The Faculty Member Who Changed My Life

Ryan Conklin

Both Ryan Conklin and Irene Wallbaum shared stories of the CFAES faculty who made a difference for them.

Ryan Conklin, BS in Agribusiness and Applied Economics, shares his story about how Dr. Linda Martin made a difference in his life:

In the spring of 2008, I began working in Ag Admin Room 100 as a student receptionist. Dr. Linda Martin, who was still in her first year as Associate Dean, regularly noticed that the shirts that I wore to work were wrinkled and unkept. Seeking to rectify the problem, Dr. Martin politely asked if I owned an iron with which to iron my shirts. Being a student a receptionist, Dr. Martin knew that I regularly come in contact with important people from the College and University.

Although wearing an ironed shirt is a minor matter, Dr. Martin really taught me the importance of presenting yourself appropriately and making a good impression. After almost ten years, this story is always good for a laugh between Dr. Martin and I.

Irene Wallbaum, BS & MS in agricultural economics, was so touched by a faculty member, that she's paying it forward.  John Magee & Irene Wallbaum

I graduated from CFAES with a BS degree in Agricultural Economics.   I had interest in pursuing a Master’s degree.  However, the costs associated with Graduate School made that choice difficult. A Graduate Research Assistant position, under the supervision of Dr. Marvin T. Batte, eliminated the cost concern, and an MS degree became feasible for me. 

Thanks to Dr. Batte’s guidance, I broadened my skill set, gained valuable experience and ultimately enjoyed very different opportunities compared to what I might have had without Dr. Batte’s guidance.  He quite literally changed the trajectory of my career.  John Magee, my husband, and I established a scholarship in Dr. Batte’s name to honor his leadership and contributions to the Department, College and University as well as recognize his influence on me as an individual.  Our intent is to pay back the investment made in my education by contributing to the education of others.  We hope that students benefitting from the Batte scholarship will consider the pay forward principle as they become contributors within their chosen communities.