Alumna learns that people are valuable part of agriculture equation
A typical day for Cassella Slater is anything but ordinary.
The 2014 animal and poultry sciences graduate works in Ghana as an AgriCorps member teaching 4-H skills to kids in her village. In the communities where AgriCorps operates, members serve as teachers, agriculture extension officers, and 4-H advisors, using agriculture as a mode for teaching life and livelihood skills. Slater uses classroom techniques, such as group discussion and employing a chalkboard to disseminate information, but she also incorporates the 4-H motto, “learning by doing.”
She regularly takes her class out into the garden where students have started a compost pit and sowed seeds for a germination test.
“So far, the biggest thing I feel I have accomplished is the impact I have made on the students,” said Slater. “They have established goals for their club that are inspiring yet achievable. Some of the students have even started gardens at home, taking what they have learned in school and 4-H and applying it to an entrepreneurial project of their own.”
Among the many ways that the college prepared her for her experience in Africa was the leadership, organizational, time management, and teamwork skills she developed through events and groups such as Youth Swine Day, the Block and Bridle Club, and the Equestrian Club.
“I learned to work with a variety of people and came to understand that even if everything does not go as planned, it does not mean a project failed, only that you can learn even more from the experience,” she said.
Perhaps another lesson Slater has learned is that the people, not her tools, are the most significant part of being an agriculture teacher.