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Bayne selected to attend USDA student diversity program

Oklahoma State University’s Nicole Bayne, a junior agribusiness, pre-law student from Bakersfield, California, was recently selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program in Arlington, Virginia.
Bayne selected to attend USDA student diversity program

Nicole Bayne

Oklahoma State University’s Nicole Bayne, a junior agribusiness, pre-law student from Bakersfield, California, was recently selected to participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture Outlook Forum Student Diversity Program in Arlington, Virginia.

Bayne was nominated for this elite program by the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. As part of the application process, she was required to submit an essay about agriculture as a career.

In Bayne’s essay, she explained how growing up in 4-H and as part of a family heavily involved in the sheep industry persuaded her to work in agriculture for the rest of her life.

“I talked about how I still hold on to two of the things I learned growing up,” Bayne said. “Those two things being: agriculture affects everyone, and agriculture as a career is how I can change the world.”

Bayne first learned of the USDA opportunity through an email announcement, but said she never thought she was actually going to be selected.

Twenty undergraduate students and 10 graduate students throughout the nation were chosen by the USDA and honored in front of all attendees during the opening ceremony. In addition, Bayne said the USDA’s program sponsors covered all travel, lodging, meal and registration expenses.

Bayne described the forum as unforgettable and rewarding, saying she learned an enormous amount and grew as an individual and young professional as a result of the week.

Her career ambition is to go into water law. Since her junior year of high school, when she did a social justice project on water rights, Bayne has been drawn to water conservation and solutions.

“My project was focused on water rights and water issues in third world countries,” Bayne said. “As I have continued to learn about it over the years, it has become a real passion of mine and something I truly enjoy learning about.”

During breakout sessions where participants were able to choose to speak to specific industry leaders, Bayne said she attended mostly sessions involving water conservation.

“Often times when we discuss water there is not much optimism, especially coming from California, about areas facing drought,” she said. “However, these industry leaders talked about how they are currently fixing issues and how they were going to continue being proactive in the future.”

She said the experience expanded her networking skills tremendously. Bayne said it was a way for her to actually shake hands with the people she sees on websites and key individuals working on water solutions in her home state and throughout the nation.

“I felt like I was handing out my business card left and right,” Bayne said.

Additionally, she said being the only student from OSU at the program forced her to step outside of her comfort zone.

“I did not know anyone else there, and honestly, I was really nervous I would end up sitting in the corner the whole time, but I couldn’t have been more wrong” Bayne said. “It was so refreshing to see that the family feeling we get here at CASNR is true throughout all of the agricultural industry.”

Bayne said she will never forget meeting Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. She was one of three students selected to do an interview video for USDA, which was posted on their Instagram and Twitter accounts.

Along with these memories, she said she loved being able to meet students from all over the nation.

“At OSU, we often have a single-minded view of agriculture or only focus on what commodities are big in Oklahoma,” Bayne said. “You almost forget about how broad agriculture is and what is important in different states, so it was really neat to hear about other student’s passions for agriculture.”

Bayne said she took pride in representing a well-known agricultural school like OSU, adding it was an honor to represent both the university and CASNR on a national level.

“It was special to have people look and me and say, ‘that’s one of the best of Oklahoma State,’” Bayne said.

Cynda Clary, associate dean of academic programs for the OSU Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, said, “As part of our land-grant mission, CASNR places an emphasis on providing students with learning opportunities beyond classroom instruction, and we were extremely proud to have a student like Nicole represent our college at the national level.”

Clary added Bayne is representative of how CASNR students are eager to embrace opportunities that ultimately further their career goals and expand their knowledge.

The OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources believes in the value of hands-on education and the importance of having a well-rounded student experience. Our award-winning faculty members are dedicated to developing students and passionate about adding value to the total educational experience. With 16 majors and 61 study options, plus more than 60 student organizations, the college is committed to expanding minds and inspiring purpose. Learn more at casnr.okstate.edu.

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REPORTER:
Jacy Bradford

MEDIA CONTACT:

Melissa Mourer
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Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, OK 74078

Phone: 405-744-3737

Fax: 405-744-5739

Email: melissa.mourer@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University, U. S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local governments cooperating: Oklahoma State University in compliance with Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Executive Order 11246 as amended, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and other federal and state laws and regulations, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, or status as a veteran in any of its policies, practices, or procedures, and is an equal opportunity employer.