Olgesby Interns With Highland County Extension

Meredith Oglesby
Agricultural Communication

During the summer of 2018 I had the opportunity to intern with The Ohio State University Extension in Highland County. I worked closely with our county extension agent to prepare for 4-H camps, summer judging and the Highland County Fair.

I worked a large part to plan Clover Fun Day. The theme this year was “Down on the Farm with 4-H.” I worked to create name tags, design t-shirts, and ensure we had all the supplies needed for the activities and meals. I also worked with the Highland County Junior Leaders who are the members who are in charge of the event. It was fun to design and create all the materials needed for the day.

Summer judging takes place in July which is where the cooking, sewing, and several other special interest projects are judged. I helped to write the press releases for the awards ceremony, crafted the packets for the first-place winners, worked closely to ensure all the scoresheets and folders had the scoresheets and questions for each project. I helped to create the state fair packets for the members who qualified for state fair. I loved learning about projects I had no idea existed and working on my communication and writing skills.

While in the office I interacted with those who came into the office for different needs. I answered the phones, learned how to balance and work with money for different items sold, and filed papers. I also designed and wrote the monthly newsletter entitled “Highland Happenings.” I learned more about working with branding guidelines.

During the final weeks of my internship I worked to prepare materials for the Highland County Fair which is the week of Labor Day. I copied and prepared scoresheets and questions for the judges. I also worked to create a schedule for special interest judging at the fair.

Interning with extension was a fun experience to learn to design and create different marketing materials and work to gain skills in the communication field.


Meredith (far right) with 4-H participants.

ACEL Upperclassmen Q&A

Some of our first year students had a few questions. We asked two upperclassman – Sydney Snider, a senior studying agricultural communication, and Brittany Weller, a junior studying agriscience education – these questions and below are their responses!

What would be your best first year student advice?

Sydney Snider: Everyone says it, but get involved! Find some things that interest you and get engaged with them right away. Also, don’t be afraid to make friends inside of class. Having friends to study with and talk through class concepts with is really nice!

BrittanyWeller: Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone and get involved! Find your fit and fuel your passions. You get the opportunity to meet great people and make great memories. It makes Columbus and Ohio State seem a lot less “scary”.

What is your favorite place to eat on or close to campus?

Snider: There are lots of places not far from campus that are great. If you like sushi, I’d suggest checking out Fusion. I’d also suggest checking our Bibibop. Both are on High Street. The Short North has some great places to eat and isn’t too far from campus. It’s a great place to take your parents when they visit or if you’re looking for something a little less casual. Columbus is a foodie city – take advantage of that and explore!

Weller: The options in Columbus are endless. High Street has a lot of great options that can never go wrong. If you go downtown you can find some unique places like Schmidt’s and The Thurman Cafe. I enjoy Piada, Roosters, and of course, Canes

What is the most popular organization in ACEL?

Snider: I don’t know if there is a “most popular” organization in ACEL, but both Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and Ag Ed Society are great organizations to get involved with. It doesn’t matter your major, if you care about agriculture and either communicating that message or educating others, than either organization is great to join! I would highly recommend attending the first few meetings of both to see if it would be a good fit for you.

Weller: Agricultural Education Society and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow are the two most “popular” organizations in the ACEL Department. These two organizations are awesome ones to get involved in! You don’t have to be an ACEL student, as long as you have an interest in educating and communicating about agriculture, these two organizations would love to have you! You may find your fit in one of these clubs.

What is a good way to stay on top of school work?

Snider: Prioritize and keep a calendar that lists due dates! Don’t procrastinate. If you want to turn in good, quality work then start on projects with plenty of time to review and ask professors or teaching assistants for help before it is due. Dedicate a couple hours each week to working on assignments and studying for exams. Again – don’t procrastinate!

Weller: Planning and organization are key! Buy yourself a nice planner, and organize your days and assignments. Plan ahead, because the days go by so quickly. Exams come a lot quicker than what you think. Try to stay up to date with assignments and don’t wait until the last minute, you’ll thank yourself later.

What is a good place to hang out between classes?

Snider: When it’s nice outside, I enjoy sitting in Chadwick Arboretum to work on assignments, eat lunch or just hang out for a bit before class. When Ohio winter’s hit, I usually hang out in Ag. Admin because I always see people I know and can find good spots to get work done!

