The “Cream of the Crop”

The Governor’s School for Agriculture at Virginia Tech is a month long summer educational program for gifted high school students across Virginia. In order to make the program run smoothly, there are 10 Governor School Leaders (nicknamed GSL’s) who are in charge of all of the students. Featured in this blog are two beloved GSL’s, Ryan Amaral and Joyce Kuo, a power team known as “Royce”!

                         Ryan Amaral                                           Joyce Kuo

  Ryan Amaral didn’t come to Governor’s School for Agriculture as a student, but when Adam asked him to be a GSL he agreed because it matched up with his interests. If he were to be in Governor’s School, though, his interest would be in Plant Science or Economics. Unlike some of the other GSLs, he has a background in agriculture — he grew up on almond farm, or “amand” farm, as he calls it, and raised animals for 4-H and Future Farmers of America (FFA). His undergraduate degree is in Agricultural Business, and he is currently working on his Masters in Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education.

Despite his wide experience with agriculture, though, one of his favorite parts about Governor’s School is learning about new aspects of the subject that he’s not as familiar with, such as food safety. He also loves meeting the students here, who he says are friendly, energetic, and accepting.

Ryan’s favorite thing about being a GSL is being around the students. He says it makes up for the long work days, which can be tough because it’s hard to balance spending time with people and sleeping. At least he can catch up on his sleep on his days off, which he says is also when he eats at anywhere other than D2 to make up for having meals there every other day.

Ryan is on Level 14 for the Red Valor team in Pokemon Go, and he is an avid player, saying “gotta catch em all!”

Joyce is a very interesting GSL because she goes to the University of Virginia, but decided to spend her summer at Virginia Tech, UVA’s rival school. The reason Joyce applied to be a GSL was because she attended the program herself when she was in high school and really wanted to come back. Although Joyce has no agricultural background, one of her former counselors suggested for her to apply so she could experience the other side of the program.

Joyce’s favorite thing about being a GSL is getting to know and spend time with all of the kids. She really appreciates how nice everyone is and not “cliquey” because when she was here everyone formed groups and was exclusive. Joyce explained how it can be difficult as a GSL dealing with unexpected circumstances, but in the end it’s worth being with such a great group of students.

Due to the fact that Joyce just finished her first year at UVA and was forced to eat in their dining halls, she completely loves D2 food. UVA is not known for having great quality food so she is thankful for all the options D2 has to offer.

Just like Ryan, Joyce loves to play Pokemon Go, but she is not that devoted because she doesn’t have enough time to wander around campus. Even though Ryan is on level 14 and Joyce is on level 8, they can still be found playing together!

 About the Authors:

Emme Seale is an intelligent, outgoing, and creative student in Virginia Tech’s Governor’s School for Agriculture. Emme is a very active leader in Young Life, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, in her church, and is always looking for new leadership opportunities. Her interest and passion for leadership prompted her to interview the governor school leaders to find out about their lives.

Delaney Madden is an enthusiastic student who loves to help others. When she’s not giving her teammates tips at field hockey, basketball, or track practice, she leads her school’s Key Club to serve her community. She loves to learn new things, especially about other people.

Got Milk?

Rich, creamy, delicious, refreshing.

Four words that can only be used to describe one thing- chocolate milk. Virginia Tech students agree that this heavenly beverage found at D2 is one of the campus’s most prized possessions.

It’s not only the taste that attracts students to this milky goodness. The true pride lies in the fact that it’s directly from Kentland Farm, making it all the more special. While the D2 dining hall also offers drinks such as soda and juice, the supply for the milk is always running low.

While waiting in line, many students question what makes the chocolate milk so good. We interviewed Vy Nguyen, a governor’s school student who is one of many fans.

Interviewer: Have you tried the chocolate milk from D2?

Vy: Yes, I have!

Interviewer: How do you feel about the chocolate milk?

Vy: I love it, it’s the best thing I’ve ever had.

Interviewer: Why do you say that?

Vy: Well, it’s really thick, creamy, and chocolatey. I know some people don’t like the super sweet taste that comes with it, but I love it.

Interviewer: After taking a class on dairy science, did you gain more appreciation for the chocolate milk here on campus?

Vy: Definitely, especially because I found out it was produced here at Virginia Tech – which explains the fresh taste. It’s pretty cool to think that just a few days ago, the milk was just coming out of the udders, and now I’m drinking it.

