My senior year of high school, my dad stumbled across a link for an agriculture scholarship on the Agriculture Future of America website. At the time, I did not understand how much that application would dictate my professional career. When I was selected for the scholarship, I realized that I was required to also attend AFA Leaders Conference, a weekend conference where the top college student with a passion for agriculture build upon their professional skills and build on connections within the industry. Now having attended three conferences, I can attribute all of my success in my professional life to the skills learned and connections made within AFA. I believe that every Sigma Alpha sister would benefit from the opportunities AFA provides. While there are countless reasons to send in an application, these five I find most applicable.
Sigma Alpha is a great way to make and practice professional soft skills. However, I remember being completely lost on the right clothes to wear and what exactly my potential employers wanted to see in a resume. AFA Leaders Conference helps build upon those soft skills Sigma Alpha teaches. Delegates learn skills relevant to where they are in their professional journey, whether it be how to craft a good elevator speech or how to negotiate a salary.
Leaders Conference is a great way to make connections with both peers and professionals. Delegates are constantly put in situations with leaders in the agriculture industry. After three years of attending, I now have connections at countless organizations and businesses, some I may have never considered reaching out to if it were not for AFA. Being a setting filled with other college students, some of the pressure of networking is relieved as everyone is in the same boat.
3. Meet Other Sisters
AFA selects the top students with a passion for agriculture, so it comes as no surprise that Sigma Alpha sisters are selected to attend conference. Each year, I have had the opportunity to meet sisters from chapters across the country, as well as bond with my own chapter’s sisters.
4. Resume Builder
While there are many professional opportunities in college, none compare to Leaders Conference. AFA holds weight with many of their partners, which can help you stand out in a pool of applicants.
5. Passion for Agriculture
Sigma Alpha sisters come together over a common passion: agriculture. This is the same for AFA. My favorite part of meeting other delegates is learning about their passion for agriculture. It looks quite different for each and every one of us. Being able to share this passion with fellow leaders helps give a sense of inspiration and drive that we call the “AFA high,” which translates into passion back on your own campuses. Leaders Conference can help give you the push you need to achieve your biggest goals in your chapter.
I am forever grateful that I have had the opportunity to attend Leaders Conference and suggest any sister with a passion for agriculture and a call to lead to apply. Scholarship applications are due March 17 and can be found here.