Growing from eight to 30 members in one year, the Professional Agriculture Student Organization [PAS] at Iowa State already has a large amount of student involvement at the state and national level.
PAS is not typically seen at large four-year universities. Rather, this organization has its main presence at two-year community and technical colleges across the Midwest. Iowa State started their club last year and members have seen dramatic growth within the club and their successes.
Two members, Katelyn Zimmerman, a sophomore agriculture and life sciences education, and Lane Welsh, a senior in agriculture studies, have been there from the start.
“The focus of PAS is uniting industry and agriculture [and it] focuses a lot on making sure there is a connection between education and industry everywhere in agriculture,” Zimmerman said.
Some ways the organization provides avenues for students to network with industry representatives is through the state conferences and a national conference. The PAS board is also made up of several industry members that come together to work with the state officers on insuring success for PAS students.
Welsh has been able to use this exposure through PAS to acquire two different summer internships by meeting industry representatives at PAS career fairs.
“[You] see reps at PAS conventions and it’s super cool to get a second conversation and settle what’s going on with internships,” Welsh said.
The Iowa State PAS club has also had a lot of success at the state and national levels of competition. Through individual and team contests, the students involved have been able to branch out into different agricultural pathways and expand their overall knowledge of agriculture.
Zimmerman and Welsh competed on the same overall livestock team and won first place at state and nationals. The contest tested the students’ knowledge of the beef, sheep and swine industries. There are also individual contests that they each competed in; a floriculture employment interview for Zimmerman and a fertilizer and agriculture chemical employment interview for Welsh.
“PAS presents lots of opportunities for students [who are] going into the agriculture industry,” Zimmerman said.
Through involvement at the state and national levels, Zimmerman and Welsh have gained knowledge and experiences they wouldn’t have otherwise.
“I used to be a shy kid who didn’t want to reach out and do much at the university and instead stick to myself," Welsh said. "I’m amazed to see how far I’ve grown through the help of PAS."
PAS is working on gaining more members and a long-term goal is to become bigger than the farm operations club on campus. Their growth so far can be attributed to the drive of the current members.
“[I’ve enjoyed] watching the students who are hungry for competition work on building something towards the goal at the end of the day and [by] getting awards won,” Welsh said.