I am the agriculture instructor at the Barnwell County Career Center located in Blackville, S.C. I teach approximately 120 tenth through twelth graders about forestry, animal science, veterinary science, wildlife, aquaculture, and agriculture technology. I also advise the FFA chapter which provides students with a variety of leadership and career development opportunities. Our largest FFA event currently is the annual 2-day SC High School Rodeo in March, which is attended by over 1000 people. We also manage local wetlands for wildlife, monitoring the wood duck population in cooperation with the SC Dept. of Natural Resources.
There are many great memories from Clemson, but some of my truly most favorite occurred each year during football season. Standing in the stadium preparing to watch the tigers run down the hill and later standing to sing the alma mater following the game are both moments that give me chills. I grew up attending Clemson games with my family, but it never meant so much until I became a student at Clemson. Today, it means even more as I bring my own children into the stadium. It's not the football that makes it so special. It's standing in a large structure with so many people who you know feel the same way, many bearing the same prize Clemson ring that you do as a Clemson graduate. There is truly such a thing as the "Clemson Experience" and the Fall at Clemson is just awesome. I do recall riding in a John Deere tractor through the First Friday parade following behind the Kappa Sigma Kudzu Kids as another great Fall moment that just doesn't happen at every college in America. One other great memory of Clemson during the Fall is working day and night to build the Alpha Gamma Rho Homecoming Float. I went to bed at 3 AM only to return to Bowman Field at 6am to see the float's moving parts in action for the judges.
The friendships, networking connections, and hands-on farm experiences that I gained during Clemson are the items that most prepared me for my career. Being active in the Block and Bridle Club and Ag Mech Club built upon my leadership skills and provided travel opportunities and experiences in agriculture. Working at the beef cattle farm and the horse farm gave me hands-on learning opportunities that I now use everyday to teach my students about animal science, as well as, take care of my own livestock.
When I need help in my classroom, I have plenty of resources to turn to - friends who are veterinarians, financial experts, ag production sales reps and engineers, lawyers, game wardens, foresters, etc.
I wish I had taken classes in even more areas learning as much as I could about agriculture. It wasn't until I began working on my masters at Clemson that I realized how much more there was to learn. In my career area, having more experiences in the many aspects of agriculture helps to better inspire youth to pursue agricultural careers.
Mindy currently serves as the Secretary for the CAFLS Alumni Board. Through her teaching, Minday works with various recruiting and student enrichment programs in the college to expose young people to the careers the college offers. Mindy lives on a farm with her husband and two children.