Interned at Cargill AgHorizons (2013); AgCareers.com (2012); University of Illinois ACES Advancement Office (2011-2014); National Soybean Research Laboratory (2011)
Student taught at Waterloo High School
Middle School Agricultural Science Teacher and FFA Advisor
As a middle school agricultural science teacher, Mark McKown is always able to try new things. He uses skills he learned in the Ag Ed Department to teach two 9 week classes on various agricultural topics. In teaching, he is able to experience the same hands-on learning as his students, and he enjoys being able to interact with students in both formal and informal education settings. In his first few years of teaching, he especially emphasizes reflecting on the teaching methods he used and what was the most effective in his classroom.
The University of Illinois prepared him for this job by fostering a sense of collaboration in all aspects of his job. From day to day, he might find himself working with 7th grade students on conservation practices and then working alongside University of Illinois county Extension directors. In working with others, he is able to create high-quality, meaningful experiences for his students and community.
While he was a student at the University of Illinois, Mark was involved in almost every facet of the College of ACES. He was a member of Farmhouse Fraternity, Agriculture Education Club, Alpha Tau Alpha Illinois Chapter, Field and Furrow Club, University of Illinois Black Chorus, Student Advancement Committee, and ACES Council. He was also able to volunteer as an intern in Africa for an entire summer. While he was involved in all of these activities, he says the greatest part of his University of Illinois experience was the network of people who supported him at every step of the way. He says, “From students to faculty, I was surrounded by individuals who drove me to success by encouraging me to take on experiences within my major to experiences halfway around the globe. Meeting different people and new connections redefined my future and goals I was setting for myself.”
Mark says that the University of Illinois creates a lifelong appreciation for higher education. “While in Ag Education in the College of ACES, you have the opportunity to become unforgettable, and the U of I will support you. If you make connections, reach out to new areas that you aren’t familiar, take on leadership roles- you too can become a confident professional that isn’t worried about what will happen in the future, because you are an Illini and you can make anything happen in the present.”