From the Stables to STEM

Senior Leaves Animals Behind, Moves to Engineering for Future


Posing with her steer, senior Emma Janysek smiles at an FFA competition. Janysek has participated in FFA since sophomore year and this was her final year she contributed for the school. “I’d get to the barn, then I’d have to feed my cow and my pig,” Janysek said. “They’re both gone now sadly, but then I went to school and typically, if I had Robotics that day, which I normally did, I’d go to my off period to get Chick-fil-a, come back then have to do Robotics for three hours. Then I’d leave the Robotics team to go back to the barn, feed my steer again, and walk him for thirty minutes. Because you know how you walk a dog? You kind of have to do that with a cow, just to get them used to walking. So when you take him to the show they know how to walk in the ring and don’t freak out. But raising a steer was really cool. Not a lot of people do that and it’s a lot of work. But I think it paid off.”

Madison Shields, Reporter

Waking up just as the sun begins to rise, driving to the ag barn, going through a full school day, then coming back to manage three hours of Robotics club. Her schedule doesn’t end there. After finishing up Robotics, she heads back to the barn, tends to her cow, then drives home for homework and then, finally, sleep.

Sophomore year marked the beginning of Janysek’s Future Farmers of America career. After her brother finished with a breeding project and offered Janysek a piglet, she was hooked.

“Sophomore year my brother was doing a breeding project with his pig, and he was like ‘Hey do you want to have one of the piglets’ and I said ‘Heck no’,” Janysek said. “But then he was like ‘Please,’ so he basically forced me into doing it. Now I really love FFA, so I’m kind of thankful for it.”

Her brother also got her into Robotics, when in sixth grade, he needed another person on the Robotics team and Janysek was willing to join. After joining the team, she found a love for it and has been participating in the club ever since.

“My biggest accomplishment is being the project manager [of Robotics] as a junior, because that was never a thing before,” Janysek said. “I was the first project manager to serve two terms, since I was the first one to be elected as a junior. I actually beat out other juniors and seniors for the position, because I got really fortunate and I think I campaigned well, and people liked me at the end of the day. I’m just very approachable while running our team and getting our first ever competitive win at a competition was really impressive, too.”

Along with her accomplishments, there were difficulties along the road to success. According to Janysek, COVID-19 reduced the amount of Robotics club members, so for Janysek as project manager, she describes how making sure all of the new people get the information she has was the hardest part.

“Starting the team from scratch due to COVID-19 was really hard, we had six members last year,” Janysek said. “And all of them are now seniors, so the hardest part is making sure that all of the new people on the team get the information that we have. But they only have one year with us, while we got three years with all of the other members before us. We have all of their knowledge and our knowledge, it’s just really hard to transfer that knowledge to these people. Then, we’re starting our officer elections and I’m kind of scared because they’ve only had one year on the team while I had two or three years on the team when I got elected. It’s just that loss of knowledge is really hard to deal with.”

I’m going to miss running the [Robotics] team even though they bother me a lot. I’ll also miss a lot of FFA stuff. I’m already missing having a steer, since he’s gone now. I really am going to miss it all.

— Emma Janysek

As a woman in STEM, Janysek, alongside the other women on the Robotics team, has made many efforts to promote positivity within the club towards women. For example, the club has a cyborg named after Rosie the Riveter, its official name being ‘Robo Rosie’. But when there are bumps in the road, Janysek knows exactly how to deal with the gender-oriented problems.

“There were certainly the good days and the bad days,” Janysek said. “It’s really helpful that I was the project manager and my Vice President was also a woman, so we could bounce off each other, and whenever there were situations where we felt people were being misogynistic, we had all of the power. We could just be like ‘Stop. Take a minute, think about what you’re saying and fix it’. We try to teach the boys on our team that women in STEM is a big important future.”

Now that stock shows are over for the year, Janysek said she misses the animals she raised and cared for every week of her senior year.

“It’s hard to leave your steer, it’s also sad to part with your pig, but I built a stronger connection with my steer,” Janysek said. “We eventually have to bring them to this place to slaughter them, and it’s honestly so sad. They can definitely tell when something’s happening because they’re always uneasy. I’m really sad it’s my last year raising a steer, I’ll miss it so much.”

But FFA isn’t the only thing Janysek will miss. Janysek was involved in many clubs, including Robotics, Science National Honor Society and Women Inspiring Strength and Empowerment. While being in these clubs, she built close relations with many teachers and she describes how much she’ll miss them and the experience as a whole. Janysek has decided to pursue a general engineering program at A&M Galveston, where she will proceed on to pursue an electrical engineering degree after transferring into Texas A&M in College Station.

“I’m going to miss so much, but I think what I’ll miss most is the interactions I have between my teachers and I,” Janysek said. “Like Mr. Cieri, you know he’s great, and all of my teachers this year have been really nice to me, and it’s hard because Ms. Trueblood is one of my favorite teachers. She’s taken care of me and acted as another mom for me throughout high school and I’m going to miss that relationship with her. I’m going to miss running the [Robotics] team even though they bother me a lot. I’ll also miss a lot of FFA stuff. I’m already missing having a steer, since he’s gone now. I really am going to miss it all.”