Ag Journeys

“Go. Do. Change.”

Kaylee (Kay) Smith

Hometown: Richwood, OH

Major: Agricultural and Biorenewable Systems Management

Minor: Entrepreneurship and Innovation Minor, Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE) cluster

Good at: Being a fancy barista, speed reading, making smores, baking, cooking, horseback riding, and doing puzzles.

Kaylee hiking

Happy Valley.

“My academic path is intense. Living in Happy Valley, right in the middle of the forests of Pennsylvania, is mental health medicine. I’m never farther than minutes from nature, and I live in a community that’s all about uplifting people.”

Kaylee with FFA jacket

FFA was a happy accident.

“I walked into my first high school FFA meeting thinking I was going to do an agribusiness project. They handed me a box of pest insects and told me to use references and start identifying them. At first, I was shocked, and I thought it was an accident. But I fell in love with it.”

Athlete, leader, bowler.

“I ran track and cross-country, and bowled. Yes, bowled. Also, I was valedictorian.”

“Curiosity is my superpower.”

Working in Kenya

Go do something about it.

“HESE is so much more than a minor. We imagine, design, troubleshoot, and field real solutions to real problems. Here is all the information we had on day one for my project: 

  • There’s this bird.
  • It’s a problem in Kenya.
  • Go do something about it.

From our research we learned that the quelea bird is destroying agriculture in Kenya. We devised a network of speakers that drive the quelea away and helped implement it, on the ground in Kenya. It has shown promise in turning a terrible situation around.”

“There is research here that will blow your mind.”

Three cows

Cows are like big dogs.

“I’ve been involved in several research projects in dairy science barns. Doing research, even research outside your area of interest, is an unbelievable way to learn. And being around cows is a great mental health boost. Cows are like big dogs.  They are escape artists. They are clowns. They are lovely, lovely animals.”

The Sustainable Lab Ambassadors.

Sustainable Lab Ambassadors.

“I’m working for a project called Sustainable Lab Ambassadors. We’re working to ensure that the very community responsible for innovation and safeguarding the future, the science community, is doing its part to be a sustainability role model. Labs that earn sustainability certification open doors for grants and funding that would otherwise be unavailable.”

Celebrating THON

I’m here to grow.

“I am not here just to get a degree. I’m here to network, discover, bump up against new ideas, and grow as a person.”

The bridge of sustainability.

“Business, management, policy, science, technology. When it comes to sustainability, I’m learning that cutting-edge ideas aren’t getting out to farmers in the field. I want to be that bridge.

Someday, when I’m at a corporate roundtable, when I’m asked if I’m a policy or science person, I will answer yes and yes.”