College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Mary Ann Fox: Farmer, Cyclone Engineer … and fair queen

Mary Ann Fox, Cyclone Engineering student and Iowa State Fair Queen
Photo by Ryan Riley

As the Iowa State Fair Queen crown was placed on Mary Ann Fox’s head in August, she realized the unique opportunity she now has: combining her reign with what she’s learning as an Iowa State agricultural engineering major to make farm life better.

“Growing up with my dad and brothers on the farm near Osage, Iowa, we would always wish there was a product or technology to make our hard work easier and safer,” Fox said. “Even though most farm girls planned on doing ag business or communications, I liked problem-solving and hands-on creating. So, I realized through ag engineering that I could do that, and what better place to than at Iowa State?”

Through her public role as the Iowa State Fair Queen and Cyclone Engineering student, Fox wants to set an example that women and girls can defy the odds, breakthrough norms and accomplish difficult feats in areas they’re passionate about.

“This year, since I’m using my platform for agriculture, if I want to show up to something ag-related as the queen, I can, and talk to important audiences about important farm life challenges,” Fox said. “Just a few weeks ago, I was at the Farms Progress Show in Boone to promote agriculture.”

Fox also brings attention to the agricultural industry through her responsibilities as an Iowa FFA state officer for the National FFA Organization, where members develop leadership skills and character through various events preparing them for the industry.  

But Fox’s journey as the state fair queen, a state officer and an engineering student doesn’t come without a few obstacles. She said balancing her many responsibilities is the biggest challenge this year.

“I am doing so much throughout the year that I have to base my class schedule around it and even try to get one free day off of classes so I can use that full day to focus on FFA chapter visits or visiting counties for state fair queen,” Fox said. “I’m so thankful to have great student services, advisors and peers at Iowa State helping me thrive and pursue my dreams of helping farm families like mine.”