Interviewer: I couldn’t agree more. Thanks for your time, Vy!

Vy: Thank you!

Governor’s school students have been able to learn more about the process of how cows make milk and the techniques used to make it safe to drink. Through learning about the mammary gland and how the blood flow in cows helps provide the necessary nutrients, we have become better educated consumers. For example, prior to the lecture, it could be assumed that most of the governor’s school students were aware that the majority of milk is water, at 87.4%. However, the fact that lactose, one of the milk solids, is the second most common component of milk, is something that most students had not realized.

Even though most people drink every day, and the science behind it has always been available to us, learning the process of how milk is produced is new knowledge for governor’s school students. And with this knowledge, we have gained a better appreciation for the milk.

While the two-ingredient beverage may seem so simple, the background knowledge that the governor’s students have acquired from dairy science classes has granted a new level of appreciation. From learning about the composition of milk, physiology of milk synthesis, and local raised dairy, Virginia Tech has surely offered the true “farm to table” experience.

So the next time you find yourself at a D2, be sure to grab yourself a glass of chocolate milk and rest easy knowing that you’re drinking a local farm-raised and student-praised treasure.

About the Authors:

Sophia Kane is a cellist, cross country runner, and chocolate milk enthusiast. She is a rising senior at Monticello High School, located in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is currently attending Governor’s School for Agriculture.

Rebecca Woodhouse is a rising junior, raised in Northern Virginia. As an avid runner, she loves to spend time outside and with friends. However, she also loves cooking and eating tasty food. She is excited to be spending time at Virginia Tech this summer, not only to learn more about agriculture and meet new people, but to also eat at D2 and consume plenty of good food and fresh chocolate milk.

As a lover of life and knowledge, Rachel Bigelow has been writing since childhood about her travel and social experiences. Born in Hawaii, then living in Iceland, and finding home in Virginia Beach, she has met a lot of different people and developed a passion for sharing her newly learned life lessons with other growing teenagers.

College Night

College Night

On Monday July, 11th Gov School students attended college night at Radford University. During this time students were given the opportunity to network with different colleges from around Virginia. Students found it helpful to hear about what the colleges had to offer and left with new information that they can use to their benefit when choosing the best college for them.


Futures of New Res East


Processed with VSCO with a5 presetJoyce Kuo (GSL)

What do you want to achieve in life?

To die with no regrets.

What do you want to major in?

Pre-commerce, maybe pursue marketing.

How do you want to change the world?

I want to change the world on a small-scale. One of the best ways is to inspire someone that’s younger than you to dream, pursue their dreams, and contribute. I want to teach in Taiwan. The proudest moment of my life was when I was able to open up the perspectives of the students. I was able to teach them to dream outside of their farming town and realize that they have the potential, skills, and the ability to be someone greater than what they limit themselves to be.

When did you first start conceptualizing what you wanted to do with your life and what is that?

When I was really young, maybe five.  Kids always dream about what they want to be when they grow up. What do I want to do with my life? I don’t know. That’s something I’m discovering right now.

What do you want to do after you graduate from college?

I hope to work at a company, preferably small scale because I like the environment and the atmosphere of the close-knit community as opposed to larger corporations. I also, like being connected to local communities. I hope to move to a city and work for three to four years before going back to school to get a Master’s Degree.

If you didn’t pursue pre-commerce, what field would you see yourself going into?

I would consider studying cognitive science with a concentration in computer science. With that degree I would then pursue consulting.

How did your experience at Governor’s School help you adjust to college life?

It helped tremendously because it was the first time I was able to get away from home and really think for myself like “what do I want” vs. “what other people are telling me what I should want.” It was really nice to be able to have my own space and my own time to think about what I want for my future. I also, enjoyed being able to talk with so many intelligent students and learn from them as well. It was nice because we were able to challenge each others viewpoints. You learn a lot of things from the people here and it opens your eyes to a lot of new perspectives.

Laila Kennedy Laila Kennedy (rising Junior)

What is your greatest ambition? When did you first start conceptualizing that?

I want to preserve the biodiversity of the rain forest. As a kid, in second grade, I wanted to chain myself to a tree in the rain forest. We had started learning about deforestation, endangered animals, and how people are screwing things up, so I decided that seven year old me could make a difference. My family still jokes about it. That dream still stands with me in a way; I want to make a difference in the destruction of the environment.

What do you want to do moving forward?

