Student Spotlight: Kayla Safarik

Meet Kayla Safarik, an agronomy graduate student from Farwell, Neb.
April 10, 2023

Hometown: Farwell, Nebraska 

Major: Agronomy with a minor in Agricultural Leadership, Education, and Communication 

Anticipated Date of Graduation: May 2023 

Why did you decide to come to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln? 

I decided to come to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln because it offers an abundance of opportunities and resources to grow personally, academically and professionally.  

What is your favorite thing about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln? 

My favorite thing about the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is being able to get involved in Extension programming including clinics, workshops and field days which have proved to be a beneficial part of my learning. 

What about diversity and inclusion is important to you when you think about your CASNR experience? 

When I think about my CASNR experience, diversity and inclusion is important to me because it has allowed me to have a well-rounded view of different perspectives in agriculture.  

Exposure to cultural differences is a huge part of college. What activity have you recently participated in that is different from what you are used to in your culture? This could be something you read, listened to, watched, eaten or otherwise taken part in. What did you learn from this activity? 

During my graduate career I have taken several ALEC courses with Dr. Connor, including Diffusion of Innovations and Principles of Adult Education. In these courses I have learned the importance of considering cultural differences among individuals. In both agricultural production and education, someone's cultural differences can influence their motivations and values, which can determine their learning, farm structure, and decision-making. Understanding that these cultural differences exist is important when interacting with individuals in different situations.  

What is your favorite class you have taken so far and why? 

My favorite graduate course I've taken has been Cover Crops in Agroecosystems taught by Andrea Basche and Sam Wortman. I really enjoyed this class because we got to explore the management, environmental, economic and social considerations of cover crops across different production systems. My favorite part of the class was how hands-on it was, and how it allowed us to apply our own knowledge and decision-making to real-life systems. For example, we got to participate in a Cover Crop Challenge Project where teams got to design a cover crop system in order to maximize ecosystem services for the least cost and compete against other students who were from different states.  

What are your plans post-graduation? 

I plan to stay in Nebraska and find a job in Extension or industry.  

What's life like outside of school? 

Outside of school I enjoy playing volleyball, attending concerts, outdoor activities and hanging out with my nieces and nephew.  

What scholarships, if any, have you received? 

None as a graduate student. As an undergrad, I received the Inez and Frank Mussehl Scholarship and the Susan T. Buffet Scholarship. 

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