Editor’s note: This article is one of a series of articles featuring the leaders of the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation.

Mariah Martin joined the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation in spring 2018, the same year she graduated from UW-Madison with a degree in life-sciences communication. She had joined the student chapter in 2014, participating throughout her college years.

Martin is putting her college degree to work as an account associate for Osborn Barr, a marketing-communications company in St. Louis. She supports internal communications and manages projects for the United Soybean Board.

She also supports CommonGround, a joint program of the National Corn Growers Association, the United Soybean Board and their state affiliates. Through the work of farm-women volunteers, CommonGround is an advocacy program that connects women on and off the farm. They hold conversations about how food is grown. The program is a good fit for Martin, who said one of the reasons she pursued a degree in life-sciences communications was to help people understand where their food is produced and to give farmers a voice.

One of the reasons she joined the Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation, she said, was that she appreciated the way members interact with students. She serves as a co-chair for the association’s programming committee.

“I help plan events for alumni and students,” she said. “We hold the events in both a professional and fun environment.”

She currently is helping to plan the annual Association of Women in Agriculture Day, which will be held Apr. 13 in Madison, Wisconsin. The program will feature student scholarships and special awards such as outstanding senior, outstanding alumni and outstanding woman in agriculture.

“The association provides students professional-development opportunities,” Martin said. “I learned how to dress and act in interviews, for example. Not many other organizations provide that kind of help. Alumni share both their triumphs and mistakes.”

Through the organization Martin met Julie Larson, vice president of Filament, a marketing-communications firm in Madison. Larson helped Martin to coordinate alumni panels, where alumni share their career experiences at student-chapter meetings. Larson also served as a mentor when Martin was a student intern at Filament.

“I was happy to provide Mariah career advice,” Larson said.

Martin wasn’t raised on a farm, but her mother’s family had a dairy farm. Martin said she enjoyed visiting the farm as well as participating in the Brooklyn (Wisconsin) Mighty Mites 4-H Club. There she was involved in dairy, rabbit, clothing and baking projects. She also held offices in the club, serving as secretary, vice-president and president.

She said a number of people have helped her in school and in her career. One of those people is Sarah Botham, a faculty associate in the department of life-sciences communication at UW-Madison. Botham also serves as the adviser for the UW-Madison student chapter of the National Agri-Marketing Association.

“Mariah is one of the most organized and committed people I know,” Botham said. “She’s not afraid to take on any challenge. The more you challenge her, the more she wants to learn.”

Martin encourages young women in agriculture to reach out to other women in the industry.

“It can be scary to reach out, but the group of women in agriculture, while small, is strong, and they want to look out for one another,” she said. “They can offer professional and personal advice. I hope I can be that person for others.”

Visit awamadison.org and findourcommonground.com for more information.

The Association of Women in Agriculture Benefit Corporation’s mission is to advance the education of women in agriculture. The organization also supports the student chapter of the Association of Women in Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Visit awamadison.org for more information.

Lynn Grooms writes about the diversity of agriculture, including the industry’s newest ideas, research and technologies as a staff reporter for Agri-View based in Wisconsin. Email lgrooms@madison.com to contact her.