What made you join Alpha Zeta? Are you from the Central Valley? Have you always had a passion for agriculture?
Hitchcock: “Growing up in the small farming community of Chowchilla, CA, I was fortunate enough to have been exposed to agriculture at a young age. While not directly associated with agriculture as a child, I was able to foster my heartfelt passion for agriculture through my active involvement in the Chowchilla FFA Chapter. Through my involvement within the local agricultural education program, I was deeply inspired to pursue a career within the profession of agricultural education. This endeavor lead me to the greatest university, Fresno State, where I quickly found a new home within the Jordan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology. As an eager college freshman, I joined a plethora of committees and organizations within the college of agriculture. The upperclassmen that I had come to know as my mentors and friends were all involved in Alpha Zeta and when I received the invitation my second semester of college, I could not have been more thrilled to partake in the fraternity that stands for the pillars of scholarship, leadership, character, and fellowship. As Alpha Zeta members are ‘leaders for the world of agriculture’, my horizons were broadened significantly through networking, community service, leadership conferences, advocating for agriculture, and welcoming others into our organization. I was able to connect with Alpha Zeta brothers all over the nation and was fortunate to have served the Cal Epsilon chapter as chapter Censor for two culminating years where I brought in over sixty new initiates. Additionally, I was afforded the opportunity to serve on the National AZ Foundation Board as the winner of the top national scholarship for two consecutive years. I was able to attend the National Agriculture Leadership Conference all four years of my undergraduate degree and received the National Censor of the Year award in 2014. I owe so much of my collegiate successes to the Alpha Zeta fraternity and the amazing individuals I met along the way. I will forever cherish all that I was able to experience and grow from in this organization.”
Since graduation, what have you been up to? Do you have a small business? Are you working for a Valley business or corporation? Etc.
Hitchcock: “Since graduation in 2015, I pursued my California teaching credentials at Fresno State and became a fully credentialed teacher in the state of California. Today, I am in my second year as a high school Agriculture Teacher here in the Central Valley, and am currently pursuing my Master of Agricultural Education degree from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. I am happily married to my husband Garrett and we recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Tenley Marie, into our lives in August of 2017. I am thoroughly enjoying my early career as a high school ag. teacher. While it is an extremely demanding career, it sure is rewarding. I am able to inspire and teach my students day in and day out about the world of opportunity that lies within the realms of agriculture. Life as a new mother, wife, and Ag teacher can be overwhelming, though somehow it all works out.”
What is your advice to students approaching graduation? How can they prepare for life outside of college?
Hitchcock: “Preparing for life outside of college is no easy task. Uncertainty within one's future is tough, especially for a planner, type A people like me. My advice for the young professional is to first pursue a career or profession in which you are passionate about. Do it with passion, or not at all. Additionally, broaden your horizons through setting yourself apart from the rest and networking with as many people as you can. When you market yourself professionally, you obtain great strides. It is equally said of networking with diverse individuals. Do not be afraid to introduce yourself to anyone with an authentic conversation in mind. Build those integral connections and foster them so that they remain stable for years to come. The agriculture industry is made up of some of the most hardworking, genuine people you will ever meet. Expand your circle, express integrity, return the favor, write the thank you, and always remain humble and kind.”
What are some of the things you learned or gained in Alpha Zeta that helped you make it to where you are today?
Hitchcock: “My time in Alpha Zeta truly allowed me the opportunity to meet special individuals whom I am honored to now call friends. These people have been there for me in times of triumph and celebration and to this day, I still keep in contact with many of them. Without these opportunities in which I was graciously afforded, I would not be the professional I am today. Grow yourself, take that chance, and make friends along the way.”
We loved hearing how Alpha Zeta helped Brittany get where she is today, and how she has made an impact in agriculture through education. Thank you for your time, Brittany. We can't wait to see what you will do next.
Stay tuned for more alumni highlights.