National FFA Week WIU Alumni Spotlight-Jay Solomonson ’02
Jay Solomonson is the Director of Career and Technical Education & the Agricultural Education and Cooperative Education Instructor at Orion High School (Orion, IL). He is currently on a sabbatical leave with the school district as he is working on his doctorate in agricultural education at Iowa State University.
Jay chose WIU for the hands-on approach used for instruction, the fact that all of the students and faculty knew one another, the leadership opportunities available through student organizations, and the quality of education that you receive at an affordable price. WIU left it’s mark on him as well. “My years at WIU were some of the best years of my life. Besides taking classes, I was very active in many student organizations on campus where I had the opportunity to develop as both a leader and as an individual. The people I met through these organizations have become some of my best friends, and I continue to keep in touch with most of them even today.”
There are several memories throughout his career that make Jay feel proud, but he is most proud when “a senior or former student tells me that they are going to go into an agricultural career that they weren’t considering before taking my class. It warms my heart to hear that I was influential in their decision to enter the agricultural industry, especially those students who tell me that they want to go into agricultural education.”
Jay understands the challenges that agriculture education students now face. His advice is to “Stick with it! There are many hoops and obstacles one must go through to earn their professional teaching license now days. Don’t get discouraged and keep with it. Working in the classroom is one of the most rewarding experiences one can have. It is completely worth it to finish the program and get certified. You will not regret it!”
We look forward to seeing what the future holds for the soon-to-be Dr. Jay Solomonson.
Think Purple. Think Agriculture. Think Western.