Full Name: Emily Mullen
Butler Tech Program: Talawanda Butler Tech FFA
Graduation Year: 2017
Instructor: Mr. Mike Derringer and Mrs. Kari Roberts
Our most recent Alumni Spotlight features Emily Mullen, whose Butler Tech experience was different from students who attend one of Butler Tech’s campuses. Instead, Emily attended Talawanda High School and took Butler Tech courses in her school while also interacting with Butler Tech through the FFA chapter.
“As a freshman starting out in the Talawanda Butler Tech FFA chapter, I was extremely shy. However, I was fortunate to have an instructor that believed in me before I believed in myself. By the end of freshman year, I was participating in public speaking contests, parliamentary procedure contests as well as running for an office in the chapter. This was a far cry from the young girl who was scared of her own shadow at the beginning of the year,” explained Emily.
“Our FFA chapter gave me the ability to explore the many sectors of the agricultural industry and develop a deeper passion for the dairy industry. However, the program is not just about “farming” as people like to think. This program gave me the ability to grow as an individual and hone in on specific skills that set me apart from a lot of individuals in my industry,” Emily explained. “Contests such as public speaking and particularly procedure helped groom me into the leader I am today. The hands-on learning and important connections I made during those four years in high school are relationships and experiences I still reference today.”
After Emily’s Butler Tech courses and her involvement with the FFA chapter, she decided to take a huge step and become the first member of her family to attend college. Emily obtained a degree in dairy science from the Ohio State University in 2019, returning home to the family farm. Thanks to her early experiences with Butler Tech courses, Emily is now in charge of her family’s operation where she manages 300 head of livestock a day and has opened her own small business.
“I became very aware throughout my studies that in order to be a successful small farmer in today’s industry it is important to diversify yourself. Therefore, I made the decision to begin making cow’s milk soap and lotion as a way to have an outreach in my community and teach them about the industry,” shared Emily.
Her ambition to think big quickly turned into a dream of pasteurizing and bottling her own milk and after many hours of research, Emily took a leap of faith and opened her own creamery. Today she offers cow’s milk soap and lotion and provides the community with wholesome farm-fresh milk available in over 15 different flavors at The Mullen Dairy and Creamery.
“The Butler Tech courses and FFA gave me the ability to explore my passion and feel unashamed about having different interests than most kids my age. The classes gave me the ability to learn about business, leadership, and mechanical skill, and apply the knowledge directly to something that was involved in my personal life. Fast forward to my senior year, I had become president of the FFA chapter, was known around the state for my ability to represent the FFA Association, and I made connections among all sorts of people that I still refer to today. Butler Tech gave me the ability to explore the agricultural industries in ways that I never knew possible. It empowered me to become the best version of myself through leadership and self-discovery.”
Emily’s advice for current Butler Tech students…
“If I could go back and do it all again I’m not sure what I would do differently. I would encourage you to push yourself to do things that make you uncomfortable because there is no growth in the comfort zone. The harder you push yourself the more you will allow for self-discovery and realize what you are capable of doing. I can promise you it is greater than what you could ever imagine. Allow people to mentor you but also find your sense of direction and chase your dreams no matter what everyone else has to say. Everyone has a passion, but it boils down to your willingness to explore your options and take a leap of faith. We all deserve to have a career that we love and that we feel passionate about.”