Kathryn Leigh Buford
Coming from a small town in south Georgia, Kathryn Leigh Buford expected that attending UGA would be one of the biggest challenges she'd ever have to face and overcome. However, what she found at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences was a home away from home. She's become a pro at balancing academics, leadership activities, community service and social events in order to make the most out of her college experience.
Q&A with Kathryn Leigh
What made you decide to attend UGA?
Honestly, when I applied to the University of Georgia, I was terrified. I knew that it was a great college, but coming from a graduating class of 19, the thought of attending such a large school was incredibly intimidating to me. As the deadline to make a decision approached, I started to think of the many UGA alumni in my family. My mother, father, aunts and older sister all attended UGA before me. Growing up, my father always talked about UGA football games, being a UGA Bulldawg and how UGA would be the best school for me. My visits to Athens, particularly to the Animal Science Building and Conner Hall, made me realize that I was not only going to be a student, I was going to be a member of a family. I knew that I would have all the support that I needed to succeed. Looking back, I know I made the right decision. Not only is being a Bulldawg a family tradition, but it has also helped transform me into a more confident and determined individual.
Why did you choose your major?
As an incoming freshman, I knew that I wanted to be in the field of business while also fulfilling my passion for agriculture. Agribusiness provided the perfect combination of these two different fields. I have never changed my major, nor have I ever thought about changing it. Agribusiness has given me the perfect balance of courses that will apply to my future occupation whether it is management, marketing, accounting or even international agriculture.
What do you like best about CAES?
The most important aspect that makes me partial to CAES is the feeling of the close-knit relationships between not only the students, but also between the faculty and the students. The courses are generally smaller, and the faculty members are passionate about what they teach. Both of these aspects make learning about your field of study much more personal, interesting and exciting.
What's the coolest thing that's happened to you at UGA?
One of the coolest things I've experienced was assisting with the Great Southland Stampede Rodeo. GSSR was the only student-run Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo in the nation, and I loved that it was a challenge because it was similar to managing a business. I was amazed at the passion that the students before me had and the many traditions that they passed down from year to year. The committee worked hard for it to be the "Greatest Show on Dirt," and because of the teamwork, it definitely paid off. The show was outstanding, and it even sold out. Because of this unforgettable experience as a freshman, I have continued to be actively involved in leadership positions for the rodeo. I have developed a passion for GSSR just like the students before me.
Tell us about your study abroad experience. What was the best part?
I have always loved to explore and travel to other countries where the culture and environment are so different from what I am accustomed to. For this reason, I was driven to study abroad to Tanzania as a Maymester program. I love to get out of my comfort zone by exploring new and different traditions and also by expanding my horizons. It was one of the best, most life changing and unforgettable experiences of my life. I was so excited that CAES offers classes in Tanzania that directly apply to my field of study. Learning about international agriculture and environmental management firsthand and from another culture’s perspective was amazing. Studying abroad is a life changing experience that any college student should experience.
Which CAES instructor do you value the most?
Over the years, I've had many instructors who have been influential in expanding my knowledge about agriculture and business. It is difficult for me to choose just one. In the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, there are many instructors that I can ask for advice, whether it be a question about which class would be most applicable to my major or a question about the opportunities to get involved in organizations, leadership roles and internships.
How do you plan on using your major?
My family is involved in aquaculture, farming, livestock production, forestry and conservation in our county. I plan to return to my hometown and join my family's agribusiness. Hopefully by applying the knowledge that I have gained at UGA, the company will improve, expand and prosper.
Best advice for incoming freshmen?
Get out of your comfort zone! There are so many wonderful, exciting and life changing opportunities here at UGA. If you don't get involved, you are truly missing out.
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