Where Are They Now? | February 2023 | By Ashley Butler
Meet Cheyenne Marriott, former Fremont FFA member, whose time in the FFA helped her realize her passion for science and the livestock industry, and how that led her to becoming a research lab/farm manager for the molecular genetics laboratory at Utah State University.
Growing up, Cheyenne had two older sisters that both showed livestock, thanks to the kindness of neighbors who let them use their barn.
“I helped my sisters in the barn everyday, anxiously waiting for my time in the show ring. Once that time came, I spent hours everyday in the barn- and that’s where my passion for agriculture and love for the livestock show industry was born,” she said.
She followed her sisters' footsteps and joined FFA too, but didn’t expect or intend to be very involved. However, she soon discovered that the FFA was somewhere she wanted to be and that it would have an impact on the rest of her life!
“I enjoyed the oneness of being surrounded by students my age who shared the same passion I did and had many great experiences that kept me enthralled in the organization.”
One of those great experiences was the agriscience fair, where she learned that in addition to the livestock industry, she also had a passion for science!
Upon graduating high school, she attended Utah State University where she pursued a degree in Dairy, and Veterinary Sciences with an emphasis in biotechnology. During her time as a student she worked as an undergraduate research assistant where she learned about cell culture, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and the culture of embryos. She also spent some time on USU’s research farm taking care of the biomedical research animals.
Thanks to her SAE project and her involvement with the agriscience fair, she knew she had great interest in embryology, and once she found out that USU had an embryology lab, she made an effort to make connections with those in that field. She took every opportunity to be involved with the agriculture research that was happening at the University.
As a graduate of USU, she now works as the research lab/farm manager for the molecular genetics lab (as mentioned above), where she says she gets ‘the best of both worlds,’ by spending time both in the lab and on the farm.
Cheyenne attributes many of the skills she has today to her involvement in FFA and the mentors she had along the way.
“I found value in many of the CDE’s (Career Development Events) I tried, but especially the LDE’s (Leadership Development Events) that gave me confidence and have helped me in virtually every aspect of life,” she says.
When asked what benefits the embryology and genetics lab at USU provide for the agriculture industry she said,
"Essentially it evolves around one goal: making agriculture more sustainable. As an FFA member, I became aware of the threat to American agriculture and learned that agriculture is incredibly technologically advanced and will continue to be on the cutting edge of technology. It is through research that happens at USU and other land grant universities that changes the course of agriculture and makes it more efficient and sustainable.”
When asked what role FFA played in helping Cheyenne get where she is today in both her career and her life, she credits the public speaking skills she learned among others.
“FFA helped me recognize my passion in life, what I am good at, and what I need to improve on. It opened my eyes to the diversity of agriculture and all of the career opportunities throughout it.”
In regards to public speaking she said, “I learned a great deal about public speaking and leadership as a whole which has helped me in so many aspects of life.”
She says if she could give high school FFA students any advice it would be to stretch themselves and and compete in an LDE because even though CDE’s are wonderful and can prepare you well for a career, the skills you learn from competing in an LDE will also, and those skills will benefit every aspect of your life, no matter what you choose as your career.
When asked what advice she would give a high school student in regards to the different career fields that are available in the agriculture industry, she said,
“If you have interest in anything at all, you can find a career for it in agriculture. If you are passionate about sports, become a turf manager. If you like computers, design computer-based equipment for precision farming in tractors. If you like aviation, learn about drones and use them to help farmers observe their crops. Or, if you’re like me, and have an interest in livestock production and development, start on your way to becoming an embryologist. The possibilities are endless. Find what you love and make it your career.”