Kari Slinden: Celebrating Women in Agriculture
March 22, 2022
Hi everyone, March is National Women’s History Month and today, March 22, is National Agriculture Day, two of my passions!
My name is Kari Slinden and I am an instructor in the Agriculture Department at Ridgewater College in Willmar. My backstory, I grew up outside of New London, Minnesota with 3 sisters. We lived in the country, but did not live on a farm until I was 9 years old.
My mom is a chiropractor and she had a patient that raised beef cattle and sheep. He thought it would be great if we took an interest in raising livestock. He mentored us and helped us learn about raising and showing Black Angus cattle.
Fast forward 5 years and my sisters and I were involved in 4-H, FFA, and the Minnesota and National Jr. Angus Associations. I loved cattle, the organizations I was involved in and the agriculture industry. I wanted to continue to be involved with agriculture and started looking into future careers.
My two high school ag teachers encouraged me to think about teaching. I attended Ridgewater College for my Liberal Arts Degree and took as many ag classes as I could fit in my schedule.
I then transferred to North Dakota State University in Fargo for Agricultural Education with a minor in Extension. Meaning I got my teaching degree and learned more about Extension and 4-H. I was able to do three internships, working in two different counties, with the University of Minnesota Extension and 4-H summer programs. I thought it was awesome that I could help at the country fair and run summer day camps for Renville and Chippewa Counties.
My last semester of school I was able to student teach at Howard Lake-Waverly-Winstead HS. What an amazing program and students they have there, as well as a very supportive ag community. Buffalo-Hanover-Montrose HS had an opening for their Agricultural Educator and FFA Advisor and I was blessed to work there for two years. I loved being a HS teacher and advisor, chaperoning summer camps, providing hands-on learning in the classroom and getting to know my FFA members and families.
When the Livestock Instructor position at Ridgewater College became available, it was an opportunity to get closer to home and teach in a postsecondary setting. I have been doing what I love for 9 years now. I enjoy learning from students, getting to see them on internship visits, taking them on tours and trips, and hearing updates from them when they are happy in their careers.
During my time at Ridgewater, I have seen the number of females in our program grow exponentially. I think there are many reasons for that, but there are many more female High School ag teachers now.
My goals for the future include making my classes even more hands-on and fun. I want to continue to help students find careers they are passionate about. I want to continue to connect students with industry. And I want to continue to grow, learn, and love what I do.