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Corey D. Flournoy
It’s exciting to expose high school students throughout the city to animal science, food science, ag engineering, and other careers most students have never considered as an option.

Profile: Corey D. Flournoy

Alumni
Director, Illinois Center for Urban Agricultural Education

Leading activities related to agriculture for urban students with no background knowledge of the topic is an exciting challenge for Corey D. Flournoy, director of the Illinois Center for Urban Agricultural Education, housed in his former high school, the Chicago High School for Agricultural Science. 

“It’s exciting to expose high school students throughout the city to animal science, food science, ag engineering, and other careers most students have never considered as an option,” Corey says. “I get to help adults and students see agriculture in a new way right here in Chicago. Our students are not required to live on a farm or even in a rural area. They can opt to live right here in their home city or other surrounding suburbs and still find job opportunities related to the agriculture industry.”

Opening high schoolers’ minds to opportunities in agriculture and broadening their understanding of the industry among Corey’s favorite tasks. He especially enjoys partnering with companies who want to work with urban students like these.

“When I talk about what we’re doing, companies like Kraft and PepsiCo have wanted to find out how they can get involved, bring students to their businesses, and give them opportunities to get hands-on experience,” Corey says.

The University of Illinois has offered Corey many opportunities and made a large impact on his life. ACES provided a close-knit family atmosphere and expanded his knowledge of agriculture.

“I enjoyed being part of an intimate college,” Corey says. “I knew a lot of faculty, staff, and professors one-on-one, which was unique for a Big 10 University. Coming from a big city, I did not mind attending a huge university. Yet it was great to belong to a small college like ACES which offered a great support system. Even though I was a guy from Chicago, there were definitely other people in the college with whom I was able to build great friendships and a support network to tackle some of the tough classes at U of I.”

While in school, Corey was a member of MANNRS (the student club Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences), president of the Student Alumni Association, and one of the founding members of Collegiate FFA. For opportunities like these, Corey believes U of I is one of the best universities, not only in the state, but in the country.

“I think that people fail to recognize how great of an institution students have right here in their home state,” Corey says. “U of I is a top-ranked public university nationwide. If you are looking for an education, and also looking for a career, it will lead you there. We are in a time where a lot of college graduates can’t find jobs, but the College of ACES does a great job helping students get placed in fine jobs within six months of graduation. Anybody can go to college, but to go to a great college where there’s a support system and great education system is very unique.”