Weller: I can always be found in Ag Admin. For me, Ag Admin is a comfy place where you can hang out, you can study, or get food. It’s also a place where everyone goes, so you can find someone to know. I also enjoy going over to Parker Food Science and Technology building- they have ice cream, which is great on warm days!

Do you have questions for our upperclassmen? Email your questions to acel@osu.edu. All questions will be shared anonymously.

Alumni Spotlight: Lauren Corry ’17

Lauren Corry is a 2017 graduate of the agricultural communication program at Ohio State. Corry, originally from Xenia, Ohio, is now the director of communications for the Ohio Beef Council and Ohio Cattlemen’s Association.

[ACEL]: Hi Lauren! Share with us why you chose to major in agricultural communication at Ohio State?
In elementary school, I was the kid who enjoyed indoor recess because I could mess around in Kid Pix or Microsoft Paint in the computer lab. In high school, like most others, I enjoyed each activity I involved myself within my FFA chapter. Agricultural communication ended up being the perfect balance of utilizing my creative instincts and passion for agriculture.

I chose Ohio State because of family tradition. Both of my siblings and parents attended Ohio State, so becoming a Buckeye was a natural fit and childhood aspiration (…and I’m not entirely sure I had a choice).

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career following your graduation?
Not once did I doubt my decision to major in ag comm. I knew I was in the right place. My internships at Ohio Farm Bureau and Ohio Beef Council/Ohio Cattlemen’s Association confirmed that and started to show me career possibilities that aligned with my coursework. I was lucky enough to be offered a position where I had previously completed an internship and started full time the day after graduation.

Outside of the classroom, how were you involved in campus?
I was active in Saddle & Sirloin, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and the CFAES Celebration of Students Steering Committee. During my four years on the committee, I gained so much “outside of the classroom” experience. I dabbled in solicitations, video production, logo creation, brand guidelines, ordering print materials and social media management. I also had the opportunity to serve as the AgriNaturalist design editor during our capstone class. These opportunities really set me up for success in understanding many of the responsibilities I would need for my current position – I put together a magazine every few months now and work on similar tasks on a day-to-day basis.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
Cultural proficiency with Dr. Susie Whittington, photography with Dr. Buck and BBQ science with Dr. Cressman and Dr. England were some of my favorite classes at Ohio STate. My absolute favorite class was cultural proficiency with Dr. Whittington because it encouraged self-awareness and created an atmosphere hospitable for tough, but important, conversations. I also really enjoyed the volunteer opportunities associated with it. The class was a great reminder to be open to many different perspectives on life.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?
Dr. Buck and Dr. Specht were both extremely supportive and helped me refine my communication skills throughout each class. Dr. Trefz and Dr. Flood constantly challenged me to improve and try new experiences from my freshman year on. I am very thankful for each of their influences as they helped me not only during my time as a student, but also have had lasting effects post-graduation.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Maybe it was walking through the streets of London while studying abroad. Maybe it was the friendships and connections made during my internships. Maybe it was a trip to a conference with a student org. Whatever it is, I’m forever thankful for the memories made and the path that led me to Ohio State, CFAES and ACEL.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I am still in my first position after graduation as the director of communications of the Ohio Beef Council and the Ohio Cattlemen’s Association. I have similar responsibilities for both organizations including graphic design, social media management, website updates, photography and press releases.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
It’s fun to look back and see how much has changed in the past year. As of right now my favorite highlight is noticing self-improvement and how I’ve grown since I first started in my position.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Find opportunities to learn outside of the classroom. Take the internship. Find a mentor. Go to the conference. Study abroad. Switch up your learning environment occasionally, and you won’t even realize all the knowledge and useful skills you’re absorbing.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
As I got more involved and familiar with the department, I was forced to go beyond my comfort zone. ACEL cultivated confidence and a sense of community that couldn’t be replicated elsewhere on campus.


Following my final CFAES Celebration of Students recognition event.


In the endzone of Ohio Stadium! Go Bucks!


Me with my fellow Ohio Farm Bureau summer interns.


Posing with the AgriNaturalist I created, next to the poster where I’m holding a previous edition.

Alumni Spotlight: Whitney Fogle Gentry ’93


Whitney Fogle Gentry completed a bachelor of science in agricultural communication in 1993. Gentry now works as the leader of business development for the Fayette County Memorial Hospital.

