Senior, Agriculture Education Major
Erica found her calling at College of the Ozarks.
Erica knows the meaning of hard work. By age 11, she worked two jobs to support herself and her family. She worked at a local market and as a farmhand.
In high school, Erica discovered Future Farmers of America (FFA) and for her, this was life changing.
“I joined FFA and found my passion and calling in life.”
Once Erica began participating in FFA, she started excelling in school. She visited College of the Ozarks during the annual FFA workshops. It was the work program that drew her to Hard Work U.
“The beauty of campus and the Agriculture Department caused me to look further into C of O. Once I found out about the work program, I was fully convinced this was the college for me. I always wanted to attend college, but never knew how I would be able to afford it. C of O showed me a way.”
Erica was the first person in her immediate family to graduate from high school. She applied to C of O and was accepted. She arrived at College of the Ozarks as a student in the summer of 2018, ready to learn and work.
“During my time at C of O, I worked at three workstations: The Keeter Center kitchen, the dairy, and the Engineering Department.”
An investment in College of the Ozarks is an investment in students like Erica.
Each job taught her more about herself, her abilities, and her passion for teaching others.
“Throughout my work, I was able to gain hands-on experiences that related to my career path of becoming a teacher - and will benefit me in the agriculture classroom helping students.”
Erica says her faith in Christ grew, and she felt love from those around her. Faced with dental issues, the College stepped in to fix her teeth.
“I will always remember how the College cared so much about its students and their success. They paid for my wisdom teeth removal surgery that I was not able to afford.”
She recently accepted a fulltime position as a high school Agriculture teacher, where she will also oversee FFA, the program that impacted her life so much as a youngster. She will graduate in May, 2022.
“I want to help struggling students find meaning in education.”