The summer has been a whirlwind ! Places to go, people to see, things to do. Trying to pack all this in the calendar and absorb it in my mind hasn’t been easy. Reflecting on the past six weeks, I concluded the following points.
The most interesting moment of the fellowship experience was being interviewed by a global panel of scientists at Bayer Crop Science. These people truly wanted to know our thoughts about connecting their work with students in the classroom. One in particular was very passionate about “what we need to do [Bayer scientists] to put our mission and life work into the classroom dialogue. This is the first time I’ve felt like my thoughts and opinions as a teacher were taken with value, not peppered with preconceived notions. My input and questions were respectfully received and answered.
Condensing all my experiences into a summary has been the most challenging aspect of my work. There are hundreds of photos on my cloud to remind me of what my notes really say, so that I can share the many things I’ve learned about agriculture, people, and life itself. Answering those FAQs has become easier, so that particular challenge has been conquered with experience: “What is the Kenan Fellowship”, “Why did you [computer teacher] want to do an agriculture fellowship”, “What do you hope to get out of this”, “What do you want to see/do”. Hopefully, the summary will be conquered before school begins.
There is one realization that stands out from the academic and interpersonal components of these experiences: None of the things I’ve participated in would have been possible without the Kenan program opening doors. Farm Bureau wouldn’t have asked me to visit these places. Bayer Crop Science wouldn’t have let me inside their labs. A computer teacher wouldn’t be able to garner community support for Mayberry Farm Fest. The list goes on. The KFP validated me. It has enabled me to network with people in other professions to connect common ground. And, for all those open doors, I am grateful.