By Madelyn Ostendorf
When Leah Mosher was in third grade, her dad took her on a field trip with the Marshall County Cattlemen for an event at the Iowa Capitol. For the first time, she saw how policy and agriculture could work together, and since that day, she has taken every opportunity to learn more.
Mosher is the spring 2023 recipient of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council Outstanding Ambassador of Agriculture and Life Sciences Award, which recognizes individuals who have excelled at becoming leaders and communicators in agriculture. She is graduating with a major in agricultural and rural policy studies and minors in animal science and general business.
During her time at Iowa State University, Mosher has been involved in many clubs and organizations, from the Rodeo Club and Collegiate Cattlemen—both of which she has served as the president—to the Iowa Corn Collegiate Advisory Team and Iowa Soybean Association Soy Squad. She also interned at the Iowa Senate.
“I jumped in freshman year,” Mosher said. “I just loved being involved in organizations and having the chance to do internships to funnel my policy experience and interest.”
She was a Rodeo Club officer in fall 2021 as students returned to campus after the COVID-19 pandemic. The club had decided to move the annual Cyclone Stampede to the spring, but wanted to still hold an event in the fall. The club’s advisor suggested they should hold a ranch rodeo instead. Mosher had no idea what a ranch rodeo was but helped put a group of fellow members together to bring a new educational event to life on campus.
“It was a huge success and super fun,” Mosher said. “It was a way to get outside folks involved, not necessarily just collegiate athletes. That was a fun dynamic.”
Daniel Thomson, professor of animal science and Rodeo Club adviser, said Mosher was an outstanding ambassador of agriculture.
“We at Iowa State University are very blessed that she chose our campus,” Thomson said. “She has rolled up her sleeves to be a servant leader to our college by connecting our students on campus with Iowa agriculture leadership and beyond. She has an unmatched understanding of our Iowa agriculture heritage and excites the next generation of agriculture leadership about the future.”
Mosher said one of the best parts of Iowa State is the ever-moving chain of people that are always there to help. As she stepped into leadership roles, there were a host of advisors that served as mentors to help her lead others, and now that she is a senior, she fills the role of a mentor.
“I've been able to look up to quite a few really good people and help carry on that legacy that they've left,” Mosher said. “Hopefully, I can accomplish the same when I leave the university.”
This semester, Mosher has been working part-time at the Iowa Department of Agriculture as the executive assistant to the secretary and will begin full-time work there after graduation.
When reflecting on her time at Iowa State and what advice she has for students, Mosher had one thing to say: “Show up. Say yes to anything and everything, even if it's just once.”
“It's pretty easy to just jump on Zoom calls, and it's certainly more accessible, but I think that there's still so much value in showing up and being present. It’ll be noticed,” she said.