UMO student finds value in opportunities at smaller university

Jennings -

MOUNT OLIVE — Josh Jennings of Hertford is no stranger to agriculture. His family owns and operates B&S Enterprises, a Case IH dealership, with three locations in North Carolina.

“I grew up in the shop, working on equipment and doing everything,” Jennings said. I started sweeping the floor when I was in the third grade. So, I mean, I’ve been working there all my life.”

It was therefore no surprise that after completing high school, Jennings wanted to earn a degree in ag business. He applied to and was accepted at several colleges, and was particularly interested in attending one of North Carolina’s land grant institutions.

“I wanted to go to NC State,” he said. “I had gotten in, but they gave me little to no money at all. I got a letter from the University of Mount Olive about a week before I had to pick where I was going to go. They gave me an academic scholarship. When touring the school, I realized it was a small community and it seemed like the people really cared. My father told me, ‘Forget about NC State. Go where you’re wanted. Obviously they (UMO) want you. Give them a chance.’ So, that’s what I did, I came to UMO with the mindset that I was going to switch after two years. Now, I’m a junior, and I plan on staying here for the remainder of my education.”

At UMO, Jennings is a resident advisor (RA), a peer mentor for the freshman seminar classes, and a campus tour guide. He is a member of the collegiate FFA and is vice chair of the Young Farmers and Ranchers. This past year, Jennings participated in an internship with Kornegay Family Farms and Produce in Princeton, North Carolina. He assisted with their food safety management, and did things related to GAP certifications. He has also had the opportunity to speak at the House of Representatives and to meet multiple senators and legislators.

“All of these experiences I have had at UMO have developed my leadership characteristics, enhanced my public speaking ability, and helped me to make connections that will benefit me in the future,” he said. “These are opportunities that I probably never would have received at a larger institution. At UMO, they know me by name. The professors and staff not only care about me as a person, but they care about making sure I succeed.”

Jennings was recently selected as one of five UMO students to receive the prestigious Handy Mart Business scholarship, a $10,000 award for both his junior and senior years at UMO.

“I am very appreciative of Mr. Judson Pope and his father for giving me this scholarship,” he said.

After graduation Jennings plans to return to Hertford and help run the family business, but for now he is making the most of every opportunity at UMO.