Jacob chose to pursue a major in Agricultural Education because Ag Ed is “a tremendous chance to combine three of my passions; youth, agriculture and education. Our world today needs educators in all sorts of fields beyond the classroom, and agriculture is in need of quality voices who can speak up for what our industry is all about. As an agricultural educator, I will raise awareness about the issues facing our industry and our world; climate change, a growing global population, GMO safety and more.” His favorite part of studying Agricultural Education at the University of Illinois is “being able to learn about how people learn and think. Educational and learning theories are phenomenal. These theories can and should be maximized in all industries. Imagine how much better things would be if your doctor, banker, grocer and even your auto mechanic were all educators.” He also enjoys “being a part of a world class institution where I can challenge myself to grow in new ways, all with the support and understanding of a fantastic Ag Ed program staff.”
Jacob has been actively involved in several organizations in high school and college that continue to help shape his future career preparation. In high school, Jacob maintained SAEs in the areas of Agricultural Communications and Agricultural Education. He also had SAEs with his vegetable, herb, and flower garden. Although he is the first generation of his family removed from the farm, he still plans to seek an active life in agriculture. Jacob is also an advocate for Special Olympics, in addition to many other community service and service learning activities. He has held leadership positions in several on-campus organizations, some of which include Collegiate Farm Bureau (Public Relations Executive), Collegiate FFA (Reporter), and Ag Ed Club (Reporter/President).
Jacob enjoys reading, listening to podcasts, traveling, working on youth leadership development and keeping up with news and politics. He also loves cooking/grilling, and indulges in his adventurous side by storm chasing across the country. His videos and photos have been featured in many local, regional and national publications including the New York Post, Des Moines Register, the Weather Channel and WGN. Jacob’s work experiences include internships with SADD National, several agricultural education programs (intern at Lincoln Community High School, IL; Signal Knob Middle School, VA; and student teaching at Orion High School, IL), and the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at UIUC. He also has worked as a Washington Leadership Conference and 212/360 Conference Facilitator for National FFA and is currently interning with WCIA 3 News in the meteorology department. Jacob is also currently working on starting a leadership development business and founding a non-profit called Radios for Residents.
Jacob’s advice for other students is to always serve others while looking at leadership from outside the box. “Great leaders don’t follow the status quo; they create a vision and then put it into action. They find and analyze problems all to find solutions in unique and creative ways. As a university student, challenge yourself to grow as a leader in ways you’ve never thought about. Be bold and courageous in finding ways to advance your leadership skills at the University of Illinois all while always remembering to find ways to serve others and make a difference in their lives."