STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Luke Knight
BY ELLIE ISBELL, SOPHOMORE/AG COMMUNICATIONS
Growing up, Luke Knight wanted to be a doctor. Many of his family members were in the medical field, so this career choice only made sense. However, when he was in high school, FFA involvement inspired Luke to change his life plans.
Luke first got involved with agriculture when agri-science education was a required class at his school in eighth grade. FFA was implemented into the curriculum in this ag education class. He joined FFA because of the endless opportunities it presented him.
“It wasn’t something I was naturally good at.” Luke says. “I had to work at it. I can remember my teacher saying if I won dairy judging at state I would be able to go to nationals in Indianapolis.”
This motivated him to get involved with FFA and led him to fall in love with the agriculture industry. He says this first happened at Auburn’s Vet School while he was practicing for FFA Nationals.
“I found my passion for agriculture elbow deep into a cow’s stomach.” Luke says.
His senior year of high school, Luke had the honor of being selected as a FFA State Officer. He, along with five other students, traveled across the state of Alabama to do leadership workshops, team building activities and FFA events. This is when he truly fell in love with the agriculture industry. He met ag leaders from across the state, and he knew he wanted to work in agriculture because everyone he met loved being a part of the industry.
“When I say that FFA made all the difference in my life, it really did,” Luke said. “It opened the door to endless opportunities and it got me to where I am today.”
And where he is today is pretty remarkable. Luke is a senior majoring in agricultural communications from Wadley, Alabama. He has been given numerous opportunities in the field of agriculture. He has worked as an undergraduate project assistant for the Alabama Peanut and Vegetable Integrated Pest Management (IPM) with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. He performed many different tasks, but he typically made videos that presented the research facts of the project. This summer, he interned with Monsanto’s BioAg division in central Ohio. He worked as a seed sales representative, and loved this opportunity since this is what he wants to do after graduation. This fall, he will be working as the assistant alumni relations coordinator for the College of Agriculture. Luke says the college’s alumni were instrumental in his decision to choose Auburn, so he is grateful for the opportunity to give back to this group.
Not only is Luke involved with work and internship experience, but he is also heavily involved in the clubs at the College of Agriculture. Last year, he was able to continue his involvement with FFA as the Collegiate FFA president. He also served as the president of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). This year, he is the president of the Ag Ambassadors. He says these three clubs have positively impacted his college experience, and he is grateful for the friends he has made and the life lessons he has learned through these organizations.
However, Luke says the Ag Alumni Mentoring Program has been his greatest experience during his Auburn career. This program matches successful Auburn agriculture alumni with current Auburn students. Luke says his first year mentor introduced him to so many industry professionals, some of whom he still is in contact with today. In his second year in the program, he was exposed to even more of the agriculture industry, and it reassured him that he was following the right career path for him.
“The greatest thing about this program is you don’t just get paired with the mentor that you are paired with,” Luke said. “It introduces you to so many more people that you wouldn’t have met without being a part of the program.”
Luke says balancing all of his various commitments is the hardest part of being a strong leader in the College of Agriculture. However, he utilizes a calendar to stay on track. He also says that surrounding yourself with other strong leaders and being willing to delegate tasks to them is the most important quality a leader can possess.
Luke will graduate in May 2017. He wants to begin his career in sales at an agricultural seed or chemical company. However, he hopes to end his career with a commodity group or agricultural organization where he can work alongside farmers every day.
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.