by Lynn Whalen, chief communications officer, Lincoln Land Community College
Lincoln Land Community College (LLCC) freshman Meghan Hadden of Jacksonville brings the leadership skills she honed as FFA (formerly called Future Farmers of America) president and award-winning livestock exhibitor to the table as the newest member of the LLCC Board of Trustees.
Recently sworn in as student trustee, she serves alongside the seven elected board members who represent residents of the college district and set policy to assure LLCC is meeting their educational needs.
Hadden was named Outstanding Agriculture Student at Jacksonville High School, where she graduated last spring and was awarded the inaugural Ron York Scholarship and Farm Credit Scholarship. At the 2021 Illinois State Fair, Hadden’s heifer won her class and division in the angus show and was third overall at the Showtimes Western Illinois District Show.
Hadden chose to pursue an agriculture degree at LLCC as part of a family tradition; her three siblings also attended LLCC. She learned from them “the excellence of the program.”
Concerning her leadership role of representing all LLCC students on the college’s governing body, Hadden states, “I believe this is a wonderful opportunity to not only represent the student body at LLCC, but also gain knowledge in many areas of how the college operates. I am excited to meet new people and interact with the student body and the trustee board to gain knowledge on what needs to be done to help Lincoln Land better itself.”
Her goal as student trustee is to gain and attain knowledge, developing that statement by adding, “There are many things that I need to educate myself on about the college and how it operates from a student’s perspective as well as from an instructor/administrative perspective. I want to engage with as much of the student body as possible, listen to what they have to say and take that to the board. I want to make this amazing community college experience better for everyone!”
Hadden was actively involved in 4-H and FFA and believes that the two groups helped her learn to run meetings, work with others and complete tasks the chapter or club had established. She notes, “I also learned how to be better organized, have a strong work ethic and have better time management.”
Continuing her education at Lincoln Land Community College was an easy choice for Hadden: “LLCC has an excellent ag program. I am the youngest of four children and all three of my older siblings (and my father) began their college careers here at LLCC. They all had nothing but amazing things to say about the school and the faculty and staff — I knew it was the place for me to start my college career, too.”
As a senior in high school, Hadden grabbed the opportunity to be a part of LLCC’s College Now program in Jacksonville. LLCC states the missions of the program as the following: College Now will provide a college-level experience to high school juniors and seniors allowing them to earn college credit, and to develop the necessary readiness and skills for continued postsecondary academic success. Hadden voices, “I loved the environment and staff and knew it was best to start here. I like the smaller classes, being able to have one on one with professors, having professors that care about each one of their students and being able to make friends. My goals are to become as involved as I can — taking this opportunity of the student trustee position is me already achieving my goal! With agriculture playing a big role in my life, I plan on being very active in the Ag Club, and I was recently elected secretary. I cannot wait for a great year at LLCC!”
After graduating from LLCC, Hadden plans to transfer to the University of Illinois or University of Kansas to earn a bachelor’s degree, with hopes of becoming an agriculture educator.