience things I wouldn’t have otherwise. 

To me, a good leader is any person that puts aside their personal motives to help others succeed, someone who works to set a positive example, and cares as equally about leading as they do about teamwork. A leader is an ordinary person doing extraordinary things simply because they can. 

My long-term career goal is to earn my master’s degree in Public Health with an emphasis on food and food systems, with the overall goal of teaching others about sustainability and sharing my love for Agriculture with those that don’t have the resources. I would love to travel and gain a larger perspective of the world we live in and about agriculture in different parts of the world to expand my understanding of the industry. Ultimately, I want to combine public health and agriculture and find something that allows us to support an industry that has been a part of my family for generations and continues to be a promise for the future. 

Jessica Budge 

My name is Jessica Budge and I am from Sherwood Oregon. I am a Senior studying Agricultural Sciences. Through the Leadership Academy, I am excited to gain new insight into leadership and further my personal development in all areas of my life. I specifically hope to improve my skills in media communications, learn communication tactics that will help me be successful in my future career, and learn how to build and maintain effective professional relationships.  

I am excited about being a member of the Leadership Academy Cohort! I know that this experience will augment my academic resume as a student. In addition, I am looking forward to the insight that I will gain from peers in the cohort and leaders to apply towards my current and future student leadership positions.  

Although styles of leadership vary tremendously, I believe that all leaders possess similar characteristics. These include: a strong work ethic, dedication, a vision for the future, good communication skills and integrity in whatever they are doing. Effective leaders are fast to ask for guidance and express gratitude easily.  

After graduation I hope to attend graduate school to study Agricultural Communications. After obtaining a master’s degree, I hope to work in Public Relations for the agricultural industry. Eventually, I may end up back in academia as an instructor or professor. Ultimately, I hope to achieve personal and career satisfaction by using my talents to transfer information from the agricultural producers and innovators into the hands of consumers and the general public.  

Kasey Erm 

My name is Kasey Erm and I am from Milton-Freewater, OR. I am a Junior studying Agricultural Business Management.  

My hopes for the Leadership Academy are that it will help me to communicate better with future employers and others. I also hope that the leadership Academy will open doors for me via industry contacts and my mentor.  

I expect the Leadership Academy to enhance my experience here at OSU by allowing me opportunities that the average student doesn’t receive. This experience will enhance my development of skills that are vital to post graduation life, like great communication skills, industry knowledge, industry contacts, and so much more.  

I am a leader because I am not afraid of a challenge. I am willing to take a risk, if it means a bigger return in the end. Along with facing challenges with courage and a strategic plan, I also am willing to look at the whole picture and the future outcomes of my current actions, which are skills a leader should possess.   

My career goals post graduations revolve around the crops sector of the agricultural industry. I would love to be employed by a company that advises farmers on which fertilizers, seeds, and other inputs to use during their farming practices.  

My name is Kelsie White and I am a Sophomore studying Agricultural Sciences. I am from Baker City, Oregon.  

As a member of the Leadership Academy, I hope to grow in my communication skills and be able to communicate more effectively with students, faculty, community members, and industry professionals. I also hope to grow in my time management skills.  

I believe I will have a greater experience at OSU through the Academy because I will have the opportunity to recognize my strengths and weaknesses and work on them, grow as a leader, and get involved with organizations I probably would not have pursued otherwise. 

I believe effective communication skills are key to being a good leader. A good leader should have the ability to communicate with many different groups of people. I also believe a good leader should always strive to be positive in all situations and encourage others. 

I plan to graduate with a bachelor’s in Agricultural Sciences and attend graduate school at Oregon State to obtain my master’s degree in Agricultural Education. After graduation I hope to become a high school Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor in a small rural school district where I can make an impact on students through my passion for agriculture.

Kristen Kaste 

My name is Kristen Kaste and I am from Tillamook, OR, I am a Senior studying Agricultural Science.  

Through the Leadership Academy, I hope to strengthen my soft skills, such as communication, and able be to clearly articulate my thoughts orally.  Also, I would like to become more organized, confident, and a better manager of conflict.   

The Leadership Academy will challenge me to step out of my comfort zone and take advantage of opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise.  It will beneficial by giving me a hands-on experience instead being taught about it a classroom.  Additionally, I hope to develop more relationships with professionals in the agriculture industry.  

