By Chelsie Calliham
Agricultural communicator. Miss Rodeo Kansas. K-State alumna. Mikhayla DeMott, the newly hired audience engagement specialist, serves many roles.
Mikhayla understands the need to connect agricultural based, rural businesses to information and research on new-media technology. She will foster that connection in her position at the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement through event planning, client outreach, media relations, and content creation.
“I’m very excited to see CREE grow this year under the vision of our newly hired director, Cassie Wandersee, and staff,” Mikhayla said.
“My grandpa owns and operates Galesburg Horse Market, a full-service auction business focused on tack and horse sales,” Mikhayla said. “Looking back on the years of helping him, I can see that small businesses need and can benefit from our research.”
Mikhayla graduated with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and journalism with minors in mass communications and leadership studies from Kansas State University in spring of 2017.
Mikhayla showcases her communication skills as a guest host for the television program That’s My Farm, broadcast from Topeka, Kansas. That’s My Farm is a weekly program featuring unique and innovative farms and ranches in Kansas and the people that operate them. Mikhayla previously managed the Facebook outreach for the K-State agricultural communications and journalism academic program.
Mikhayla brings experience with communicaitons and marketing research to the CREE team. She was involved in two research projects for K-state Research and Extension, focusing on extension agent engagement in their work and communities.
“I discovered I liked research more than I thought I would,” said Mikhayla. “I realized research was another avenue for me to communicate agriculture to the public.”
Mikhayla’s passion for agriculture stems from her childhood. She grew up on a horse farm in Rio, Illinois, and discovered the joy in sharing the story of agriculture through rodeo.
“It all started with rodeo,” Mikhayla said. “My sister and I taught youth rodeo camps in high school and that is where I found my interest in teaching agriculture.”
Her interest in rodeo and agriculture led Mikhayla to K-State where she knew the college of agriculture was “the perfect fit for her” because of the exciting atmosphere in the department, the opportunity to continue to rodeo, and the feeling of belonging to a family.
Mikhayla’s rodeo experience combined with her communications background gave her the competitive edge when vying for the 2018 Miss Rodeo Kansas title.
“I competed in my first pageant when I was a first grader,” Mikhayla said. “I didn’t win, but the loss motivated me to become involved in more pageants in high school. I was Miss Teen Rodeo Illinois 2012, as well as 2013.”
Mikhayla attributed her success in the Miss Rodeo Kansas competition to the communication skills she gained at K-State. “I feel comfortable talking to any audience about agriculture,” she said.
“My studies at K-State give me an excellent platform,” Mikhayla said. “Being an agricultural communicator and Miss Rodeo Kansas go hand in hand.”
CREE is excited to welcome state “royalty” to our staff, especially an avid agricultural communicator. “I like working in a relationship oriented and collaborative environment,” Mikhayla said. “At CREE, and as Miss Rodeo Kansas 2018, I plan to shine a positive light on the agricultural industry.”