CAHNRS Aggie of the Year seeks to make an impact in the world of agriculture

By Maya Wahl, CAHNRS Academic Programs

Our 2017 Aggie of the Year, Kyle Strachila, is one of CAHNRS best and brightest. A member of the Honors College, Kyle will graduate with two degrees: a bachelor of science in Economic Sciences with an option in Agricultural Economics, and a bachelor of science in Agriculture Food Systems with a major in Agricultural and Food Business Economics. It doesn’t stop there—he will also receive two minors, one in business and one in Spanish. He recently defended his honors thesis and passed with excellence. His research investigated how econometrics of the United States and Mexico explain immigration from Mexico to the U.S. There is no question that Kyle is an exemplary student and leader on and off campus. He has proven his excitement for agriculture is genuine and looks forward to serving the agriculture industry throughout his career.

Kyle was raised on his family’s dairy farm in Deming, Wash., and attended Mount Baker High School, where he was heavily involved in FFA. After graduation, he served as the 2011-2012 Washington State FFA Vice President. He says his experiences on the farm and with FFA developed his passion for agriculture. He came to WSU in the fall of 2012, ready to pursue a degree in agricultural economics and wanted to get involved with the student body. He joined Sigma Phi Epsilon his freshman year and immediately dove into leadership opportunities.

2017 Aggie of the Year Kyle Strachila and dean of CAHNRS Ron Mittelhammer at the CAHNRS Honors 2017 awards ceremony.

It doesn’t take long to realize that Kyle is a driven, intelligent young man who has demonstrated his natural leadership throughout his time at WSU. Not only did he work to make Sigma Phi Epsilon better by serving as the senior marshall on the Standards Board, he also worked his way up through ASWSU (Associated Students of Washington State University). He recently chaired his last meeting as the vice president of ASWSU and passed the baton to the newly elected officers.

“By taking on direct projects to better the community, providing unique experiences for students, and developing leadership skills in younger peers, I truly believe I’ve become a leader with a goal to make a difference wherever I go,” he said.

Beyond his experiences on campus, Kyle worked on his family’s dairy farm. His contributions to the family operation gave him an appreciation for agriculture. “I loved working on our farm, but I realized that I could have more of an impact on the industry off of it.”

This realization freed Kyle to pursue opportunities away from home. During the summer of 2015 he interned for Fisher Investments in Portland, where he stepped out of his comfort zone and “explored data analytics at a very successful investment firm.” Kyle has experienced the trials and tribulations of agricultural life as well as what it takes to be successful in the professional world.

Kyle’s academic advisor, Carla Makus, encouraged Kyle to challenge himself by joining the WSU Honors College and finding internships outside of agriculture. She made an impact on his decisions and he couldn’t be more grateful. His family also served as a support system while Kyle pursued his degrees. His older brother, Dan, continues to encourage him to make an impact elsewhere in the industry. While Kyle enjoys his time on the dairy, he aims to use his experiences to make the agricultural industry better.

He says that his favorite part about being a CAHNRS Coug is the wide array of majors with connections to multiple industries and groups of people—everyone can find a home in CAHNRS. Kyle appreciates the college-wide events that CAHNRS holds, which have made him feel welcomed and connected to the college.

After commencement, Kyle is moving to Raleigh, North Carolina, to work as a Sales Excellence Associate for Bayer Crop Science, starting in the sales management training program.

“I would love to have my career’s work focus on answering three questions: Will we have enough food? Will it be safe? And will it be sustainable? That is what I intend to pursue.”

Congratulations, Kyle, and best wishes for your continued success!