I view a good leader as someone who is organized, on task, and a hard worker.  They create an enjoyable atmosphere, work with the group to determine goals, and help use the members’ strengths to benefit the group.  Furthermore, the leader sees themselves as part of the group but is not afraid to take charge and deal with conflict.  

Agriculture education is something I am extremely passionate about. I would love to teach children and/or adults about where their food and shelter comes from and clear up any misconceptions that they may have.  

Rozalyn Patrick  

My name is Rozalyn Patrick and I am from Sutherlin, Oregon. I am a Sophomore studying Environmental Economics and Policy. My long-term career goal is to practice environmental law, while also working as a motivational speaker. I hope to encourage and uplift young people.  

Through my involvement in the Leadership Academy, I hope to become a polished student, graduate or law school applicant and job prospect. My goal is to become someone who has spectacular time management skills and can convey my opinions and ideas in a concise manner.   

The Leadership Academy will enhance my experience at OSU because I will begin to develop those soft skills often not taught in the classroom employers or Universities are looking for. Also, I will gain a support system that will continually challenge me to become a better person.   

A good leader is someone who can take a step back to let others lead, listen and leads by example. Someone who naturally arises to the occasion and can utilize what each individual has to offer. 

Samuel Delano 

My name is Samuel Delano and I am from Junction City, Oregon. I am a Junior studying Forestry. Through being involved with the Leadership Academy, I hope to grow my understanding of working with different personalities along with my ability to communicate with those individuals. I would also plan on building upon my pre-existing leadership traits that I have gained through real life applications. I would love to learn better time management skills and task completion skills.  

I expect that the Leadership Academy will force me to branch in to areas of weakness that are discovered by my peers and myself. I hope to build a larger network on young professionals in the industry and learn more through giving back to my community.  

I think that a good leader is someone who can listen to an individual or a group, establish what is being communicational, and help to determine a solution. A good leader knows when to ask for help and has developed a cadre of individuals that can be called upon when the need arises. A good leader can also learn from their mistakes.  

For my future career, I would like to be working in an upper management position employed by a company in the forest products sector.  I also will be managing my hop farm and potentially entering the craft brewing market with a small brewery. 

Samuel Mertz 

My name is Samuel Mertz and my hometown is Clackamas, OR. I am a Junior studying Food Science and Technology. Specific areas that I hope to grow in from Leadership Academy includes becoming a better public speaker in a professional setting, like in interviews, group meetings, and conversing with other employees. 

I expect that the Leadership Academy will enhance my experience at Oregon State University by building a network with other students in the college of agriculture and not just within my program of Food, Science, and Technology. This will familiarize myself with other individuals I may need to contact after graduation.

There are many characteristics that can make a good leader. Some that I feel are important are being personable, adaptable, and being driven towards goals. 

My long-term career goals include working my way up in ranks in a brewery to eventually have enough knowledge and experience to start my own brewery.

Tyler Knapp 

My name is Tyler Knapp and I am from Corvallis, Oregon. From the Leadership Academy, I hope to become a better communication and to improve my ability to lead effectively in group settings. With everything that goes on at Oregon State, it is easy to become trapped inside a discrete academic bubble. My home is that the Leadership Academy will help me to expand my network outside traditional academic groups and experience learning throughout a broader range of topics within the College of Agricultural Science and Oregon State University as a whole.  

A good leader is a person that can always command the respect of their group; for instance, someone that is not afraid to take responsibility for the shortcomings of his or her team, but that always gives the credit to others in time of success. A good leader is able to respond well to adversity and rally their team for successful completion of their project.  

For my future career, I would like to teach and do economic research at the university level. 

Wes Brown 

My name is Wes Brown and I am from Bend, Oregon. I am a Sophomore studying BioResource Research. Through the Leadership Academy, I would like to learn to be a more influential leader and develop my skills at leading small groups. I expect that the Leadership Academy will add more depth to my learning experience and allow me to integrate with the community more and really make a worthwhile contribution to my personal growth and the community. I believe a good leader has to lead by example. Actions speak louder than words, and everybody is watching your reactions and behaviors as a leader. People want to follow a leader that they see as respectful and has integrity. My long-term career goal is to go to med-school and become a neurosurgeon.