Emmanuel Bankston

Emmanuel graduated Clemson with a degree in Agriculture Education. He now works in New Orleans, Louisiana in the grain export industry. Read more about Emmanuel's time at Clemson and what he does today below!

How did you choose Clemson?

During high school, I was in FFA, 4-H, and Farm Bureau.  I also spent a lot of time on my grandfather’s farm.  As I worked in these programs, I knew that I needed to seek a higher education at South Carolina’s Land Grant Institution.Emmanuel Bankston headshot image in his office.

How did you choose your major?

I chose Ag Ed because of my love for agriculture and leadership. After visiting with the passionate professors and adviser at Clemson CAFLS, I knew Agricultural education was for me.  I wanted to be an agriculture teacher and inspire young lives; the same way my agriculture teacher influenced me. This major offered a lot of options in the agricultural field from management to teaching and everything in between.

What is the most important lesson or experience you had in college?

As I look back at my wonderful years at Clemson I realized that my life changed the moment I became a Tiger.  The most memorable things I learned came from the many people I met. I had many opportunities to meet people while a student employee at the University beef unit and at industry meetings and conventions.  Most of my mentors are people that I met and became close friends with at Clemson; they all prepared me for life in the real world.

How did your education at Clemson prepare you for your career path?

My education at Clemson prepared me in many ways for my career as a grain elevator plant superintendent for Archer Daniel Midland Company. I manage about 15 employees and handle operations. Many of my classes provided me with an in-depth knowledge of the ag industry through hands-on learning through labs and projects. Specifically, traveling the country with my Beef Production lab provided unparalleled access to information. Today, the knowledge I gained at Clemson allows me to learn and communicate within the export grain industry as well as understand the crops that my team and I help feed the world with.

What advice do you have for current students or alumni hoping to pursue a career in your field?

 My advice is to always give 100%, treat others with kindness, and soak in everything around you.  Especially, do not be afraid to get your hands dirty and make mistakes. Get outside of your comfort zone, take chances, and learn all you can from opportunities such as internships and co-ops.  Be involved with campus organizations to enhance your leadership skills.  Ag employers are looking for leaders with the ability to learn and adapt with a strong work ethic and problem-solving skills.  All of these skills tend to come naturally after four years at Clemson University.

What is the most significant thing that's happened to you since graduating?

The most significant thing that has happened to me since graduating is moving to the New Orleans, Louisiana area. Being involved in the Grain Export Industry requires immense responsibility, but also provides rewarding times.  I challenge current students to grasp each moment of college life and cherish the friends you make at Clemson. 

This has been edited for length and clarity.