The purpose of this electronic portfolio is to be used as a tool for networking, collecting my professional and academic work, and to reflect on important life moments. Below you can find a full-length bio and my personal definition of what leadership is and how I try to achieve it.
Austin is dual-majoring in Applied Economic Management with a concentration in Community Economic Development and Agricultural Sciences with foci in “Leadership and Social Change” and “Crop, Soil, and Environmental Science” at Virginia Tech.
From serving as the 2009-2010 Virginia State FFA Vice President, to the 2010 National FFA Officer Candidate from Virginia, to traveling to 36 different countries; Austin constantly says that FFA has opened many doors for him. In fact, he was motivated to start “Feed by Seed” (a 501(c)3 organization that focuses on global agriculture education, development, and advocacy) after a trip to Zambia in the summer of 2010 with the National FFA Organization.
Austin studied aboard for the spring semester of 2012 in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland as an inaugural member of the Presidential Global Scholars program. He was also Virginia Tech’s first Presidential Fellow with The Center for the Study of The Presidency and Congress in 2012-2013 where he wrote a research paper on how an expansion of agricultural development in the Arab world could be an effective tool for decreasing conflict in the region.
This summer Austin spent two weeks in Ecuador on a USAID funded research project, two weeks in UAE and Qatar observing Middle Eastern economics and culture, and two weeks in Uganda establishing a second Feed by Seed project location.
Austin is currently serving Virginia Tech as the Undergraduate Representative to the Board of Visitors, and as a member of: University Council, Commission of Student Affairs (CSA), Student Government Association (SGA) Cabinet, William Preston Society, and Order of the Gavel. Austin is also currently an active member of the G.E.R.M.A.N. Club at Virginia Tech and University Honors; all while he continues to lead “Feed by Seed” in all of its global operations.
Austin plans to graduate Virginia Tech in the spring of 2015 to pursue work in the international agriculture education, development, and advocacy realm.
Personal Definition of Leadership:
Leadership is very simple, but has very complex components. Leadership is stepping up to the plate when needed to help accomplish identified common goals, but also knowing when you can serve better from a “follower” position. It is the process of facilitating positive change in the world around you. Leaders actively listen, they have compassion and empathy, they are flexible, they are driven, but they are not self-serving, they are not coercive and they do not let challenges stop them from achieving their goals.
I actively try to be the best leader I can be on a daily basis. Part of this is constantly reflecting on my accomplishments and failures, and using that reflection to improve my leadership skills over the long-term.