[ACEL]: Hi Whitney! You majored in agricultural communication as an undergraduate at Ohio State. Why did you select that major?
English and writing were always my favorite subjects. Combining that with growing up on a small farm, agricultural communication and rural sociology seemed like the perfect combination.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I was the only student in my high school who was involved in agriculture. When I toured Ohio State and saw the dorm rooms of students studying agriculture and the pictures of their champion animals on display, I knew I’d be around people with similar interests.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career ?
Through school I stumbled on an internship with the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Markets for a summer. That helped me get my foot in the door and was my first full time job.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was a member off Saddle & Sirloin and worked just over two years as a resident advisor in Drackett Tower.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
Don’t really have a stand out. I remember everything from ice skating, to English, to agricultural economics, to Greek mythology.

What faculty or staff member had an impact on your time at Ohio State?
My boss at Drackett Tower, Tei Street. She has a drive for excellence and a zest for life!

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
I don’t have just one single memory. There are so many! Fall football Saturdays, working the bull clip for Saddle & Sirloin, fun memories as an RA. They all add up to a great experience.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I was the marketing specialist with the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

What other companies have you worked for throughout your career?
Ohio Dept of Agriculture, Ohio Farm Bureau, United Way of Fayette County and Fayette County Chamber of Commerce.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My internship at ODA was to help organize the Pearl Alley Farmers Market in downtown Columbus. It’s great to see that still going and thriving and to now I had a hand in getting that off the ground.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Get involved in as many extra curricular clubs and events as you can! Make the most of your time at OSU.



Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Jane Duffy ’02

Sarah Jane Duffy graduated in 2002 with a bachelor of science in agriculture. Her major, agricultural communication, prepared her for her career with the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) where she serves as a public information officer. 

[ACEL]: Hi Sarah! Tell us why did you select your major?

[Duffy]: It was important to me to have a bachelor of science. A degree in agricultural communication allowed me to pursue a communications and photojournalism focused curriculum while maintaining a science background.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?

When I was in 4th grade we took a field trip to the Ohio State farms on Sawmill Road – I was hooked. I immediately started telling anyone and everyone that I was going to study animal husbandry and breed horses when I grow up. In the end I chose Ohio State because it was the best fit for me educationally, athletically (I was on the cross country team my freshman year) and financially.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?

I always say I ended up at the other ODA. I had a strong interest in health and human sciences after abandoning my childhood dream of being a horse breeder. Between my major and my work with the Lantern, The Makio and Columbus Public Health (my internship) I was well prepared to enter the field of public information.

Share with us the student organizations and campus life activities in which you were involved.

It might be easier to list what the ones which I wasn’t involved. Sigma Alpha, FEAS Student Council, Saddle and Sirloin, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Beanie Drake Student Leader Endowment Fund, OSU cross country team, intramural hockey, Columbus Symphony Summer Series Board of Directors, photo editor of the Lantern, re-founding photo editor of the The Makio – Ohio State’s Yearbook, I worked at The Faculty Club, to name a few.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?

I enjoyed my laboratory class working on the Lantern the most. Rose Hume made a lasting impact on me. I also loved my fine art photography classes and spending time in the darkroom – back when we used to develop our own photos. Digital photography was just getting a foothold during my college years.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?

Rose Hume, the Lantern staff advisor, and Dr. Sherrie Whaley, my advisor and professor, both made lasting impacts on my career development and guiding me along my education path. Dr. Zartman and Dean Moser also made a lasting impact on me and always made this city girl feel welcomed and appreciated.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State
How do you choose just one? Having my photos of Katy Smith’s number being retired picked up the AP. Showing my first heifer in the Little I. Jumping in Mirror Lake. The fear and excitement of cover the riots on campus that resulted in winning an award for our coverage and my images. My fondest memories are all the people with whom I connected and stay connect with to this day. How firm thy friendship isn’t just a line in my favorite song, it’s a very real way of life for us Buckeyes.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?

I have been with the Ohio Department of Aging since December 2002. When you are fortunate enough to make an impact on the lives of your fellow Ohioans and their communities, you just keep on doing what you love.

