As a founding member of the Cal-Eta Chapter of Alpha Zeta at California State University at Chico, one can assume that Emily Morgan was an extremely active collegiate member. When she was elected to chapter president, Emily took it upon herself to make sure Alpha Zeta members were receiving the most out of being part of the fraternity. She connected Alpha Zeta with the agricultural career fair, helped plan a campus wide Ag Day and planned an annual fundraiser that benefited scholarship funds for Ag-students.
Some of her most rewarding experiences came from her involvement with Alpha Zeta at the national level. Emily served two terms on the High Council and has been part of NALC/Conclaves since 2004. But the AZ Relief Trips and National Service Projects are what left the strongest impression on her. Emily attended her first Relief Trip in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area and local farmers and ranchers. Other Relief Trips followed after Hurricane Rita in 2006 and 2007, and Hurricane Ike in 2008.
"What a life changing experience that was." Emily said, referring to the work done and people she met during the Relief Trips. And because of the fellowship of Alpha Zeta, she never felt uncomfortable working with other chapters on the National Service Projects and was always keen to attend the following year.
One of her most memorable experiences from Alpha Zeta was on her second trip to Southwest Louisiana:
"I had the opportunity to spend a day with Mr. Hank Moss, a rancher, horseman, crawfish farmer, rice farmer and manager of the SW Louisiana bayou system, whom we worked for the previous year. After spending a wild day working cattle on young horses, he treated me to lunch with his bayou managers, a bunch of good ol’ Cajuns. I’m not sure if it was English or French they spoke, but I didn’t understand a word of it! We dined on homemade Wild Goose Gumbo and corn bread. It was and still is my all time Best Meal Ever. It was coupled with a relaxing but somber horseback ride through cattle fields as he told me the details of how he lost his house that 4 Moss-men have grown up in along with every barn on the ranch due to Hurricane Rita. The only thing left standing was half of his grand mahogany kitchen, and an old rusty windmill that his great-grandpa first erected when he first homesteaded the land. These are memories and images that I will always carry with me."
After College, it was her involvement with Alpha Zeta that led Emily to where she is today, because her first job had nothing to do with agriculture. "I knew as long as Alpha Zeta was there, my mind would always wonder back to a career in agriculture," she said.
Now a cheese maker for Cowgirl Creamery on the coast of Northern California, Emily cannot get enough of her hobby-turned-career. She says,"the work is difficult and very strict, but the product is a thing of delicious beauty."
When asked about the impact that Alpha Zeta has had on her life, Emily
says AZ gave her the leadership
opportunities she was looking for in college. She felt comfortable
around her AZ peers locally and nationally, when she didn’t always jive
with other students at her own school. AZ also provided the opportunity
to visit parts of the country she never thought she wanted to go or
have the opportunity to visit.
"I have AZ friends from all over the country that I still keep in touch with."
But, most importantly, AZ gave her confidence. "I became a leader because I was surrounded by other leaders." She says people are fascinated with the experiences she's had; they are all because of Alpha Zeta.
Emily encourages alumni to stay active with Alpha Zeta. She recognizes the opportunity alumni have to make an impact on a member's life. "For a student, having a knowledgeable connection in the field doesn't just help with job recruitment, it helps provide that boost of self-confidence."