Reflection of a Role Model

From Young Scholars to John Deere: Alexis Barnes' CAES Journey With MANRRS

Alexis Barnes (BSA – Food Industry Marketing and Administration, ’17) believes the Young Scholars Program positioned her for success at the University of Georgia and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

“I met a lot of great people and got to know some of the faculty,” she said of the program.

Through Young Scholars, high school students intern with CAES professors and researchers for the summer. Barnes participated in the program twice and decided early on to become a CAES student.

“They (the faculty) weren’t just recruiting talent,” Barnes said. “They really wanted to see us shine.”

During her time in Young Scholars, Barnes learned about Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). The organization empowers individuals of underrepresented and diverse backgrounds through continuing education, mentoring and advocacy.

Barnes became the president of UGA’s chapter of MANRRS during her senior year of college. As a MANRRS member, she was both a mentor and a protégé. Barnes and the entire executive officer team hosted biweekly meetings and other networking events, which helped her grow professionally.

“We discussed problems that weren’t straightforward, so you learn to solve them while learning responsibility,” Barnes said. “We learned that you can’t innovate without courage and you can influence without authority.”

Barnes currently works as a marketing representative for John Deere. She was interviewed on the spot at a MANRRS national conference for an internship with the company and subsequently interned with John Deere twice prior to accepting her current position. As a marketing representative on the tillage product line marketing team, she helps to develop new solutions for customers and assists with on-site trainings.

“MANRRS really taught me how to lead people,” Barnes said.

During her time at UGA, the Decatur, Georgia, native also worked in the Office of Diversity Affairs and was a CAES Ambassador. She said the former opened her eyes to how best to carry out cross-collaborative initiatives and the latter matured her in social settings.

“Being a CAES Ambassador wasn’t just a resume booster,” Barnes said. “It was a lot of work and it taught you what it means to care about the big picture.”

Barnes is eager to become involved with John Deere’s MANRRS team. It has been encouraging for her to meet other African-American men and women in the agriculture industry.

“It’s almost scary to see how I’m one of those role models now, but I can’t wait to give back,” she said.

By April Bailey

We learned that you can't innovate without courage and you can influence without authority.

Alexis Barnes (BSA – Food Industry Marketing and Administration, ’17)