MOUNT OLIVE — For Sampson County native Cody Langston, life has offered many twists and turns. Despite changing plans and rerouting his life, he has found adventure and opportunity across the country and even across the world. Recently, he has embarked on yet another adventure, but this time, he’s right here at home.
Langston grew up in Turkey with his parents Denise and Willie Langston, and his younger brother Will. From a young age, he felt the influence of Sampson’s County’s environment on his life.
In 2003, Langston graduated from Hobbton High School and started at Sampson Community College where he completed his associate’s degree in criminal justice. He had plans to immediately transfer his courses and continue his education, but according to Langston, “Life got in the way.” Instead, he entered the workforce.
On August 2, 2011, Langston’s life changed forever when he made the decision to serve in the United States Army. He spent two years as a Human Intelligence Collector, during which time he was deployed to Afghanistan. For the remainder of his time, he worked as a Special Agent.
“I served five years and four months as a soldier for our great nation,” Langston said. During this time, he was granted numerous opportunities. “I was fortunate to travel to various states and countries during my time as a soldier. The army also allowed me the ability to earn my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice,” he said. He participated in a distance education program with the University of Oklahoma.
As he approached the end of his military service, Langston felt sure that he would find a career in law enforcement. However, he never felt settled with that decision. “As I started thinking about what I wanted to do, how I wanted to make an impact, and the amount of time I wanted to spend with my family, I found myself wanting to become an agriculture education teacher,” he said.
Just like that, Langston was on the way back to his Sampson County roots. He traveled to the University of Mount Olive (UMO) and spoke with Tim Warren, his former high school agriculture teacher, about enrolling. After talking with Warren about what it is like to be a teacher and discussing UMO’s agriculture programs, Langston felt certain of his future. “I had made up my mind that I would become a Trojan as soon as possible,” he said.
Langston enrolled at UMO in January of 2017, and is now double majoring in agriculture education and agriculture production. For Langston, UMO is a perfect fit. Not only is the school a comfortable commuting distance from his home in Newton Grove, but it has also provided him with hands-on opportunities in the discipline that he loves. He plans to graduate in 2019.
Langston’s passion for agriculture can be traced back to his early life. “Agriculture has always been a part of my life,” he said. He remembers helping his family in their fields and gardens and setting out tobacco plants for his uncle. When he reached high school, he made sure he took at least one agriculture course every semester. Because of his early exposure to farming, he calls his choice of studying agriculture “inevitable”.
After completing his education at UMO, Langston hopes to teach agriculture and provide his students with the support and opportunities that he was given during his youth. “I hope to instill a passion and understanding of agriculture in my students. I want to make a difference.”
Langston and his wife, Caroline, have a son, Trevor.