We asked several CAHNRS Ambassadors, excellent students who love WSU and their college, to name their favorite professors. And now we’re featuring those nominated educators in this weekly series.
Today we’re showcasing J.D. Baser, an agricultural education instructor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences. Here are his answers to a few questions:
How did you pick this as a career?
I have two degrees from WSU in Agricultural Education and Education Administration. After fifteen years of teaching high school agriculture in the Mount Baker and Pomeroy school districts and two years as principal at Whitman Elementary in Lewiston, Idaho, I wanted the chance to give back to my profession. By training future agricultural educators, I can continue to help Career and Technical Education students across the state of Washington by training teachers. My goal was to eventually serve as a school superintendent or work at the university training future agricultural educators.
What is your favorite thing about teaching college students?
I enjoy getting to know their interests outside of going to WSU. It is fun to discuss their hometowns, their hobbies, their dreams, and the challenges they have faced to get to this point in their life. I also enjoy sharing my Cougar Pride with my students. I knew I wanted to be a Coug as a freshman in high school (because of my agriculture teachers in Prosser) and I love talking about the history, sports, the ups and downs of being part of the Cougar Family.
Why do you love what you do?
I have taught students that range in age from 3 years old to 50+ years old. It doesn’t matter what age they are, some students are tougher to get to know than others. I really do enjoy the moment I make a connection with “that student” that is tougher to figure out. It may be the middle of the semester or during dead week but, when there is finally some common ground with a student, it makes me feel good.
If you could provide any tips or advice for your students, or WSU students in general, what would they be?
Many times it is not what you know but, who you know. I believe your professional and personal happiness is based upon relationships. Productivity is important, but, at the end of the day, if you don’t enjoy what you’re doing because of who you work with, is it really worth it? Find a passion and work toward your goals based upon your passion.
Any other words of wisdom you’d like to pass along?
Enjoy your time at WSU. Realize the relationships that you build with your friends, classmates, and professors will follow you through your life and career. You can share your memories of being a Coug with others for years to come. And, the connection to Pullman will often help you professionally and personally as Cougs help Cougs.