Courtney Walker is a 2014 Agricultural Education & Leadership graduate from the University of Missouri. After college, she followed her passion for food and agriculture to begin a career in agricultural sales. Courtney said her career aspirations have always related to feeding the world, and she was excited about her potential impact on feeding the world by working for a prominent agricultural corporation. "But I later discovered that I wanted to shift my focus to work with youth programs," she explained. A career as an agriculture teacher will allow her to address both agricultural topics and youth development. "Instead of feeding the world, my new aspiration is to equip students, the future of agriculture, to feed and lead the world."
Now, Courtney works as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Illinois Agricultural Education Department while pursuing her master's degree and teaching licensure. "I have only been a part of this program for a few weeks," she said, "and already I can sense the close-knit atmosphere of this learning community. It's fun to watch how my peers, our instructors, and the undergraduate students all work together and care about one another. It's a great place to work and to learn!"
Courtney and her husband, Tim, live in Atwood, IL, where they are actively involved with their Church and its youth programs. The Walker family has farmed in the Atwood area for over a century. "I love being a part of a farming family," she said. "I hope to help my students, either directly tied to a farm or not, realize how much need the world has for leaders in farming, both locally and abroad." Courtney's advice for students is: "Let your instructors care about you. If you let them invest in you, you'll make some of the strongest connections of your life to carry with you as you jump into your future."