Natalie Yoder is a “people person” who doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty. She received her undergraduate degree in geography from the University of Texas. Yoder always loved growing things. After graduating from UT, she worked on farms, started her own business, and spent a year in AmeriCorps running a university farm in California. She never had the intention of going back to school.
Yoder wanted to teach agriculture, but said she realized she didn’t know enough about the science behind it, and in 2012, Yoder enrolled at CSU to earn a master’s degree in horticulture. Soon after starting school, her advisor left to start a peach farm, giving her the opportunity to play a bigger role in the specialty crops program.
“As a master’s student, I got great opportunities to work with students through teaching and advising and to develop curriculum for organic specialty crops classes,” she said.
Yoder’s occupied her time at CSU teaching and working with local farmers to develop organic fertilizers. She also represented CSU at the Young Farmer Coalition and at Northern Colorado Food Cluster meetings. Yoder said one of the biggest challenges was feeling like she was very experienced in agriculture in the non-university setting and realizing she was at the bottom of the totem pole when it came to agriculture in academia.
After graduation, Yoder hopes to stay in Larimer County and continue working in agriculture. Her dream job would be to continue educating, researching and working directly with farmers.
“I’m inspired by people, people who are kind and enthusiastic and really care for the people around them and who are pursuing their passion,” she said. “People like my advisor, Jessica Davis, or my co-graduate students who believe we can really make positive changes in agriculture. I’m also thrilled to meet students who show that same enthusiasm and love for sustainable agriculture. This semester I taught a soil fertility lab full of wonderful students who all really cared about the subject and that was endlessly inspiring!”
Contact: Kayla Green
Telephone: (970) 491-7099