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Preston Byrd

Preston Byrd metal working.

Describe your research

It’s not part of my teaching appointment, but I do have active research going on. My major project that I’m a part of is a CROPS Grant trying to change adolescent safety behavior dealing with tractor rollover, accidents and fatalities in Appalachia. 

The most interesting thing we’ve seen is a large impact on student safety behaviors that we didn’t expect to see. A lot of the agriculture education programs have students take care of the grounds around school including the athletic fields. Some of the students have requested from their principals to get safety equipment put on the tractors in order to use them. Seeing that type of change in students’ behaviors and thought processes for being safe on school equipment is pretty remarkable. 

What made you choose WVU?

Partly because the position that came open. I teach agricultural mechanical skills, so dealing with woodworking, small engines, welding, metal fabrication - all those types of hand skills. Knowing the people that are here that I’d be working with, I mesh with them really well. And the freedom of the job and the facilities here to do this job kind of drove me here. Plus, being able to get back in the mountains is nice, too.

What are you most excited to see or do?

The thing I want to do most is get out and experience the West Virginia wildlife and the national forests. That's one thing I haven’t been able to do yet. Trying to get everything organized and having moved to a new house and unpacking, I haven’t gotten to. 

I love seeing all the seasons. Being out in Iowa, I got to see what a real bad winter is. Being in South Carolina, I got to see what ten months of summer really feels like. I’m ready to see some more snow and actually see and experience fall again.


Moment you knew what you wanted to study?

When I was in either the sixth or seventh grade I knew that I wanted to be an agriculture educator. From there, after teaching four or five years at the high school level, I saw a need where the new graduates coming out of the teacher preparation programs didn’t have much agricultural mechanics skills. They weren’t really getting that, so that’s when I decided to try to make an impact in that area. I had completed my Master’s and sought out the opportunity at Iowa State to get my Ph.D. and become an ag. mech. professor.

Moment you knew your role was right for you?

I had that moment probably about a month or so into the position here. Just that feeling coming in and making everything your own. All the support and people being willing to help and seeing the students actually learning, about a month in, I thought, “Alright, I think I’m where I’m supposed to be.”

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

That’s kind of a toughie. I would say anywhere that I’m in the mountains and can be amongst nature and enjoy the outdoors. There’s not a particular place. I enjoy just being outdoors and doing a lot of hunting and fishing. Kind of like the old cabin type feel.


Just for Fun

Favorite book: The Bible

Favorite movie/tv show: The Goonies; NCIS

Favorite Spotify playlist/band/song: Classic Country, Don Williams radio

Favorite local restaurant: Hill & Hollow

Favorite hobby: Woodworking, hunting