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Ready to make a difference in ag education: University of Minnesota Crookston student talks education, goals

Knott said she is excited about culture sciences, especially those dealing with plants and animals.

Elaina Knott-1.jpg
Elaina Knott (Submitted photo)
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Elaina Knott, a student at the University of Minnesota Crookston, is preparing well for her future – that unknown and weary friend who currently sits at her doorstep.

But she has a smile on her face and a spring in her step — even if springtime, and graduation, are still several months away.

By then, Knott, originally from Thief River Falls, will be among her school’s graduates, ready to influence her own students. Rightly so, because her career path is agriculture education.

“I started to figure out that I really wanted to go into agriculture somewhere, in some role, and then I had an agriculture education teacher in high school … and she really inspired me to go into teaching. So I'm still in that agriculture role, but also a teaching role going forward.”

Her degree will equip her “to be a teacher in a high school,” she said. “I'll most likely be teaching traditional ninth through 12th grade classes, and I'll be teaching anything from plant science to wellbeing to economics. … There's really no limit to what I'll be able to teach as long as it relates to agriculture, career and technical education.”

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Knott said she is excited about culture sciences, especially those dealing with plants and animals.

“I really like seeing what goes into plants being grown. I'm looking at my snake plant right now in my dorm room and knowing how that has come to be, but also looking out into the fields and seeing why corn is the way that it is, the different variations of corn,” she said during a phone interview on Nov. 10, a wintry day in Crookston and the surrounding communities.

“And then on the animal side, knowing how animals function and are reproduced, and how similar they are to us but also how very different they are to us, and how they help us to have livelihoods and industries. It's all extremely interesting to me.”

Knott has completed internships and worked with FFA, and said she’s had a lot of different opportunities to go into the classroom and actively teach some of these subjects. Doing so has enhanced her leadership skills, both in industry and, more importantly, in life. When she embarks on her career as a full-time teacher, she’s confident she’ll be ready.

As busy as Knott is, one would think she wouldn’t have time to study – or sleep – but she seems to manage both. She is involved with the school’s dairy club, a livestock show, and is part of the GEE (Golden Eagle Entertainment), which brings entertainment to campus. “And then I'm in the Agronomy Club, Egg Industries Club, which is kind of like a catch-all for all the other agriculture clubs on campus.”

She calls herself a “social person” and likes to keep busy and be around people, including her instructors, whom she calls “absolutely amazing.”

“That's the main thing that pulled me to this campus versus others,” Knott said. “I know for a fact that many other students think the same, because our instructors know our names, know our backgrounds. Some even know our families, and they really care about our goals and where we want to go and how we want our education to be given to us; they really listen to that and try their hardest to provide those opportunities.”

As she anticipates graduation, she said it is “extremely rewarding” pursuing a career in education, and agriculture is an interesting field. As such, she gets the best of both worlds.

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“I've had many conversations with educators throughout the state of Minnesota, but also on a national level, and they all say the same thing – that this is the most rewarding job,” she said.

And, she vows, when she gets her own classroom, “it is going to be fun every day, things are going to be different in my classroom. I can choose a lot of what I am going to be teaching and how I get to teach. I get to develop those opportunities and experiences for students. I'm really looking forward to that.”

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE EDUCATION
Andrew Weeks is an award-winning journalist who has reported for a number of newspapers and magazines. He currently is the editor of Prairie Business, the premier business magazine of the northern plains. The magazine covers various industries and business topics in the Dakotas and western Minnesota.
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