Interview with McKayla Robinette from Brevard College

By Staff Reports

Brevard College is a private, liberal arts college located in the mountains of Western North Carolina, near Asheville. Known for its Teacher Education, Music Education, Athletics, Arts, and Theater, it draws its student body from far and wide. The 120 acre campus offers a wholesome learning environment for over 700 students.

The college dates back to 1853, when it merged with two other education entities that merged together to form the current campus location in the town of Brevard in 1933.

The Tribune recently met an exceptional student named McKayla Robinette from Brevard College, and would like to share a little bit about her story at Brevard College.

Where are you from, and what interested you in studies at Brevard College? Include why Brevard College vs other schools.

My name is McKayla Robinette and I am from Pinetops, North Carolina. I was raised on a farm that has been in my family for over one hundred years, where my family raises grass-fed beef cattle for meat consumption. Growing up, I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in agriculture however I didn’t know exactly how I would accomplish that. My senior year of high school, I was actively applying for as many colleges and universities as I could manage, focusing on colleges of agriculture. I first found out about Brevard College through an email outreach, in which they announced their Sustainable Agriculture and Agricultural Education programs. In comparison to the other schools that I was accepted to, Brevard College was not one of my first choices. However, I was struggling to feel confident in the other choices I had, such as North Carolina State University and Oklahoma State University. On a whim, I decided to attend an admissions event at Brevard College, just to visit. This first visit to Brevard’s campus, I felt that this could be the school for me. Meeting with members of the Division of Science and Math faculty and the Education Department and learning about the collegeís vision for the agricultural program made me excited. Not only was there a lot of support for the development of the major, but I could also envision myself making a positive impact on the campus community and the town of Brevard.

As you prepare for your Senior Project, tell us what the official Project name is.

Include the pollinator studies, and the farming program you have developed, for farmers and how this is meaningful to agriculture in general nationally, and specifically at our local level.

As a student at Brevard College, I have the opportunity to be engaged in numerous projects alongside the faculty. As a continuation of my course work, I am working on developing educational resources on pollinators for local teachers to utilize and researching how the college will choose and manage work study positions for the college’s on-campus farm, which is going to be in operation within the next year. These projects are a great example of Brevard College’s experiential education model, and it is a great opportunity for me to gain practical skills in research and relaying information.

In addition, I have also begun my senior project, where I am developing an online network of information for first-generation farmers. This service, FirstGen Farmhouse, is an online alternative to farm schools and targets beginning agriculturalists who do not have the time or money to travel to build their knowledge base. FirstGen Farmhouse is going to be extremely important for farmers without the support system that comes with family and friends in agriculture. While there is already a lot of information available for food producers, they are either regionally or commodity focused. FirstGen Farmhouse is going to include resources for all farmers from all areas. While I do not have all of the specifics worked out at this time, I am very excited for where this project is going to go and all of the work I am going to be able to accomplish.

What are your plans after your senior year, if you could have it “your way.”

After graduating from Brevard College, I hope to pursue a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Leadership, which would further focus my knowledge in agricultural education, business, and politics. Eventually, I would like a career where I can help educate farmers on best practices and bring agricultural education to people who would not normally have any interaction with the industry. Although I don’t know exactly what the tomorrow holds, at the root of my future plans, I want to educate and inspire people about their food and the work it takes to produce it.

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