How have you stayed involved in your community outside of your career?
I am the president of the Young Buckeyes of Central Ohio. The social media chair for the Franklin County Alumni Club. I am still active with Sigma Alpha sorority and was named the Outstanding Sigma Alpha Alumna in 2015.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those? Employee of the Quarter. We don’t participate in award competitions as it would not be a good use of taxpayer money. So, nothing of note to mention.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
Meeting with and learning from the amazing older Ohioans I’ve had to pleasure to interact with throughout my career. I enjoy making a difference in lives of our elders as I work to empower them and strengthen our communities, by promoting active aging and positive attitudes toward aging.

What advice would you give to a current student?

Be engaged both in, and out of the the classroom. Many of the experiences and relationships I forged outside the classroom had the greatest impact on me and who I’ve become.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?

ACEL cultivated my ability to express myself not only visually, but in written and spoken word.

Alumni Spotlight: Hayley Beck ’15

Hayley Beck ’15 majored in agricultural communication. After three years at Ohio State, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree and now works for United Producers, Inc. as a marketing and communications specialist.

[ACEL]: Hi Haley! You majored in agricultural communication at Ohio State. Share with us why you made your decision to choose that major and to become a Buckeye.
[Beck]: I choose to major in agricultural communication because I have a passion for agriculture and wanted to promote and advocate agriculture to producers and consumers. Agricultural communication allowed me to combine writing, design and marketing to reach consumers and producers while promoting a positive image of agriculture. When I was in high school, I took a trip to Ohio State ATI and to the Columbus campus and fell in love. I knew after my first visit with the department that I wanted to attend Ohio State and major in agricultural communication.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My job with United Producers allows me to see all aspects of communications. I am fortunate to be able to do a lot of different tasks — no two days are the same. I feel that my education at Ohio State prepared me for that through the coursework and internship requirements. From graphic design to writing, and from web design to public relations, the experience I gained a Ohio State prepared me for my career.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student outside of the classroom?
I was a member of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) and the Young Ag Professionals.

What classes did you enjoy the most while a student?
There were several classes that I enjoyed, but my favorite class was AGRCOMM 4130 Publication Design and Production with Cassaundra Dietrich. The class introduced me to the Adobe Suite (InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop) which allowed me to be creative and sparked an interest for graphic design. I also enjoyed the AgriNaturalist class because it allowed me to combine all the knowledge and skills of writing, reporting and graphic design that I learned in all of my courses in one class.

Did you have a faculty member that was influential in your education?
My advisor, Dr. Emily Buck, was a huge asset to my college experience. She was very knowledgeable and always willing to help when needed. I also enjoyed having Cassaundra Dietrich as a professor, she had real-world experience that was extremely helpful and she always offered advice to better myself as a student and young professional.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My top two memories are studying abroad in Greece winter of 2014 and attending the National Championship football game in 2015 with my parents.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first and current job is with United Producers.

As a student, what internships did you complete?
Prior to graduating, I interned at Ohio Farm Bureau as the Ohio State Fair Land and Living Exhibit Intern.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors?
I recently received the Master Cooperative Communicator (MCC) designation through the Cooperative Communicators Association. The program signifies a level of professionalism and competency and demonstrates the candidates have mastered the knowledge and skills necessary to communicate on behalf of cooperatives. MCC also rewards professional involvement and volunteer activities.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Be active. Whether you are active in student organizations, internships, Greek life, or whatever interests you, just be active. Meeting new people and networking with your peers and future colleagues is very important.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated in me a foundation for my future. Whether it was in class, clubs and organizations or special events hosted by the department, ACEL created a strong foundation of contacts, knowledge and experience to guide me through my career.


OHIO in Greece.

Graduation day from Ohio State!

Alumni Spotlight: Whittney Bowers ’10



Whittney Smith Bowers came to Ohio State from Piketon, Ohio in 2006 and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural communication in 2010. Bowers currently is the director of grassroots and political outreach for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation in Columbus, Ohio.

