Rachel Holden is a graduate student studying agricultural education at UConn, with the goal of becoming a teacher after she graduates in May 2017. She is currently student teaching at the agricultural science program at Lyman Hall High School in Wallingford, Connecticut, with a class of animal science students. Holden is interested in teaching either animal science or horticultural science once she receives her master’s degree. Here is what she said about being a UConn graduate student.
Where did you study as an undergraduate? I studied at the University of Connecticut for my bachelor’s degree.
What was your major? I majored in animal science, with a minor in horticulture. I have several animals at home as well as a greenhouse. I liked the variety.
Why did you decide to go to graduate school? I knew I enjoyed teaching in agricultural education. There are so many things that people don’t know about agriculture. I want to help students understand the importance and realize the different aspects of agriculture. It’s not just farming.
Who is your advisor? My advisor is Dr. Sandra Billings.
What is your field of research? My thesis right now is on retention rates in agricultural education programs. I am researching how many students stay within a program over four years and what schools can do to keep students in the program.
Name on aspect of your work you like. I love teaching and working with students. They are all so different and genuinely care about the content they are learning. Making the lessons understandable and having students retain the knowledge is a great feeling.
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment so far? I was the coach for the Livestock CDE (Career Development Event) team for Lyman Hall’s FFA chapter. They competed in the Fall CDEs in November and placed fifth out of eleven teams. I am so proud of them for their success, especially considering they are all underclassmen.
What do you plan to do once you get your degree? I want to stay in Connecticut and become an agricultural educator. I would like to teach either animal science or horticultural science, depending on the opportunities available.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? My favorite moment in student teaching was when I built a lesson plan for the sophomores, who were learning breed identification in companion animals and livestock. We went on a ‘safari’ to the surrounding farms, and I showed them the different breeds of cows. It was really fun for both them and me.