Today@Sam Article

Commencement Spotlight: Jessica Mayhew

Dec. 6, 2022
SHSU Media Contact: Mikah Boyd

Each semester, the Commencement Spotlight series highlights graduating Bearkats with a “can-do” spirit through challenge and service.

Jessica Mayhew      
Onalaska, Texas
Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering Technology

Breaking the glass ceiling in any industry is a feat in itself but breaking into the field of agricultural mechanics is a mountainous task that Jessica Mayhew has conquered. After deciding to major in agricultural engineering technology she had to ignore the naysayers and show them that women can lead and succeed in the male dominated industry.

Mayhew was inspired to attend Sam Houston State University by an alumna who was serving as a student teacher at Mayhew’s high school during the spring of 2019, her graduation year.

“She found out that I had yJessica Mayhew 3et to apply for college and quite literally sat me down and forced me to fill out my Sam Houston State University application and the rest was history,” Mayhew said. “I will forever be grateful to her for introducing me to SHSU.”

Since her arrival on campus, she has been paving the way for other ambitious female ag students while also putting in hours as a volunteer in the industry. For the past three semesters, Mayhew has been an agricultural ambassador during Saturday@Sam and traveled to different schools across the state to share her experiences at SHSU. She has also served as a judge for ag mechanics shows around the state and beyond such as the FFA National Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Career Development Event in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

“Traveling across the county with a group of 16 college students representing SHSU at the National FFA Convention definitely left a mark on me,” Mayhew said. “I made some of my lifelong friends on that trip.”

Her successes in and out of the classroom came after she worked hard to gain the respect of her peers. While working toward this goal she had the support of two professors who would push her to succeed in the classroom and workshop, allowing her to grow confident in her skills.

“I didn’t come into the program with any confidence, it took me weeks to be brave enough to do anything without asking for help because I feared being wrong or judged,” Mayhew said.  “But one day I realized that I’m not always going to have someone to hold my hand, that if I want to succeed as a woman in ag mechanics and want people to respect me, I have to respect myself first.”

Upon graduation, Mayhew will continue her studies here at SHSU as in pursuit of a master’s in agricultural sciences degree while also working as a teaching assistant in the agricultural engineering technology department. From there, she aims to teach at the high school level and is considering pursuing a doctorate and teaching in higher education. In the meantime, she said she will always remember her time at SHSU and all she learned.

“SHSU has given me so much more than just an education, I’ve found love, happiness, friends and family throughout my time here at Sam,” Mayhew said. “The relationships I have developed and the lessons I have learned here are some that I will carry with me for a lifetime.”

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