One thing is for certain, 2020 is a year that no one will forget. This is especially true for the thousands of North Carolina seniors that will forego tradition graduation ceremonies this year due to the Coronavirus pandemic. During May and June, we will take time to highlight a few of these graduates.
“This year’s graduates have been tested by unimaginable circumstances,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “But they have stuck with it and are stepping forward. I encourage all our graduates to remember the time, effort and energy that others have invested in them and work to make us all proud.”
Melanie Fishel of Huntersville is a graduate at N.C. State University majoring in Agricultural Business Management with minors in Animal Science, Crop Science and Economics. After graduation, she plans to attend law school and pursue a career in agricultural law.
Melanie is a fourth-generation Hereford breeder and has exhibited her cattle at shows all across the country since the age of eight. In high school, she was a part of the 4-H Livestock Judging and Skillathon team and was the 2015 NC Beef Ambassador. She is the recipient of the N.C. State Fair Livestock Hall of Fame award. Melanie has held several leadership positions on campus including communications director for the Collegiate Cattlemen’s Club, president of Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority, College of Agriculture and Life Science senator for student government, and vice-president of the N.C. State Bass Fishing Team.
“N.C. State has provided me with numerous opportunities personally and professionally,” Fishel said. “Not being on campus for most of the spring semester and also, not being able to personally tell professors that have helped me through my time at N.C. State ‘thank you’ and ‘goodbye’ has been heartbreaking.” Melanie said her time at N.C. State has taught her to adjust, adapt and overcome. She will take her love of learning with her as she pursues law schools in the spring.
Melanie has enjoyed the extra time with her family. “The silver lining to being at home is spending time with family and getting to help out with spring cattle chores on the farm,” she said.
Melanie is the current National Hereford Queen, our state’s first national queen in more than 30 years. She represents the Hereford breed at national shows, sales and field days. Her reign has taken her to Louisville, Reno, Denver, San Antonio and Jackson, Mississippi. She hopes to be able to travel to the next event, Jr. Hereford Southeast Regional in Fletcher at the end of June and the National Hereford Expo in Louisville in July.
Although she didn’t have a typical graduation ceremony, she did put on her cap and gown and have a mini family graduation, with cake. “I had already ordered a cap and gown, which was delivered on time, but my mom’s dog got the cap,” Melanie said. “So for a while I had pieces of a graduation cap, luckily a new one arrived in time for our family celebration.”
Congratulations, Melanie! We know your future will be bright!