As the inaugural Gen Z profile in OnionBusiness, Madison Beck brings not only a fresh and enthusiastic outlook to our pages but also a depth of character more often found in someone years if not decades older.
Maddie, as she’s called by friends and family, is the 19-year-old daughter of Deron and Susan Beck of Parma, ID. A 2016 graduate of Parma High, Madison attends Eastern Oregon University, where she is studying elementary education.
She is a 2017-18 scholarship recipient chosen by the Idaho-Oregon Fruit & Vegetable Association, and she plans to teach “in a rural community similar to the one I grew up in.”
Dad Deron is rightfully proud of his daughter and two sons. He and Susan, who is a distant learning coordinator at Parma High, are also parents of Kyler, 22, a graduate student at the University of Idaho who is pursuing his master’s degree in biochemistry, and Colby, 16, a junior at Parma High.
Of Maddie Deron said, “As a 4.0 student and a three-sport athlete who played varsity in each for four years, Madison has excelled in all aspects of her life. She will finish her first year of college this June and return to EOU in the fall as a junior, skipping a full year with advanced credits.”
She’s on track to complete her undergraduate and grad studies in four years, and Deron said, “Her great academic strengths, I believe, are public speaking and math, which will be important in developing our youth for technical (STEM) related jobs.”
The third-generation farmer who is now a technical development representative for Seminis Vegetable Seeds, Deron said, “Even agriculture is getting much more technical, requiring strong math students, starting in the early years of education.”
Maddie, who is obviously hooked on her studies, was Valedictorian of the Class of 2016 at Parma High and received a Basketball MVP award, Cross Country Most Inspirational, Tennis MVP. She also won cross country and tennis district championships and the Girls Tennis Singles Idaho State Championship in 2015.
Today this super achiever is also very active at EOU in extracurricular activities such as the Faith Center College Group and Women’s Bible Study Group, National Honor Society, EOU Teachers Club, CRU College Group. She also sets aside time to volunteer at the Shoebox Mission and local food banks, and over winter break she worked as a teacher’s aide at her elementary alma mater, Maxine Johnson Elementary School.
And if that’s not enough, she has served as a cross country assistant coach and worked at Seminis as a corn pollinator.
We asked Maddie what has most shaped her ambition and influenced her decision to pursue teaching as a career.
She told us, “My teachers at Maxine Johnson Elementary, Parma Middle School and Parma High School strongly impacted my dream of becoming a teacher. I feel deeply connected to teaching, because I have had many family members that have pursued a teaching career.”
Maddie said she chose EOU “because this college is well-known for its education program, and I want to be a well-qualified teacher. Also, the best teachers from the high school I attended earned their teaching degree at Eastern Oregon University. This college is smaller, and it is surrounded by rural communities with smaller schools that mimic the size of schools that I have always dreamed of teaching at.”
She looks forward to teaching for all the right reasons.
“The most gratifying aspect of my future career is the opportunity to impact so many young lives,” Maddie said. “I will also get the privilege of taking part in educating the future leaders in the ag business and those kids who have a strong passion for agriculture.”
Teaching – even and studying to be a teacher – does not come without challenges, and Maddie recognizes that.
“One of my biggest challenges as I have continued my education is realizing the importance of technology in teaching curriculum,” she said. “These upcoming generations are born into a world that strongly relies on technology. Focusing more on technology in classrooms will guarantee more success from students and teachers.”
She continued, “As a future teacher, I will have to adapt to the way that the next generations will learn, even though I was taught differently and in a different setting.” She said as she implements technology into her teaching methods, she hopes to “occasionally steer away from the use of technology and bring more hands-on learning. I want my future students to be able to apply what I teach to the world that we all live in today.”
Of course as a Gen Z – or anyone living in today’s world, for that matter – Maddie understands the conveniences technology has brought.
“Technology has made life easier for everyone. For me, I use it almost every day to write papers and complete assignments for online classes. I use my email to communicate on a more professional note with professors. Technology has made signing up for college courses more convenient, and I can complete homework on my computer anywhere at anytime.”
But here’s where Madison Beck is not like most of Gen Z. She does not, repeat NOT, communicate solely through social media.
“I don’t use social media apps like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, but I do use Snapchat to stay in touch with close friends and my brothers,” she said. “Social media is not that important in my life. I prefer calling, texting, or face-to-face interactions to keep in touch with people. My father has raised me to cherish the outdoors and spend more time outside rather than on my phone.”
Insert smiley face.
When she’s not studying and completing school assignments, Maddie heads outside.
“I really enjoy the outdoors and playing sports,” she said. In addition to the organized sports she’s excelled in, she also loves “running and playing any sport for fun.” She added, “I am an active person who enjoys the sunshine. I occasionally take opportunities to volunteer, since I want to be an active member in the community I am currently living in.”
But the fourth generation of a Treasure Valley family understands the value of family and heritage.
“Out of all these fun things, I would have to say that none of them beats family time. My family is very important to me because they have seen me through my worst and best moments, and they continue to love me unconditionally. I have learned to appreciate and cherish family time even more since I have moved away to college and don’t see my family everyday. I also attend a church college group and a women’s Bible study, and these groups have provided real encouragement for my faith and have broadened my knowledge of such a loving God.”
Maddie sticks to her guns away from home, and while convenience is important to her daily routine, she also wants to “be as healthy as a college student could be.” Food-wise, she said her preferences “are what I grew up with. My mom would make sure that my family and I would have something healthy with most of our meals.”
She lives in an apartment where she cooks most of her own meals. “It’s easier to eat healthier by cooking my own meals,” Madison said. “But occasionally I go out to eat at restaurants when I need a break from cooking.”
Madison added, “My generation strongly relies on convenience, and we also like good quality for cheap, even though that is rare. Anything free is exciting, especially to college students, whether it is free samples or a free item.”
With an ultimate goal to be the best she can be, Maddie Beck said, “I set high expectations for myself and have found success in doing that. What I hope to accomplish most, is to bring a smile to many faces and be a faithful encourager to others.”
She also wants to leave a mark as part of Generation Z. “The most important footprint my generation can leave is the advancement of utilizing technology and communication in safe and ethical ways. I hope that my peers will accomplish their hearts desires and find who they are meant to be.”