Outstanding Grad: Luke Deyle
College of Agricultural Sciences
story by Stacy Nick
photo by John Eisele/CSU Photography
published Dec. 14, 2022
For Luke Deyle, finding his passion came from years of traveling back and forth across the country, working from farm to farm helping with the harvests.
“I’d plan my seasons around where I could get work, harvesting apples in New England and then making it back to Northern California in time to pick strawberries,” Deyle said. “It was those experiences that really reinforced my connection to agriculture.”
But when it came time to make his passion for agriculture into a career, there was only one option.
“Growing up in Colorado, I’ve always known that CSU was the ag school,” said Deyle, who was part of Wolves To Rams, which helps Front Range Community College students transfer to and graduate from CSU STEM-based programs.
As Deyle prepares to graduate with a degree in soil and crop sciences from the College of Agricultural Sciences, it’s clear that the investment has paid off, according to his nominator and advisor, Undergraduate Academic Success Coordinator Chris Amerman.
“Luke is a fantastic student with a 3.98 GPA who works really hard and is passionate about his work within agriculture,” Amerman said.
in their own words
Q. What got you interested in agriculture?
I have always really enjoyed working with my hands and growing things, cultivating life, understanding the balance of it all. The idea that if you have a lot of earthworms in your garden, you might have a better yield than if you didn’t. I think a lot of that came from my connection with my grandmother, learning about her growing up on a farm in Wisconsin.
I didn’t have a lot of direction out of high school after finishing early. I was also dealing with a lot of stuff physically due to a lung condition that I have, tracheobronchomalacia. I felt like I couldn’t just sit around and wait for something to happen; I had to get out there and see what the world was all about and get that experience. So, I just started traveling around the U.S. and working on different farms, doing different jobs.
Q. You worked at a lot of different farms across the country, how did those experiences influence you?
I definitely got a lot of life experience through it, and that has helped me to better plan my academic career. I know where I’ve been, and I know where I want to be.
I eventually got a job in Northern California that gave me the opportunity to ask more of myself. I went from just being a member of a harvest crew to helping plan out new plots, starting seeds and propagating cuttings, building fertilizer programs, taking specialty crops to the farmer’s market. So, really going full scale.
I think the thing that really pushed me to get to where I am now, though, is that they wanted people that could say they’ve got a degree that backs up what they know rather than just the years of experience. It was a catalyst to get a degree behind my experience and to expand on that because there’s so much opportunity available when it comes to agriculture. It’s such a diverse, multifaceted industry.
Q. What advice would you give to incoming CSU students?
Reach out and connect with your professors, the faculty and your peers because they all have the capacity to provide mentorship when given the opportunity.
I would advise incoming students to really be an active participant in their own life experiences. Most of them are not nontraditional students like me, so they’re going to be cultivating the foundation for the rest of their lives. I’ve struggled with imposter syndrome and all the things that come from being a nontraditional student with my own hurdles. And one thing that I’ve learned is that any perceived limitations are largely self-imposed from external influences, and the most important thing is to keep a positive mental attitude and to move forward.