Being a dairy princess while balancing school, work, and other community activities can be a challenge, but Mikayla Davis makes it happen. The 21-year-old junior is finding academic success in the agribusiness management courses she’s taking through Penn State World Campus.
Davis is the 2021–22 Pennsylvania State Dairy Princess, a position in which she advocates for farmers and the dairy industry through educational appearances and promotions. A day in the life of a dairy princess includes traveling to schools, businesses, fairs, and farm shows to discuss the importance of dairy in one’s diet and the work of dairy farmers. Davis also meets with elected and agricultural industry officials.
“I can reach so many people and learn about different avenues within agriculture,” she said. “My favorite is going into schools because of the little kids’ expressions and how excited they are to see a princess walk in.”
Davis credits Penn State World Campus for her ability to continue her education while serving as dairy princess. She initially enrolled at Penn State Berks in fall 2019, where she completed a little more than a semester of in-person classes before the COVID-19 pandemic forced everything online. She continued virtually at Berks before being crowned dairy princess and transferring to World Campus.
“With World Campus, I can work around my extracurricular activities, and it just makes it so much more manageable,” she said.
Davis is involved in her community as a softball coach and a member of various organizations, including the Grange and Leesport Farmers Market.
“It’s really nice that I can do it on my own time, which is flexible enough for my work schedule and for dairy princess.”
Davis is enrolled full-time in the Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness Management program. Her course work focuses on core business concepts of the agricultural industry, including production, manufacturing, distribution, and the overall food system. The degree program is offered online in partnership with the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences.
“Penn State has always been something that I’ve always dreamed about going to because it is such a large ag school,” Davis said. She joins a long legacy of students with a passion for agriculture since the University’s founding as the Farmers High School in 1855.
Davis has applied the writing and speaking skills she learned in her courses at work and dairy promotion events. Davis said she’s received help and advice about her speeches and she’s a more confident speaker because of it.
She currently works at a farmers’ market where she plans and manages events, meets with vendors, helps customers, and more. Davis plans to continue working there after graduation before moving into another position in the agricultural and dairy industry.
Davis was born into dairy promotion, growing up and developing a passion for the industry on her family’s dairy farm in Berks County.
“I’ve always seen how hard farmers have worked and struggled over the years and I just wanted to really give back to them. Hopefully, one day I can be out there as a public voice for the dairy farmers,” Davis said.
Her mother, Angie, also served as dairy princess and is a Penn State grad, too. They are the state’s first mother-daughter princess duo.
“But really the reason why I chose Penn State is because of the ag science and how they are really good with their ag classes,” she said.
While her year of service as dairy princess ends in September, Davis plans to continue at World Campus through graduation next year.