CAST Gains Global Perspective

Caryn Dawson joins CAST staff

Pursuing a major that requires a backpack and a suitcase at Iowa State University, Caryn Dawson is working toward a bachelor’s degree in global resource systems and horticulture with a minor in animal science and Spanish. Her interest in traveling was sparked by a Rotary International cultural exchange to Argentina for ten months after graduating from high school. During her trip she learned a new language and was immersed in a new culture.

Caryn’s connection with CAST happened long before she even realized it. Prior to her freshman year at Iowa State, a 4-H mentor encouraged her to attend a luncheon and an ISU women’s basketball game on campus. It was during that visit that Caryn received a personal introduction to Wendy Wintersteen (former CAST Board of Trustees chair and current ISU president). “After telling her about my trip to Argentina, Wendy encouraged me to look into global resource systems. If it weren’t for her input and guidance, I don’t believe I would be where I am today.”  

Caryn exploring Argentina during her cultural exchange trip.

Despite the fact that Caryn’s journey didn’t start on a farm, she got there as quickly as she could thanks to the support of her grandparents and opportunities like 4-H and FFA. During her junior year of high school, she set out to convince her family that she should have the opportunity to show pigs at the Webster County Fair. With the help of a little luck and persuasion, her dreams came true. Though her parents and four siblings now live on an acreage of their own, some of Caryn’s fondest memories are when she was six years old selling butternut and acorn squash alongside the road with her grandpa.

When Caryn isn’t busy finding an excuse to travel someplace new, she enjoys hiking, being outdoors, speaking Spanish, and shopping for antiques. Aside from her studies, she spends a lot of her time becoming an active member of OxFam of America–this university club advocates for poverty, environmental issues, and world hunger through campaigns on campus. Following graduation in 2021, Caryn wants to travel to different countries in Latin America helping farmers with the establishment of new technologies that can improve their production practices and way of life.

As an administrative assistant intern at CAST, Caryn is hoping to gain knowledge and expertise on a wide variety of issues in agriculture. “I am excited to have the opportunity to gain experience in various aspects of finance, not only to help me in my personal endeavors but also in my future career.” We welcome her to the CAST staff.

By: Kylie Peterson

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