Learning Without Leaving Home
Friday, May 27, 2022
Media Contact: Jami Mattox | Agricultural Communications Services | 405-744-8061 | firstname.lastname@example.org
A promise to her late father brought Kristin Weaver back to Oklahoma State University in 2017 to finish her degree in the Ferguson College of Agriculture.
Weaver began her educational experience studying agribusiness in 1999 but did not graduate. Instead, after six semesters, she left school and cultivated a career in industrial sales.
Ten years later, Weaver married and then returned to her hometown of Bristow, Oklahoma.
“There was always something missing, like unfinished business, nagging at me that I needed to get a degree,” Weaver said. “But at that point, I was married with a family, working, and helping my dad with the ranch. My dad was aging and encouraged me to finish my degree.”
In a Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association magazine, she saw a small article written by Bill Weeks about a new OSU Agricultural Leadership Online Degree Completion Program. The article caught her attention because she knew if she wanted to finish her degree, it had to be through an online program, Weaver said.
“I knew I wanted my degree to come from OSU,” Weaver said. “I wanted a degree in agriculture, and I knew I couldn’t leave my life in Bristow. I contacted Weeks, and next thing I knew I was enrolled in the program.”
Weaver started in the AGLE program in the Fall 2017 semester. She said her dad was excited she was back in school — especially at OSU where he earned his degree in business with a minor in agriculture in 1954.
Through the challenges, Weaver upheld her promise, even after her father died.
“The online agricultural leadership degree completion program is designed for people who want to finish a degree, but physically can’t come to campus,” said Lauren Cline, OSU agricultural leadership assistant professor. “There are students from all over the country pursuing a degree in agricultural leadership.”
Weaver was part of the first group of 12 students who enrolled in the program in 2017, Cline said.
The current group has 36 students with varied backgrounds actively participating in the program, she said.
“I was able to choose the classes I wanted to take and take them on my own time while still feeling like I was on campus,” Weaver said.
“Even though the program was online, I knew the other students. We worked together on different projects.”
Through the program, Weaver made valuable connections, allowing her to have an internship at Land Scout as a working student, she said. This led her to her current job as the southwest region industrial representative for Washington Mills, a fused minerals manufacturing company, she added.
In addition to her work, Weaver manages two of her family’s ranches and stays involved in the community, she said.
She also serves as the president of the Bristow Rotary Club, is a member of the Creek County Cattlemen’s Association, and assists with the Bristow Retail Merchants Association. She also volunteers with several rural economic development programs in her community.
Using her AGLE training, Weaver is better able to serve her community, said Matt Smith, Bristow Rotary Club secretary. The skills she learned in the program allow her to implement leadership practices in her various roles.
“The Rotary Club is near and dear to my heart,” Weaver said. “We strive to uphold the values and beliefs put forth by Rotary International.”
As a Rotarian, Weaver volunteers with food banks and toy drives, and helps her community in many facets.
The last initiative she worked on was planting a variety of wildflowers around the Bristow City Park and Lake, Weaver said. A sign by the wildflowers will serve as an educational reference for the Bristow community to visit and learn, she added.
“The motto for the Rotary Club is ‘Service Above Self,’” Smith said. “Kristin upholds the motto in everything she does, especially when she is involved in her community.”
Weaver said she uses what she learned through OSU to educate others about leadership roles and to advocate for the agricultural industry. She also likes being “like the rest of her family,” all of whom earned degrees at OSU.
“Being able to say I went back to finish my degree makes me proud,” Weaver said. “I now have a degree in agricultural leadership, and I wouldn’t want my degree to come from anywhere else except OSU.”
Story By: Lily Gisclair | Cowboy Journal