SJR STATE ALUMNI SPOTLIGHTS
Stephen Singleton (2018)
YBS Manager, Farm Credit of Florida
Each month, SJR State honors one of its own in an alumni salute, celebrating the career milestones, community contributions and personal reflections of those who began their collegiate journey as SJR State Vikings.
STEPHEN, WHERE DID YOU TRANSFER AFTER COMPLETING YOUR A.A. DEGREE?
The University of Florida. I earned a Bachelor’s in Environmental Management in Ag and Natural Resources, with a minor in Agricultural Policy and Ethics.
WHAT ARE YOU DOING TODAY?
I am currently the YBS Manager at Farm Credit of Florida. YBS manager stands for young, beginning, small farmer manager. This program is designed to help those who are just getting started in the ag industry, or who are farming while keeping a full-time job elsewhere.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO STUDY AT SJR STATE?
I knew personally that jumping straight to a major university wouldn’t be the best track for me academically, nor financially. By starting at SJR State, I was able to build study habits and time management skills that made me successful in my future academic endeavors.
WHAT DID YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING A STUDENT AT SJR STATE?
I loved how easily accessible the professors were and how they took the time to ensure you had all the resources needed to be the best student you could be.
WHAT/WHO IMPACTED YOU THE MOST DURING THAT TIME?
Professor Mark Moore, who I had for biology, was more than a professor. He pushed me to be the best version of myself when I wanted to settle for the average version. He was also helpful in ensuring that many of the courses and activities I participated in at SJR State would benefit me in my long-term academic goals.
WHAT DID YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING DURING YOUR STUDIES AT SJR STATE?
One of the most challenging things would probably be trying to juggle and balance between academics and extracurricular activities. Wanting to be fully engaged in the campus culture while also maintaining a rigorous academic schedule proved to be quite challenging at times.
WHAT INSPIRED YOUR INTEREST IN YOUR MAJOR/DEGREE?
I knew that an A.A. degree from SJR State would open up many doors for me later down the road. Even though my original plans have changed (I no longer want to attend law school), it was the basis of what I learned at SJR State, along with the flexibility of the programming that has allowed me to find my true passion - serving the agriculture industry. While this may not fall into the production realm, working at Farm Credit of Florida allows me to give farmers access to the funds that help them to feed our growing population.
PLEASE SHARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS IN THIS FIELD.
I will always be passionate about the agricultural community. Many of the lessons that college couldn’t teach me, the family farm could. As I will always play an active role in my family’s operation, I also have a desire to serve as a voice for our industry. I have already started to share our message with both our legislators and our consumers.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO STUDENTS?
I would say one of the mistakes I made early on was chasing a career path that seemed to be what everyone said I should be. I think many students get caught up in this trap, and once you graduate and enter that field you find that you are not happy. My one piece of advice would be to find a program that truly fuels your passion, and that is going to look different for every single person.
ANY OTHER COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR ACADEMIC AND/OR FUTURE CAREER JOURNEY?
Don’t be afraid to change career paths. College is as much learning about yourself as it is learning about your field.
PLEASE SHARE YOUR COMMUNITY SERVICE ACCOMPLISHMENTS
Commissioner on the Hastings Drainage District Board Active member of the Florida Farm Bureau Member of the PHS FFA Advisory Council
ARE YOU AN SJR STATE ALUMNUS?
Click on the link below to share your recent accomplishments and join the SJR State Alumni Association today - we'd love to hear from you! SJRstate.edu/alumni.html