My Story

Posted: November 22, 2013

Frank shares his journey through Ag Sciences.
The Ag Advocates gather round for another meeting.

The Ag Advocates gather round for another meeting.


It’s funny how the smallest event can do so much. One night, during my sophomore year, as I perused my e-mails, I checked out the Ag Sci Student News. I noticed a little link that read, “Join the Ag Advocates!” So I looked… I had only a vague idea of who these people were, but wanted to learn more. Apparently they were taking applications for students who would represent the college through the group. Well, that seemed pretty cool to me. Still, I hadn’t been involved with much in the college, and was afraid they wouldn’t want someone with so little experience. I hadn’t wanted to be bogged down with extracurriculars like in high school, and now I thought that’d work against me.

I was welcomed to check out the Ag Advocates at a Tuesday meeting, and there I met some of the members. They were a friendly, laid-back bunch, and yet it seemed like they had a lot on their plate. I was intrigued--the fact that their workload didn’t even seem to faze them was impressive and refreshing.

Still, I wondered if the activity was for me. Until our “Boss” (and she is a boss in the fullest modern sense), Marianne Fivek, noticing my shirt, greeted me with, “You went to the same high school as me?!” She  made me feel welcomed, including me in the group although I wasn’t a member yet, and clearly had a heartfelt passion for what she did. I took these things as sign enough to stick with it. (That's Marianne in the photo below.)


A few weeks later, I went to be interviewed by a big board of people in the Food Science Building. I was intimidated, but I smiled. If I flubbed my words, at least they’d know I don’t bite. Apparently the Fates turned for me at that meeting, because Whittney Trueax, one of the interviewers, took interest in my background and English minor (which became a second major after this internship), and after another application, I became both the Ag Advocate and Ag Sci writer I am today.

Through Ag Advocates, I not only got to serve the college directly, but I also experienced the backstage view of the college that few get the chance to see or appreciate. With this challenging internship, I (hopefully) became a better writer. And it’s not only opened more doors, such as my upcoming internship at Farm Show, but I’ve had a great time! And I’ve met great people along the way (shout out to Jess Moldofsky--check out her stories; they’re way better than mine). But seriously, we Ag Advocates hang on weekends, and the amiable adults assisting the group treat us as equals. I wouldn’t trade these things for all the farm fields in the world.

Jess and Frank

My point here is only that paths such as the one I’ve taken are accessible to anyone! It’s not about luck or networking. It’s about making real connections with others and seeing where they’ll take you.

Penn State doesn’t have to end with graduation.