STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Michelle Bufkin
BY ELLIE ISBELL, SOPHOMORE/AG COMMUNICATIONS
Many times, people throw around the word “family” to describe Auburn University and particularly the College of Agriculture. However, for Michelle Bufkin, no other word could more perfectly describe her experience as an Auburn agriculture student. Michelle grew up in Autaugaville, Alabama, a town that has more cows than people. Therefore, a small-town, family atmosphere was important to her in selecting a college.
She was initially drawn to veterinary medicine, so she came to Auburn with plans to go to vet school. Once she arrived at Auburn, she realized that veterinary medicine was not the career path for her, and with the helpful guidance of College of Agriculture faculty, she found her home in agricultural communications.
Because she felt so at home within the College of Agriculture family, it did not take long for Michelle to get involved. She became active in Ag Ambassadors, Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority and Block and Bridle. Now, in her senior year, she holds or has held a leadership position in all of these organizations. Even though she is committed to several different organizations, she utilizes time management and organizational skills to balance her various involvements, class work and her social life.
Her secret for staying on track? “I am addicted to planners! I have my whole life in my planner, coordinated by different colors for different organizations/classes,” Michelle explains.
However, no matter how much planning Michelle did, she could not control every aspect of her life. In November of last year, Michelle’s father was diagnosed with leukemia. This completely changed Michelle’s world. However, the College of Agriculture stepped up like never before and the word “family” took on a whole new meaning for Michelle.
The college hosted a successful blood and bone marrow registry drive in honor of Michelle’s father. Her professors and classmates were constantly asking about her father and how he was doing. She felt that the College of Agriculture truly cared about her and her father.
This summer, Michelle faced one of the hardest experiences of her life when her father unfortunately lost his battle with leukemia. During this tough time, Michelle found comfort from her College of Agriculture family. She speaks highly of Associate Dean Paul Patterson and the college’s response to this tragedy.
“When my father passed away, Dr. Patterson contacted me right away to see if I needed anything,” Michelle says. “At my father’s visitation and funeral there were numerous members of my Auburn family there, including Dr. Patterson. I can’t thank each and every member of the Auburn COA Family enough for all of their support throughout this difficult journey.”
Because of this support system, Michelle is one semester away from graduating from Auburn despite the hardship she has faced. She plans to attend graduate school for a master’s in agricultural communications/extension education because she is passionate about educating consumers with the truth about agriculture. Michelle’s involvement, determination, and her commitment to advocating agriculture have certainly made her College of Agriculture family proud!
To read more about Michelle’s story and her experiences advocating for agriculture, visit her blog: thetruthaboutag.wordpress.com.
Ellie Isbell is a sophomore studying agricultural communications and is originally from Muscle Shoals, Alabama. She is an Ag Ambassador, Auburn Athletics Marketing Department intern and Project Uplift mentor, in addition to being the editor of War Eagle Words.