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Profile   | Winter 2011

Leadership All-Star

“Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and jump outside your comfort zone, because that’s how you grow.”

When Boilermaker standout Drew Brees visited the White House during summer 2008, Beau Williamson, an intern in the Office of Public Liaison, had the pleasure of giving him a tour of the West Wing.

Putting together a highlight reel of Purdue University senior Williamson’s leadership experiences may be about as difficult as editing NFL quarterback Brees’ career down to a few key plays. In addition to interning in an office that works closely with the President of the United States, Williamson served as national FFA president and now gives training workshops to inspire other youth to step forward and lead.

Beau Williamson
Beau Williamson

A California native, Williamson was raised on a small farm near Clovis in the agriculturally rich San Joaquin Valley. He attended California State University-Fresno, where his father is an animal science professor. How Williamson ended up at Purdue may at first seem puzzling, until he tells you that his parents are both Boilermakers.

“Purdue has always been my dream school,” says Williamson, whose dad Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in animal science here in 1976. “I always heard about Purdue’s College of Agriculture being premier. When I was an FFA national officer, I made connections with some people at Purdue. What really impressed me was that Purdue puts students first.”

When Williamson was to return to school after completing his term as FFA president, he made his dream a reality and transferred to Purdue. An agricultural economics major, he is active in a variety of agriculture and campus-wide organizations.

Williams said learning from his fellow FFA officers and interacting with different people helped shape him as a leader. He walked away from the experience confident in his potential and his leadership style.

He advises those who are just getting started to find a mentor and get involved. “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and jump outside your comfort zone, because that’s how you grow.”

What does the future hold for this ambitious student leader? Not even Williamson is sure, though he may pursue an advanced degree before starting a career. He ultimately sees himself working in the animal industry or in Washington, D.C., possibly advocating for the future of agriculture.

“You never know what lessons, relationships and experiences await you around the corner, so you have to seize the day and take advantage of the opportunities in front of you,” he says.

Carpe diem, indeed!


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