Young alumni impact: Paving the way for women to pursue their dreams in agriculture
“Keep pushing.” This is the motto that Gracie Anderson, who grew up on a beef cattle and crop farm in Louisa, Virginia, lives by.
Anderson, who earned her bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness in 2021 in the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, was recently featured by Alpha Gamma Rho (AGR), an organization for young men who share a common bond in agriculture and fellowship. While she was not a member, her father Jason Anderson ’92 was a member of the Beta Eta Chapter at Virginia Tech. “They embraced me from the beginning,” Anderson said of AGR.
AGR has been a great support system. “While I was attending community college before even transferring to Virginia Tech, AGR reached out and asked what they could do to make my transition successful.”
“I have always known Virginia Tech was for me. I didn’t apply to any other school,” said Anderson. Just as she knew being a Hokie was her only choice, she knew she wanted to work for the Farm Bureau of Virginia. This summer she was an intern for the organization, the largest non-profit agricultural advocacy organization in Virginia. “This has been a great opportunity and a dream. This is where I want to start my career after I finish getting my master’s,” Anderson said with certainty.
Anderson is currently working on her master’s in public administration at Virginia Tech where she will be the first woman to go through a master’s program with an agriculture focus.
Being no stranger to firsts. This year Anderson was also the first woman to represent the Ducks Unlimited Chapter at Virginia Tech at the Third Term in Memphis, TN for their national conference.
As AGR impacted her in a positive way, Anderson says that Katie White, undergraduate advisor for the department, was an ‘amazing mentor.’ She recalls meeting Katie at an open house. Even though she was attending community college, “Katie helped guide me on what classes would transfer and which ones were the best to take,” said Anderson.
I will never forget those keywords that White said, “I want to set you up for success.”
White has done just that.
Anderson wants to help young women in the industry just as she was supported and mentored. In fact, Anderson beamed when she recalled the day a student from Texas Tech reached out to her for advice after reading the AGR feature.
“I felt real pride in giving her advice and the confidence to go for it. In addition to my love for agriculture, this is what drives me to give back,” Anderson said.
Anderson is currently working as a graduate assistant with Floyd County in Virginia.
Her younger brother, Chase, is a freshman in the AgTech program at Virginia Tech and currently pledging the Beta Eta AGR Chapter. He would like to eventually take over his parent’s plant healthcare business, Water’s Edge LLC. Anderson’s mother, Anna, is also a 1992 Virginia Tech graduate.
By Melissa Vidmar