I’ll work through high school and find the right major in college, but I want to make sure I open myself to as many experiences as possible. I want to join the Peace Corps at some point. I like the environment and I like science, so I’ll find out what blends those two and work from there.

Why did you apply to Governor’s School and what do you want to take away from it?

I applied because it was my only opportunity to get hands on experience in agriculture as opposed to sitting in a classroom. I picked the major Agricultural and Biological Systems Engineering because I was very into engineering when I was younger, so this was a great opportunity to explore, experiment with, and  determine a possible career path.

What are you learning from Governor’s School?

A lot of things I’ve heard and read about concerning environmental issues blame agriculture, such as fertilizers or pesticides involved thereof, and in Governor’s School I’ve learned how these issues aren’t as black and white as they’re made out to be. I’m enjoying the exposure to new sides of these problems.

How do you want to change the world?

I want to help people learn about and really understand the impacts of their actions. I want to make people come face to face with the issues in the world like pollution and the destruction of the earth. People don’t often realize how their actions affect themselves, other parts of the world, and future generations. I think that by forcing people to confront these problems we can finally begin to fix them.

Anything else to know about your future?

Futures are cool and scary, and that’s all I know about mine.

Patrick Brinza Patrick Brinza (rising Senior)

What’s your greatest ambition? Do you want to change the world? If so, how?

Funnily enough, my greatest ambition is to change the world. Like almost fundamentally, but I don’t want to do it on a political scale or anything. I want to discover a fundamental principle guiding the universe, or a way to manipulate the world as it is. I want to discover the next major math theorem, or revolutionize the efficiency of a system. I don’t really have any specifics, but I’d love for my name to go down into history books for a great discovery, or theorem.

What do you plan to study in college?

I plan on studying engineering in college. I want the full kit and caboodle of math, physics, and problems.

When did you first start conceptualizing what you wanted to do with your life?

Well, becoming an engineer was really only something I set my eyes on during the end of my sophomore year or so.

What do you want to get out of Governor’s School? What is it that you want to accomplish from/in the program?

I want to discover the possible needs out there in the world, and the field of agriculture is always an ever present need. Plus there are a plethora of applications constantly arising that I can study or learn from. I really just want to see what’s out there. Governor’s School is doing just that.

Jack SlaterJack Slater (rising Junior)

What is your greatest ambition?

I want to dive where no man has dived before.

What do you want to do moving forward? When did you first start conceptualizing that?

I want to be a marine biologist. It’s cool. It’s just really cool. There’s so much life under the ocean that not everyone knows about. I love the idea of always being in the field experimenting. I really love biology. There are so many things that happen in living organisms to learn about. I traveled to the British Virgin Islands once and snorkeled huge coral reefs with fish and animals everywhere; it was such a cool experience to view, and I felt like I had discovered a whole new world under the ocean.

What did you want to do when you were a kid?

When I was six I wanted to be an astronaut. My favorite part of the solar system was and is space. It’s just infinite. Space is the final frontier.

Why did you apply to Governor’s School and what do you want to take away from it?

I applied for Animal Science to learn about animals and work with animals. I want to gain experience working with animals. Hopefully this experience will help me with college by cementing what I want to do and helping me learn more about Virginia Tech and the animal science programs it offers.

How do you want to change the world?

I want to do my small part in changing the world through discovery and contributions to the scientific field.

Anything else to know about your future?

Animals. I will love animals forever. I love working with animals; they’re awesome and that will never die. (Was that Jurassic Park?) Yes. Yes, it was.


About the Author: Diane Choi

Diane Choi is a world-renowned brownie chef and lover of all things sweet. She loves traveling and hopes to backpack across the country one day. Choi loves meeting new people, so she looks forward getting to know more through this blog-writing journey.

About the Author: Katie DeLong

Katie DeLong grew up on the ocean, so it’s only natural that she pursues agricultural science and public policy. The solitude of sea life has shaped her into an introspective individual, so it was inevitable that she would run our profile blog, which is about anyone except herself.

About the Author: Morgan Newcomb

An enigmatic humanist with big aspirations, Morgan Newcomb aspires to go out into the world and connect with other people, other cultures, and other things. Currently studying ways to reinvent the learning process within the disciplines of electrochemistry and physics, she hopes that becoming an engineer will make it easier for her to reach out to youth around the world and in the community. She enjoys blogging about various things on the side when time permits.