Ag Mentoring Program benefits both students and mentors

October 08, 2021

mentor with student

The LSU College of Agriculture’s Mentoring Program recently completed its fourth year of the Ag Mentor Program. The program pairs current students with alumni and supporters of the college for professional development and networking opportunities.

Katie Mestayer, a junior majoring in plant and soil systems with a concentration in crop sciences, joined the program with the hopes of gaining professional career advice. Dr. Tara Smith, LSU AgCenter Central regional director, served as Mestayer’s mentor.

Mestayer reflects on how being paired with Smith has been a positive experience, and she has learned about many research-based careers possible within the LSU AgCenter.

“Dr. Smith provided me with so much information, advice and hope as to where my career could go and now where my career will go,” Mestayer said. “Dr. Smith invited me to tour with her at several research stations in our state and to meet with other professionals who work there so I could really get a feel of what it’s like to be an employee on a research station.” 

Smith shares that serving as a mentor has been rewarding as a professional, and she has been able to stay connected with the college through the process. She says that she still maintains contact with some of the mentees that she met through the program.

“We are truly working with and mentoring the leaders of tomorrow. They are working in various agricultural segments and are going to be leaders on the cutting edge of the agricultural industry as we move forward,” said Smith.

Mestayer says that all students should consider applying to join the mentoring program. “It is such a wonderful experience. Even if you’re just unsure about where your career might go, someone in the agricultural industry can lead you in the right direction,” she said.

Smith believes that a formal mentoring process is critical to forming foundational relationships that follow students throughout their academic career and as they enter the working world. She encourages her fellow alumni and supporters of the college to look into getting involved with the mentoring program. 

By Malorey Uzee