Jonathan Chance Stephens
Winter Garden, FL
Hoping to work within the food industry to either impact policy, biosecurity, or research within the field to develop a society actively conscious and appreciative of foods and its related entities!
Why did you choose the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences?
The pride that I have for CALS is so massive because they not only continuously showcase the pursuit of innovation and critical thought within the department, but the faculty and staff truly put in the effort to create a culture of growth and career development that has put out some of the best of agriculture we have seen in humanity!
How are you involved on campus?
I am currently the Food Recovery Network Community Education Coordinator, which entails me working to be the liaison for the community and the organization on the importance of the group and the management of its social media organizations, in addition to being a part of the Magnetic Ag Brand Campus Ambassador Program where I worked to spread the word about critical issues and topics at the forefront presented through the Magnetic Ag Newsletter Brand. Besides that, I look forward to continuing volunteering my time within the Fork and Field Food Pantry, Baby Gator Developmental Center, and many philanthropic organizations!
How has philanthropy affected you?
Philanthropy has quite literally kept me alive throughout the course of my life. Being someone who was previously homeless, organizations like Second Harvest Food bank provided numerous resources that, at the time, I needed critically to survive. But even that, the mental health toll-free services provided by organizations like the Trevor Project help to keep people like myself and even some of my fellow peers afloat during dark hours within our lives, and even financial scholarships and funds have helped to lift the financial burden that college students always have to consider before embarking on this amazing journey. In my eyes, philanthropy will be the pinnacle of the greater good within humanity, and I hope to put in the work to pursue that destiny and passion within my life.
Why should alumni give back to CALS?
Alumni have such a critical role in giving back because they, in many ways, set forth the foundation for what the programs today look like, whether they desired to or not. And because of that, the opportunity to support students through financial scholarships, creating mentorship or service-based programs, or even working to create services that make the CALS experience exemplary are critical to the growth and transcendence of UF CALS for years to come!