When she first joined the A.B. Graham FFA Chapter in eighth grade, Shelby Faulkner was a timid girl with no agricultural background. However, she soon discovered a passion for the industry and began her FFA story.
Faulkner became involved in her chapter by competing on teams, serving as chapter treasurer and president and completing Supervised Agricultural Experiences in livestock and crop entrepreneurship. Her excitement for the organization grew and she wanted to do more. In 2011, she became state sentinel on the Ohio FFA Officer Team. Faulkner’s love for the FFA evolved and she knew her time was not finished. She continued a consecutive year to serve the Ohio FFA Association as the 2012-2013 State FFA President.
Her term has concluded after attending first session of Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum earlier this summer. What is next? Faulkner has just completed her Early Field Experience at Miami East FFA Chapter and is taking summer classes at The Ohio State University, where she is pursuing a degree in agriscience education. She is making an adjustment outside of the blue corduroy jacket. However, her FFA career is not over.
“After two years, I have experienced so much potential and growth,” Faulkner said. “I want to take it to the next level to increase possibilities and engagement for students at a national level.” Faulkner is representing Ohio as the 2013 National FFA Officer Candidate.
To become a candidate is no simple task. Students experience a thorough application process. An interview is conducted in April, the selection is announced during state convention in May, and the preparation begins. Faulkner described it as a confusing and long process filled with self-discovery and learning.
“For me, it began freshman year. The process has simply developed over time,” Faulkner said excitedly. “Now, it is my turn to share my FFA story and share how this organization builds students. It builds them into leaders and helps them find who they are. It is important to know that any goal can be reached, as long as we pursue them.”
After the selection, Faulkner began compiling information from FFA history to industry affiliations. She is practicing her facilitation and public speaking skills and learning more about her strengths. Faulkner has found the most important piece she can bring to the interview is to know herself.
“I never fully thought about all the little things you need to brush up on to know who you are as a person,” Faulkner explained. “Now, I see the deeper value in it.”
In October, Faulkner will undergo a series of interviews, a written test and facilitation evaluation during National FFA Convention. A member nominating committee selects the national officer slate. Faulkner is embracing this eye-opening experience and knows that no matter the results, her hard work will be worth it.
“I know that my FFA career is not finished,” Faulkner said. “Having this opportunity to serve this outstanding organization in one more role inspires me to better myself for the benefit of the members.”