Machinery and Music
When Maddie Jeans was considering her post-high school plans, she knew she wanted to gain skills that would be useful on her family farm in Sherwood, Oregon.
Now a freshman in the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Jeans is increasing her knowledge in the design and operation of equipment and systems with a degree in agricultural systems management. She’s also continuing her passion for music as a member of the Vandal Marching Band.
Choosing U of I
Jeans grew up helping her parents run the small but diverse farm that has been in her family for three generations and has always known she wanted to take over the operation one day. The farm has produced everything from Christmas trees and firewood to sod and hay. The family also raises Scotch Highlander cattle and initially Jeans considered studying animal science.
Her campus visit to Moscow and a conversation with CALS senior instructor Marvin Heimgartner opened her eyes to the agricultural systems management degree.
“I really like taking care of my cows, but when I was on the campus visit I met up with Marvin and we started talking about the ASM major,” Jeans said. “I realized the ASM major was more of what I needed to go back and run the farm. This degree gives me all the proper skills I need to go back and run the farm that animal science wouldn't give me. Usually my dad takes care of the problems that occur, for example the mechanical issues, but with this degree I can help him out more than I used to because I now have the knowledge."
Jeans also toured other universities in the Northwest but the smaller campus at U of I appealed to her — and her parents.
“My parents were super excited for me to come here,” Jeans said. “My dad was on the tour here with me and he just could tell that this was the place for me.”
The Sound of Idaho
U of I also had another significant advantage over other universities — the Vandal Marching Band. Jeans played percussion in her high school marching band for four years and the opportunity to become a member of the Vandal Marching Band was an added bonus.
“I love music, so I met with Spencer (Martin), the marching band director, on my visit and we talked about it and I just knew instantly I wanted to be part of it,” Jeans said. “It’s crazy how many kids do marching band here. I’m used to forcing every band kid to do marching band in our high school and here everyone wants to do it.”
Having a musical outlet is a way for Jeans to relieve stress and meet new people.
“Coming in I was very nervous about not being able to meet people very easily, but it was super easy to make new friends by joining the marching band,” she said. “It’s so much fun to be part of and I’m really glad I joined.”
Finding Her Community
Jeans has also joined the Agricultural Systems Management club. Between the community she has found there and her Vandal Marching Band family, the transition from high school to college has been relatively smooth.
“I really miss my animals and my family and it was a little rough in the beginning, but I’m doing a lot better,” Jeans said. “Everyone is super nice. When I went to the ASM meeting, it felt like a big family meeting. Everyone was nice and chill and helpful, so I’m really glad for that too.”
Article by Amy Calabretta, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Published in November 2018