Through a new articulation agreement between Delaware Valley University and the Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow (DLT) program, Natasha Maddox of Wellsboro Area High School in Tioga County, Pennsylvania is the first student to earn college credits after completing four DLT courses during her senior year of high school.Currently a freshman at Delaware Valley University, Natasha is studying animal science in the pre-veterinary track. She hopes to dual major in ag business next semester.
With an ambitious courseload and a strong passion for the agriculture industry, Natasha says she developed an interest in livestock at an early age.
“When I was six years old, we moved to where we live today. My grandparents had an old dairy farm, so as I got older, I joined 4-H and got further into livestock. I started my own sheep and goat breeding programs. I’m hoping to soon start my own beef cattle breeding program,” Natasha said.
By the time she began her senior year in high school, Natasha was familiar with various types of livestock due to her involvement in 4-H programs and showing animals. The Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow program introduced her to dairy-specific concepts that prepared her for her college career at Delaware Valley University.
“At the time when my agricultural educator informed me of the DLT opportunity, I was working on my artificial insemination (AI) certification. I figured DLT could not only help me with my hopes to possibly study veterinary in the future, but I could also learn other aspects about the dairy industry,” Natasha shared. “I knew the processes and equipment because of my grandparents owning a dairy farm, but I wasn’t super familiar with dairy overall.”
During the last semester of her senior year, Natasha worked through all four DLT courses independently, including Introduction to Dairy, Introduction to Dairy Herd Management, Introduction to Dairy Business Management, and Introduction to Dairy Technologies.
“With the Dairy Technologies course, it was really eye-opening to see what kind of dairy technology is actually out there. Where I live, it’s a very rural community so a lot of farmers are hesitant to upgrade to higher innovations. I learned [this technology] could help them become more efficient,” she added.
The DLT courses were well-suited to Natasha’s independent nature and helped her make connections to other high school courses she was completing such as agricultural business. By earning six college credits, she began her college career a step ahead with a deep foundation of the dairy industry under her belt.
“I really like working independently on topics I’m passionate about. I liked how the DLT courses were self-paced,” she shared. “It helped me gain a lot of credits for just starting out in college. I’m currently a semester ahead as far as I’m aware. Even though I already had a strong foundation with my own livestock, DLT helped me have a better understanding to bring over to what I want to do after college.”
Natasha is considering becoming an AI technician and working in animal nutrition after graduation, or pursuing a career as a large animal veterinarian — both careers that will allow her to serve the dairy and agriculture industries.
Learn more about the DLT program and sign up to have access to curriculum, activities and more at no cost. Any costs associated with the Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow program are generously offset through contributions made to the Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania