the agriculturist

More Than Palspals

Story and Photo by Caitlin Bagnall


The College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources Ag Pal Program is dedicated to assisting undergraduate students during their transition into college by creating a bond between upperclassmen in the college and incoming undergraduate students. The relationship between an Ag Pal and their mentor can make an impact on a student’s entire time at Texas Tech University.

Meet Skylar

Skylar Sowder, junior in agricultural economics, is from Sudan, Texas. She says she heard about the Ag Pal program from her brother, who was involved in the program when he attended Texas Tech.

As a freshman, Skylar loved the experience she had with her Ag Pal, which motivated her to provide the same friendship and support to incoming freshman as a mentor for the past two years.

“I like both sides; they are just different,” said Skylar. “You can only be a freshman once, but you can be on the other side of Ag Pals for as long as you’re at Texas Tech.”

An important commitment of being a mentor in the Ag Pal Program is making a welcome basket for all Ag Pals to receive upon moving into the dorms.  In addition, mentors  and Ag Pals attend the Ag Fest together during the first week of the fall semester together, and make sure they are available to answer any questions.

With a passion like Skylar’s it is easy to find the motivation to encourage others.

“I really like to meet new people and I really like Texas Tech, so whenever people come to Texas Tech I’m really excited that they are here,” said Skylar. “I want them to feel welcome. I want them to love it as much as I do.”

Meet Shelbie

Shelbie Reid, freshman in agricultural communications, is from Coahoma, Texas. She says that almost all of her family has attended Texas Tech. Her cousin, who graduated from Texas Tech in December 2010 was an agricultural communications major as well, and encouraged Shelbie to live on the agriculture floor in the dorms and become involved in Ag Pals.

“She told me they are really helpful and could point me in the right direction as a freshman,” said Shelbie.

After moving to Lubbock, Shelbie agreed with her cousin’s advice and is glad she enrolled in the program.

“I think it’s a stress reliever to know that if I ever did have a question I could just text or call and my Ag Pal would be more than willing to help me and tell me anything,” said Shelbie. “It really is comforting.”