The choice to pursue dual degrees is often a testament to the diverse interests and ambitions of college students across Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  

Headshot of entomology major Kwency Ashley. He is wearing a white shirt with a dark jacket. He is also wearing glasses.
In his sophomore year, Kwency Ashley ’24 transferred to the Texas A&M College of Agriculture and Life Sciences looking forward to new education and career opportunities. (Texas A&M AgriLife photo by Kaitlyn Perkins)

For Kwency Ashley ‘24, his academic ambition and growing passions took off once he transferred to the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications his sophomore year. Encouraged by a curriculum that fosters exploration of diverse career paths, Ashley made the bold decision to pursue a degree that aligns with his dream career aspirations.

He quickly acclimated to his new academic environment by getting involved in student organizations such as Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences, MANRRS. He is now the president of MANRRS and is the secretary of the Agricultural Leadership Education and Communications Aggie Reps as well. 

Somewhere amidst his transition into college and exploring campus activities, Ashley discovered an interest in the Department of Entomology. This newfound passion led him to pursue a major in entomology, which he hopes to delve deeper into through opportunities with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service upon graduation.

Ashley sat down with us to chat about why he decided to double major in agricultural leadership and entomology. He offers his advice for prospective students and gives us a glimpse into his life as an undergraduate student in the College.

What sparked your interest in a degree in agricultural leadership education and communications?

My interest in this department stemmed from the advisors I interacted with during my sophomore year, after transferring majors from engineering. The department emphasized the various opportunities available, both on campus and in terms of career prospects, which really appealed to me. As someone who loves the freedom and flexibility to shape my academic path, I thought this program would be the perfect fit for me.

What made you decide to add a major in entomology?

I’m thankful that my degree program in leadership strongly pushes all students to minor or double major in an agriculture or life sciences field. Before I joined the entomology program, I took several environmental courses. Planet Earth and Public Health Entomology was a course that solidified my passion for entomology because I learned how pests and insects are crucial to crop production. Without insects like honeybees and other pollinators, much of the food we produce wouldn’t be viable.

What do you hope to do after you graduate? 

I would love to become an extension agent specializing in integrated pest management with AgriLife Extension.

My desire to be an extension agent stems from my college courses, particularly under the mentorship of a wonderful professor, Craig Rotter, Ph.D., assistant lecturer and executive director of the Texas Rural Leadership Program. He told me about his own work with AgriLife Extension, which gave me valuable insight and motivation to pursue this career.

Kwency Ashley standing with two others at a booth.
Kwency Ashley quickly became immersed in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications through student organizations on campus.(Courtesy photo)

What made you want to get involved in student organizations?

I was drawn to student organizations because I wanted to contribute to the department during my time here. Serving as a representative for the student body in the College seemed like a great opportunity. Additionally, as a minority, I recognized the value of the outreach opportunities available to me within the agricultural industry here at Texas A&M, and I knew it would be an invaluable experience.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

My advice for prospective students is to take everything day by day. Life can throw you curveballs, but it will all work out. Take your time to navigate your journey and seize every opportunity that comes your way.

Do you have a favorite insect?

My favorite insect is probably the ladybug. I know it’s just a ladybug, but that’s my favorite. I love them, and I always have.

Do you have a favorite ALEC class?

My favorite ALEC class so far has been personal leadership development. I’m going to be a teacher’s assistant for that class this semester. I love how the class allows students to apply leadership theory to personal experiences.

We hear you’re a rock collector. Tell us about that hobby.

I’ve been collecting rocks since I was about six, and I’ve collected them from across the nation, from California to Florida. My fascination with collecting rocks was sparked during a visit to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science. I was captivated by their extensive rock collection.

I have 300 different rocks, and about 100 are from Texas. Although it’s a niche hobby, I always love the chance to share my collection with others.

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