Professors’ desire to serve her students makes her a valued CAFNR family member

In a plain and charming office in Gentry Hall on the MU campus, Rebecca Mott, agricultural education and leadership instructor,  takes a sip of her coffee as her bright smile and witty humor fill the space. Sitting here one-on-one in Gentry 125 is where students often discover Mott as a person, as she constantly makes others feel like a friend.

“Dr. Mott is a motivator, a support system, and an encourager,” said Sydnee Mason, one of Mott’s students. “Her guidance and support have created such a positive environment for me. She encourages me to be the best version of myself, each and every day.”

Before becoming a part of the Mizzou family, she was raised on a fifth-generation family farm in the rolling hills of Warren County, Missouri. Not only did her love for agriculture lead her to MU, but also her love for music and youth. She attended the University of Missouri, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in music education in 1996, and she began teaching music to middle school students. While she truly had a passion for music, her love for agriculture and youth took main stage as she began working for the University of Missouri Extension and decided to get a graduate degree in agriculture.

She earned her master’s in agricultural education and leadership from MU in 2015 and went on to complete her doctorate in 2019.

“Between teaching classes, extension work, working on my PhD and my personal life, it was so exciting yet exhausting,” Mott said. “It was all worth it in the end, and a great learning experience that I did enjoy and truly did get me to where I am now.”

This spring, Mott was named one of Mizzou’s Top 18, recognizing her as one of the university’s top graduate students..

Today, she said her life consists of constantly busy but rewarding work.

Mott works with MU Extension focusing on program evaluation, and she also directs a spring break career and college exploration camp for middle school students called Camp CaPow.

When she isn’t working hard for MU and her community, she is working hard on her family farm with her husband and two sons. This farmer, professor and woman is not only a teacher, but also an outstanding student, according to her peers and mentors.

She may have been unaware she would become such a beloved CAFNR faculty member, but her advisers and those she comes in contact with always knew she would succeed.

“I did not find this career, it found me,” Mott said. “My favorite part of my job is working with MU students, particularly providing them with real life experiences that will give them the practice skills they need to succeed when they leave MU.”  

Throughout her career, Mott has focused on how to create an environment where students can flourish and become the best versions of themselves, especially when working in the agricultural education department. While she did not begin as an ag educator, she says she has always loved working with youth and constantly sees potential in those she works with.

“I can’t even begin to explain how much I love the work I am doing,” Mott said. “It is not something that I planned; if you asked me where I’d be in 2019 six years ago, I never would have said here. But it truly has been the best experience, and it is where I belong.”

Mott’s constant support and wisdom continue to leave lasting effects on the students she comes in contact with. She has not only impressed her students, but her advisers and fellow faculty members as well.

“Not only was she doing well at her work, but was providing a top-notch product when it came to her research project, and the course work that she did,” according to Jon Simonsen, professor of agricultural education and director of graduate studies. “Her genuine attitude and her care for people is what has set her apart from some of the other graduate students. She has a true service attitude and that comes through in what she’s doing.”