MOUNT OLIVE — For many, career ideas and aspirations are discovered well into a college career. For others, plans for the future come from a childhood dream. For Roseboro native Amanda Kook, the foundation of her future was sown in the soil of Sampson County.
Unlike many agricultural students, Kook did not come from a farming family. However, that did not dissuade her.
“Growing up in a rural area allowed me to view farming differently than others,” Kook said. “We are surrounded by agriculture.”
Kook got involved with FFA at Lakewood High School. She took numerous courses under the instruction of engaging teachers. It was during these years that she discovered the depth of the industry and developed a passion for it.
Kook soon realized that the work of farmers is the foundation for the entire world. “Without it we would not be alive. I love being a part of that.”
Wanting to pursue an education and a career in agriculture, Kook enrolled at the University of Mount Olive. She is majoring in agriculture production with a concentration in animal science.
“I love the sense of community between the students and the faculty in the UMO Ag Department,” she said. Kook’s time at UMO has been full of academic success. She has made the dean’s list for multiple semesters, worked as a campus tour guide, and served as a member of the Collegiate FFA.
Through the UMO Ag Department, Kook was able to land two internships with Prestage Farms in Clinton. Her first internship was on a sow farm working with sows and pigs. Her second internship was in one of the company’s artificial insemination labs.
“I have really enjoyed both of my internships with Prestage Farms because they have allowed me to learn a great deal about the swine industry,” She said.
Following the internship, Kook was offered and accepted a job with Prestage Farms.
Kook feels that many of her life choices have been influenced by her Sampson County roots, and she is grateful to have grown up in an area that could give her such an appreciation for the farming industry and those who are a part of it.
“Growing up here has allowed me to learn and see how much farmers care about their products and the people they are producing it for. It has allowed me to learn that I can be happy in agriculture and help others while doing it.”
Kook is set to graduate from UMO in May 2018. She is the daughter of Regina and Christopher Kook, and sister to twin brother Andrew.