Finding a Future
Agriculture has always been in the cards for Ryan Kindall.
A fifth-generation beekeeper from Cambridge, Kindall was deeply involved in extracurricular activities growing up. And he did just about everything, from high school sports and trap shooting to 4-H and FFA.
“I kept myself busy throughout high school, but it was always agriculture that I came home to,” he said.
Finding A Family
It was FFA that first introduced Kindall to the University of Idaho and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. He traveled to Moscow as a high school junior competing at the state level on his FFA chapter’s environment and natural resources Career Development Event team. He remembers clicking with the university on that first trip, and when he returned later in his FFA career for Ag Days, he connected with the people who helped him figure out his next steps.
“On that Ag Days trip, I met CALS ambassadors who really started my path toward U of I and agricultural education,” he said. “I found out then just how much U of I could fit what I was looking for.”
Kindall was inspired to become a CALS ambassador himself during his time at U of I, a position that opened his eyes to everything the college has to offer.
He also joined Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, where he found a brotherhood with shared backgrounds in, and passions for, agriculture. He credits his house with encouraging him to get involved and connecting him with volunteer opportunities at a local food bank that he said allowed him to engage with the Moscow community like he never had before.
But he was never without a little piece of home in Moscow. Three other members of the Kindall family are also Vandals — his younger sister Brenna and cousins Bret and Valery — are all first-generation students at U of I. Kindall said having a family network has helped him on his own path, especially with Bret being a fellow agricultural education major and fraternity brother.
“It’s been fun seeing all of our different pathways, from Bret’s different focus in the ag ed major to Brenna being a primary education student,” he said. “We’ve all been able to help each other when we need it.”
Finding His Future
Kindall wasn’t sure at first where he would go within the agricultural industry he had grown up in, but chose agricultural education because he saw firsthand how a great agricultural educator can make or break a student’s passion for the industry.
“In my high school, we went through three ag teachers in four years,” he said. “It just showed me how consistency and quality can make all the difference in how students learn and feel about what you teach.”
Kindall quickly grew to appreciate the diversity of disciplines his major gave him and the opportunity to learn hands-on.
“As an ag ed major, I’ve had the opportunity to take in a buffet of agriculture, from aquaculture to welding,” he said.
A student teacher at Hagerman Academy of Agriculture and Food Science during the spring 2019 semester, Kindall experienced even more parts of the buffet as he helped develop the agricultural education program there.
He had the opportunity to learn with his students how to run the school’s fish hatchery and worked toward getting USDA certification for the school’s food science program so it can provide greater opportunities to students.
Kindall earned his bachelor’s degree in spring 2019 and is interviewing for high school agricultural education positions with several small schools throughout Idaho.
“I want to stay in Idaho and stay with a smaller program, because I think the community in those programs is just unbeatable compared to anywhere else,” he said.
Kindall credits his fraternity and the community he built through CALS ambassadors with encouraging him to get involved with the college and the university, and helping him stay on track even as he faced challenges.
“I think I struggled with a lot of the same things every college student does, but the community here really helped me manage my time and stay involved and keep focused on what I was doing,” he said. “I definitely wouldn’t have come as far as I have without that.”
Article by Riley Haun, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Published in May 2019