Finding love of ag at Muscatine Community College

From Dr. Naomi DeWinter, Muscatine Community College President

Last week, one of our Agriculture faculty, Jayln Parker, was awarded the “Outstanding Advisor of the Year” from the national organization for Professional Agriculture students (PAS). I had a chance to catch up with Jayln and talk to her about this accomplishment.

Jayln has been teaching at Muscatine Community College since 2015. Returning as a faculty to MCC was one of her career goals. It’s at MCC that she got her start as a student.

“I thought I was going to be a music teacher”, Jayln told me, but life did not take that direction. “It was here at MCC that I decided I loved agriculture so much that I wanted to make it my career. And then I decided to make teaching agriculture my career.”

Jayln explained that the PAS organization provides students with opportunities to connect with professionals in the AG industry and practice technical and professional skills through competitions. All AG students at MCC are automatic members of the state-wide PAS chapter and many have gone on to compete at the state and national levels.

Jayln grew up on her family farm not too far from Muscatine. She brings her life experiences to her class every day.

“What my father taught me about human relations on the farm is still relevant today but I also have updated the curriculum since my time as a student here, to make it relevant for 2020,” Jayln explained.

“We take the time to get to know our students and what their personal goals are. The very first time we meet you, we ask, ‘What is it that you want to accomplish?’ and we will work to help you meet those goals. It might be all-organic production or being in sales or working in finance; we as instructors try to build you up to reach that goal.”

Having four internships, one in every semester, is a unique feature of the MCC program.

“The Ag industry has had a shortage of workers for quite some time now and we need more and more people to see themselves in this industry. The internships are not just a benefit to the students but they benefit the industry, the farmers and producers that we work with. They give people in the industry a first look at who will be hire-able and a good fit for their business.”

Our AG students are out on internships right now, working on farms to help with spring planting and AG businesses to get hands-on experiences, and will return to campus to finish up the semester. Faculty, such as Jayln Parker, are one of the reasons we consider AG one of our signature programs at MCC.

Know someone interested in AG? Send them my way and I’ll connect them with our outstanding AG faculty!

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