Megan Bixler Shares How to Find Your Community

Megan Bixler photo
Megan Bixler, a junior studying agricultural economics at Purdue, is excited about where her degree will take her even though she hasn’t settled on a specific path yet. 

“My degree is so broad and there are so many things you can do within agricultural economics,” Megan says. “I could go into planning, marketing, agricultural education outside of the classroom, tourism, policymaking – the options are really endless!”

While attending Purdue, Megan has jumped into activities and opportunities outside of the classroom. She serves as the president of the Shoemaker Cooperative, which she says is no easy task. Her responsibilities include making policy changes, helping form friendships in the house and building an impact on the community.

Megan also represents the College of Agriculture as an Ag Ambassador. Ag Ambassadors work with prospective students and distinguished guests, and host College of Agriculture tours. Megan says she loves being available to help answer questions. After one tour, Megan received a great email about how her tour made a positive impact on a prospective student. She says it feels so good to make a difference!

Megan also mentioned that she has been working since Labor Day on creating an agricultural product as part of her membership in the National Agricultural Marketing Association (NAMA). This project involves presenting product pitches, complete with a marketing plan, for a spring competition held in St. Louis. She’s a busy lady!

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Megan was still a senior in high school in the Indianapolis area. Her first semester at Purdue was completely online, which she found made it hard to connect with others. She says she was so lucky to be a member of the Shoemaker Cooperative during this time as it helped her to incorporate daily interaction with other students to build her network. Megan found the girls could really lean on each other within the Shoemaker community, so when it came to transitioning to in-person learning, the connections with others were seamless.

“One obstacle we did have once we were together was to have masks on in all the common areas,” Megan says. “This was challenging for sure.”

Some days, she questioned why she was doing it.

“If it hadn't been for my community, I am not sure I would have made it,” Megan says.

When it came to recruitment time, as president, Megan had to ensure the return-to-learn protocols were being upheld.

“I was not popular because I had to be the enforcer of the rules,” Megan says. “Challenges can be unique when you are living in a house with forty girls.”

Megan is proud to say that no one got sick.

“Ultimately, the girls knew the rules were there for a reason, and that I wasn't doing it to be mean,” she continued.

Megan says she hasn't always put herself out there. She claims to be a pretty introverted person. When she first came to Purdue, the advice she received was to go out and network, which was terrifying to her. She says she would advise students to work on finding where they fit in.

“Find your community at Purdue first,” Megan says. “You don't have to make a big impact. Even if it is just one person, that is enough.”

When asked what she likes to do outside of school, the response was surprising – she shows llamas competitively around the national show circuit and she loves it. Megan is in training to become certified as a judge. That. Is. Amazing. 

If you want to add Megan to your network, connect with Megan on LinkedIn