Outstanding agricultural communications alumni recognized by AEC department
Texas Tech University’s Department of Agricultural Education and Communications named Katrina Huffstutler (B.S. 2004, M.S. 2005) and Stephanie Pruitt (B.S. 2008) its 2021 agricultural communications outstanding alumni and young alumni award recipients, respectively.
Katrina Huffstutler, BS ‘04, MS ‘05
Katrina Huffstutler is the recipient of the 2021 Agricultural Communications Outstanding Alumni Award.
The Flower Mound, Texas, native is the executive director of communications for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers and has been in this role since 2019. Huffstutler said her agricultural communications degrees played an important role in her career.
“For as long as I knew agricultural communications was a major, I knew that’s what I wanted to study,” she said. “I loved writing and loved livestock — and loved the way Texas Tech’s program married them together, allowing students to get the best instruction in both communications and ag topics and then tying it all together in classes specific to the major.
She the hands-on learning and practical assignments prepared her for the real-world.
“I had the opportunity to make so many connections I still have today,” Huffstutler said. “The industry is small, and it’s so nice to get to work alongside people you went to school with. You don’t realize when you’re in the middle of it how many of the people you meet will end up being your colleagues and work friends 15 years later.”
Graduate school provided a time to take what she learned as an undergrad, both through coursework and her multiple internships, to explore the “why.”
“While a master’s degree has not been a requirement for any job I’ve had, I have zero doubt I’ve been better at each job because of it,” she said. “I know my understanding of the communications strategies and my ability to really analyze a situation is better because of the graduate level classes I completed.
In her role as executive director of communications TSCRA, she directs all strategic communications, including overseeing their monthly magazine, daily e-mail newsletter, social media platforms, podcast and public relations efforts. Huffstutler is also the editor of The Cattleman, the organization’s official publication.
“This is truly my dream gig,” Huffstutler said. “Over the years, I learned how much I really love public relations and how my background as a journalist makes me better at it.”
She said no two days are the same.
“Every day I get to share the stories of some of the best people I’ve ever known, the region’s cattle raisers, while working alongside some of the most talented and passionate people I know.”
Huffstutler said the outstanding agricultural communications alumni recognition is a true honor.
“It means so much to be recognized by a university I love so dearly and the department that made me so much of who I am today,” she said.
Stephanie Pruitt, BS ‘08
Stephanie Pruitt is the recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Agricultural Communcations Young Alumni Award winner. Puritt graduated from Texas Tech in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and a minor in animal science.
Pruitt now serves as the communications director for the Texas Corn Producers, which is headquartered in Lubbock, Texas. She said her experiences at Texas Tech made a big impact on her career.
“The Tech ag communications program provided a solid foundation to build on as I began my professional career in the agricultural industry,” Pruitt said. “My undergraduate experience as editor of The Agriculturist, as well as the variety of communications skills from writing to design to photography and videography are put to work daily in my professional career.”
Pruitt said she valued the guidance from faculty who helped hone her skills and share opportunities to grow while she was a student.”
Pruitt, who has been in her role at Texas Corn since 2010, actually interned with the commodity organization while she was a student at Texas Tech. That internship experience helped pave the way for what has become an 11-year career.
During her time at Texas Corn, Pruitt has served the state’s corn farmers, working on market development and advocacy efforts while advancing the organization’s strategic communicatons activities to better connect farmers and consumers. additionally, she has spent time in Austin and Washington, D.C. advocating for sound farm policy.
“I strive to equip farmers with the tools to share their farm story anywhere from social media to classes of students at Texas Tech to a shared meal with elected officials, and even on to national broadcast media,” she said.
Winning the outstanding young alumni award from the AEC department is humbling, Pruitt said.
“I’m so proud to be a Red Raider and alumna of the agricultural communications program,” she said. “I truly appreciate the faculty and staff in agricultural communications, CASNR and Texas Tech for the role they played in starting my career path and continue to play as I grow professionally.”