From students to faculty, I was surrounded by individuals who drove me to success, encouraging me to take on experiences within my major to experiences halfway around the globe.
As a middle school agricultural science teacher, Mark McKown is always able to try new things. He uses skills he learned in the U of I ag education 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. He especially emphasizes using his first few years of teaching to reflect on the teaching methods he used and what was most effective in his classroom.
The University of Illinois prepared Mark for his teaching job by fostering a widespread sense of collaboration. He might find himself working with 7th graders on conservation practices one day and alongside U of I Extension county directors the next. Working with others helps him create high-quality, meaningful experiences for his students and community.
While a student at the U of I, Mark was involved in many facets of the College of ACES. He was a member of Agriculture Education Club, Alpha Tau Alpha Illinois Chapter, Field and Furrow Club, Student Advancement Committee, ACES Council, and FarmHouse fraternity. He also got to volunteer as an intern in Cape Town, South Africa for an entire summer. In all of these activities, Mark says, the greatest part was the network of people who supported him at every step.
“From students to faculty, I was surrounded by individuals who drove me to success, encouraging me to take on experiences within my major to experiences halfway around the globe,” Mark says. “Meeting different people and making new connections redefined my future and the goals I was setting for myself.”