Colt Hahn


I always wanted to grow up to be a cowboy like John Wayne, Lucas McCain or the Cartwrights. Owning and running a ranch sounded like a good time! That kind of lifestyle really appealed to me. 

As I got older, I started to think about what kind of job I could actually have. To get a feel for the auto industry, I became an intern for a car dealership, but quickly realized that wasn’t what I was passionate about. I decided to really focus on my lifelong love for agriculture.

Today, I’m employed by the Kansas State University Cow-Calf Unit, where I have a variety of responsibilities. I check on the cattle to make sure they all look healthy and don’t have any apparent needs, fix fences around the property, move cattle to and from different locations throughout the pasture and assist with vaccinating the herd. 

To get the training for this position, I took a few courses in animal science and agricultural mechanics, but the rest I’ve picked up from my bosses who have helped mentor me. 

Some of my high school classes prepared me for this career, too. I took animal science, agricultural mechanics, agricultural business and the advanced classes for each of those three pathways. I definitely use some of what I learned during that experience in my work today. 

This job is great because I get to be around animals all day! Even though I don’t own my own ranch, this is still a pretty sweet gig. There’s also so much to learn, which I really enjoy. 

My advice to high school students is to branch out of your comfort zone. Take a few classes that you wouldn’t usually consider — you never know what might spark a passion! Plus, this is a great way to round yourself out as a person and gain new skill sets. And remember how important experiences are. If you have the chance to try a job or internship, but you won’t get paid, think about the long game. That opportunity could lead to something bigger. 

Lastly, when you’re considering what career path you want to take, reach out and talk to people doing the job you’re interested in. Real people and real stories are your best tools.