Ag students eager to assist with Leadership Summit

Tennessee Tech agricultural students will be looking to mentor rising junior and senior high school students during the upcoming Agriculture Leadership Summit. Dennis Duncan (right), director of Tech’s School of Agriculture, talks to counselors (from left) Lisa Ellis, Hannah Steger, Katelyn Cammack and Emily Welte in preparation for the weeklong Summit.

COOKEVILLE – Tennessee Tech agricultural students will be looking to mentor rising junior and senior high school students during the upcoming Agriculture Leadership Summit.

“I think it will be an excellent opportunity for high school students from across the state to come and learn and gain a lot of leadership experience,” said Emily Welte, a junior from Cookeville majoring in agriculture communications. “I’ve really enjoyed my experiences at 4-H camps and I want to create something like that for them as well.”

Welte is one of eight Tech students who will be a counselor at the inaugural event which is hosted by Tech’s School of Agriculture in collaboration with Tennessee Farm Bureau June 23-28. The other counselors are Marisa Phelps, Mahaliah Stults, Madison Phillips, Hannah Steger, Lisa Ellis, Aaron Lay and Katelynn Cammack.

“I’ve been working with the counselors already and they are coming up with some wonderful ideas,” said Dennis Duncan, director of the School of Agriculture. “During the Summit they will be with the campers 24/7. They will spend the entire week with them, taking them around the campus and participating in all the activities we have slated for them.”

Students from counties around the state of Tennessee will be introduced to leadership personality types and work in collaboration with other students and organizations to solve current agricultural issues.

“I really want to be involved in this camp because I’ve always had an interest to be a leader to those younger than me,” said Steger, a sophomore from Cookeville majoring in merchandise design. “I really hope to be an influence on these youth to help them become better leaders.”

The high school students will also learn methods for effectively addressing issues of agricultural policy and food security on a global and local level.

“I’m hoping they will learn a lot about leadership, not just for themselves, but also in a group setting,” said Cammack, a senior from Warren County majoring in agriculture communications. “I want to learn more about myself as a leader, too. I’ve learned a lot about myself during my college career and I want to take what they are learning and apply it to myself.”

This annual week-long event will replace the National Leadership Forum which historically took place in Searcy, Arkansas. Tennessee Farm Bureau, in addition to providing some financial backing, is encouraging their county Farm Bureaus to provide their brightest, most impressive young people as delegates.

“I want the kids to learn more about themselves and agriculture,” said Ellis, a junior from Carter County, majoring in agriculture communications. “My dad always had a farm and I’ve always been interested in it. The Lord gave me a passion for agriculture, and I love it to death. I don’t see myself doing anything other than agriculture.”

To learn more about the Agriculture Leadership Summit contact Duncan at or 931-372-3019.

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