Cougs cultivate international experience and leadership with IAAS

Victoria Barth thrives at the intersection of people and plants and, as a senior in crop and soil sciences at WSU, she was recently elected to lead the U.S. in one of the largest international organizations for college students pursuing agriculture and related sciences in 2013-2014.

Victoria Barth, USA-IAAS National Director on an excursion in Chile.
Victoria Barth, USA-IAAS National Director, on an excursion while in Chile.

The International Association of Students in Agricultural and Related Sciences (IAAS) is a student-run organization focused on international exchange programs and equipping college students with the tools needed to succeed in an increasingly global society. Colleen Taugher, advisor for WSU International Development Club and the IAAS chapter at WSU, nominated Barth for the position when asked to recommend a student with excellent communications and leadership skills at this year’s national summit in North Carolina. “Victoria has both of those talents and more, so we nominated her for the highest post and helped her campaign while we were in Raleigh,” Taugher said.

Because Barth was elected as the National Director, WSU will host the 2014 IAAS-USA Summit in Seattle, Washington. More than 150 students from around the country will spend three and half days touring Washington State agriculture, learning from guest speakers, and participating in trainings from professionals as a part of the “Sustainable in Seattle” conference.

This summer Barth took the opportunity to travel from Pullman to Chile for the IAAS World Conference where representatives from nearly 20 countries spent two intense weeks discussing the constitution and potential for new exchange programs. Barth returned with a solid plan to implement the first U.S. exchange program with a partnership between Hawaii and Quebec. She works with two vice presidents and a board of directors, and she is regularly on Skype with students around the world talking about global issues and IAAS. She said being in a leadership position has not only helped reveal her own strengths and the changes she can make to be an effective leader, but also provides an opportunity to help others tap into their own strengths and skills.

“Leadership promotes work ethic and it helps define you as a person,” she said, “but it really helps define your outlook on other people. It is so important to have that respect for people and values that you stick by no matter what.”

Barth is also an advocate for the initiative to establish WSU Center for Transformational Learning and Leadership which offers an online certificate in values-based leadership. For more information about the “Tidal Leadership Certificate Program” visit http://cm.wsu.edu/tidal, e-mail a message to ctll.leader@wsu.edu or call 509-335-0049. The program is open to WSU students, faculty, and staff, as well as the general public. For more information about getting involved with IAAS, the 2014 IAAS National Summit, or to support the International Development Club, contact Victoria Barth at victoria.barth@wsu.edu.

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