Maggie Hammon found a perfect fit with the University of Idaho’s 2+2 agricultural science, communication and leadership degree. She will earn her bachelor’s degree in May 2023 and has been offered a full-time position with the Appaloosa Horse Club in Moscow.
Hammon graduated from Reedley College in Reedley, California in May 2019 with an associate degree in animal science. She returned to her hometown in Filer and began working but knew she wanted to continue her education.
She began looking into attending the College of Southern Idaho (CSI) and eventually met Amanda Moore-Kriwox, program specialist for the U of I’s agricultural science, communication and leadership 2+2 program based at the CSI campus in Twin Falls. After meeting with Moore-Kriwox, Hammon decided the 2+2 program was the perfect path for her.
Students in the 2+2 program complete the first two years of their degree program at CSI in Twin Falls, or the College of Western Idaho in Caldwell. Students then complete two years of upper division U of I courses at a distance.
Hammon’s path was slightly different than other students since she had already obtained an associate degree. Luckily her associate degree transferred over, and she was able to jump into the program.
"Even where I had the animal science associate degree instead of the agricultural science degree it still flowed really well,” she said. “I ended up being able to have one of my focus areas be in animal science because I had taken those animal science classes.”
The agricultural science, communication and leadership degree requires three focus areas that help students narrow their agricultural education to specified topics. Hammon chose animal and veterinary science, agricultural economics and soils for this part of her degree.
Hammon completed three semesters of the 2+2 program online before deciding to finish her final year in person on the Moscow campus.
“As I took online classes and heard about all the amazing things going on on-campus, clubs, and programs available through the AELC department, I really wanted to be a part of that. I decided to transfer and take advantage of those opportunities,” she said.
Hammon has enjoyed the atmosphere that being on campus has brought her. Her time here influenced the advice she would give to prospective students.
“Get involved in your department. Your professors have great advice. Both for your college career and they provide great insight into networking after graduation,” she said. “Don’t be afraid to reach out and get involved in things that intimidate you because it really did go by fast. Looking back, I wish I would have gotten involved sooner.”
Hammon emphasized the importance of just showing up to class. She said it really is a big part, even if it sounds simple.
“The leadership skills that I’ve learned from former professor, Dr. Sarah Bush, have already played a huge part in my internship as well as my day-to-day relationships,” she said. “The more tangible skills, both through journalism and research classes, as well as Comm Squad have also played a big part in preparing me for my career.”
Hammon joined the Ag Comm Squad in spring 2023 to further develop her skills. Hammon and two other U of I students manage social media and publications for the Department of Agricultural Education, Leadership and Communications. This has allowed her to see the behind-the-scenes work that goes into producing a newsletter and running professional social media accounts.
Hammon also has a passion for the equine sector of the agricultural industry that has carried her through her time in college, resulting in an internship and her future career. She is completing a marketing internship at the Appaloosa Horse Club and has been offered a full-time marketing position after graduation.
"I started in August; at that point my title was marketing intern,” she said. “I was just doing odds and ends of things, helping with their quarterly magazine. In November, I ended up taking over their social media. I’ve learned a lot there about the organization and public relations. More recently, I’ve been able to publish two of my own articles in the Appaloosa Journal and take on more of a public relations role as my internship has developed.”
The experiences she gained both as a distance student and in her short time on campus have prepared her for the future.
“I have been offered a full-time position at the Appaloosa Horse Club to continue managing their social media and helping to develop their youth program as well,” she said. “U of I has prepared me for this job not only from the classes I have taken, but also by the extracurricular activities they offer.”
Article by Hannah Ruth Pettyjohn, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Photos by Melissa Hartley, University of Idaho Visual Productions
Published in May 2023