Courtney Supa's diverse experiences at Morrisville State College have taken her many places.
Through her agricultural business development major, she's traveled to farms to assist in appraisal processes, has visited local consumer markets and has roamed to destinations throughout the world via her laptop computer.
She's ventured into new territories of learning too, developing and marketing her own agriculture product, formulating effective business plans and getting a feel for the economics of agribusiness development.
Most recently, her studies took her on a journey to another part of the world.
Supa, of Maine, New York, was among 200 students, faculty and staff from SUNY colleges invited by the Chinese government to partake in the SUNY Discover China Program Dec. 29 through Jan. 10 during winter break.
Classmates held a bottle and can drive to help defray the costs of the interactive study program, which included taking classes on Chinese culture and history and visiting historic sites.
In China, Supa immersed herself in everything possible. She sampled Chinese cuisine, learned how to eat with chop sticks, visited the Great Wall and The Forbidden City, and shopped in China's many commercial shopping areas. She also learned how to use yen (Chinese money) and sat in on classes at a university of technology.
The program included week-long visits to Beijing and Chengdu, the capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province where Supa witnessed some of the epic redevelopment following the 2008 earthquake that ravaged the mountainous region.
She also spent time with the China 150 students, a group of undergraduates from the battered province who studied at State University of New York schools, free of charge, then returned home to help rebuild the local economy.
Among her most enlightening experiences was sharing stories with those students.
“Despite our different cultures, we have so many of the same common bonds and worries like grades, relationships and careers,” she said. “They amazed me. With everything they have been through since the earthquake, they are still so optimistic, still living and focusing on their futures.”
Supa is focusing on hers too, rounding out her education with hands-on classroom experiences and taking advantage of every opportunity to go to new places and learn about different cultures.
“To learn about a new culture and see how other people live is an unbelievable experience,” Supa said. “It really gives you a better understanding of the world.”
“The more versed a student is, the more valuable they become in the field,” Sheila Marshman, assistant professor of agricultural business, who has also traveled to China, said.
The trip was an eye-opening experience for Supa who has a new appreciation for the simple comforts of home she didn't have in China, like having a constant source of viable drinking water and heat.
Missing the comforts of home won't deter her adventurous spirit from any future travel plans to expand her worldly knowledge.
Supa is just as eager to know more in the classroom too. She's mixing agricultural business studies with dairy classes, hoping it will make her more marketable in the field and help her decide on a career in farm loans or ag education.
“I am taking dairy classes to become more diversified,” she said. “If I understand a dairy farm and how farmers work and what is involved with their day-to-day costs, it will help me some day if I decide to get into the lending aspect of ag business.”
The desire to know more trickles into other areas in her life too.
Supa is a member of the college's Dairy Club and has been involved with 4-H in Broome and Tioga counties since she was eight years old.
She is the daughter of Ann and Stephen Supa of Maine, New York.