Posted: December 3, 2015

Recent graduate Darryl Blakey at home in our nation’s capital.

Photo credit: John Davis

Darryl Blakey didn't have the usual doubts freshmen have about choosing a major. For him, agriculture was his first choice—a dream he's had since high school.

While at Penn State, the May 2015 graduate participated in several extracurricular activities. He is the outgoing vice president of the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments, and he was the president of the Penn State chapter of MANNRS, a nonprofit organization that promotes the study of agricultural and natural resource sciences among ethnic minorities.

Blakey is passionate about efforts to increase diversity within the agriculture industry at large. “Most people would agree that increasing diversity is a goal in the agriculture industry. My question is, 'What can we do to change the statistics?'" he said.

Blakey responded to the challenge and returned to his alma mater, where he introduced high school students to Penn State's agricultural programs—an effort to make minority students aware of the opportunities in the agriculture industry.

Later, Blakey was selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Diversity Outlook Forum. After graduation, he worked for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association as a public policy and legislative intern. He is now a staff assistant for the Committee on Agriculture at the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C.

—Mariah Chuprinski