[ACEL]: Hi Whittney! Why did you select to major in agricultural communication?
[Bowers]: I selected agricultural communication because I wanted to help bridge the gap between consumers and producers. I knew this program would help me learn how to effectively communicate all types of information to different audiences.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Once you decide to study agriculture, the natural choice is to attend Ohio State. As a Land Grant University, and one of the largest universities in the country, being a Buckeye offers tremendous opportunity–both during your time there and post graduation.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My education has been the catalyst for my career, in every internship and post graduation job I have held, there is a direct link to the courses I took at Ohio State.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was involved with the Adopt-A-Class program, ACT, and the study abroad program while at Ohio State.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I enjoyed my writing classes, exploring the differences between feature writing, news writing, technical and scientific writing, and everything in between. Being able to write in diverse styles has been an asset to my career and the different opportunities I have had.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?
I am grateful for Dr. Buck’s mentoring and the opportunities she took time to help me pursue. She helped widen my eyes at what was before me and helped me to not be so narrowly focused, and I was able to grow as a student once I realized what was available to me.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My favorite memory of my time at Ohio State was serving as Editor of the AgriNaturalist. Putting together a magazine from start to finish in a couple months time, selling the ad pages, reading the fantastic stories my classmates were writing, it was all a tremendous experience that directly correlated to my first job. I also enjoyed getting to cover the Ohio Livestock Care Standards Board ballot initiative, which was a special assignment I had the opportunity to write about for the Lantern.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job was as Assistant Editor of the Jersey Journal, a monthly publication from the American Jersey Cattle Association.

What positions have you held since your graduation from Ohio State?
Since graduation from Ohio State, I have worked for the American Jersey Cattle Association in different capacities, and in my current position at Ohio Farm Bureau Federation as director of grassroots and political outreach.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors?
I recently completed the Ohio State Young Alumni Academy.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
During my time at Ohio Farm Bureau I have been able to work closely on issues surrounding the Current Agricultural Use Value, CAUV, and how it has impacted land owners in Ohio. In June of 2017 the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation to bring relief to those with land enrolled in the CAUV program, which had seen drastic increases throughout the state. Being part of an effort that has brought relief to farmers and landowners was a great tangible victory for the agriculture community and something I’m very proud to have been a small part of.

What advice would you give to a current student?
There are tremendous opportunities to students of Ohio State. Take time to explore your interests and try something new. There are few points in your life where you will have the resources and opportunities to be uninhibited in your adventures. From rock climbing, to ballroom dancing, to everything in between, there is something for everyone at Ohio State. Think outside the box and get involved!

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL helped me cultivate a continued connection to Ohio State, and the feeling that I had made a life-long investment during my four years of undergraduate studies.


Alumni Spotlight: Leah Curtis ’07



Leah Finney Curtis currently works for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation as Policy Counsel and Sr. Director for Member Engagement. She is a 2007 graduate, completing a degree in agricultural communication.

Leah decided to pursue an agricultural communication degree because she felt that the industry needs people who can convey its message to the rest of the world and to help policymakers get to the the right results when they consider the laws and regulations governing agriculture. Just as important, she felt our industry needed some of their own that can help work through legal issues and translate the “legal-ese” of court decisions and regulations into information that is actually understandable and usable in everyday life.

[ACEL]: Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
[Curtis]: I actually transferred to Ohio State after starting my undergraduate education at a much smaller institution. I found that school to be too small though, and wanted a university that could provide me both the small community feel of my own college, but the opportunities of diversity of all types in my education. Ohio State gave me the opportunity to be continuously challenged with new experiences, new ideas and viewpoints.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
I was never without ideas of what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was easier to pick out what I didn’t want to be. But, being at Ohio State and my internship at the Ohio Department of Agriculture helped me hone in on the law and policy as something I really loved and felt could make a difference for people like my family. I saw the need that existed in the ag industry for legal counsel that not only knew the law but understood the practical way of life that comes with agriculture, and could help shape the policies that govern our industry.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was involved with Alpha Sigma Upsilon sorority, sang in the Women’s Glee Club, and worked throughout my college career, including with the Deptment of Animal Sciences, the Ohio Pork Producers, and the Ohio Department of Agriculture. Collegiate 4-H was also a very important part of my undergraduate experience that provided me life-long friendships with people outside my own college that had that same 4-H background.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I really enjoyed the classes that got me out of my comfort zone. I decided to add an interdisciplinary minor my junior year that was called “Legal Foundations of Society” and it exposed me to classes that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about, like “the sociology of law,” “women and crime,” and “law and economics.”  While I loved the comfort of being on the CFAES campus, these classes really helped me to grow intellectually and see things from completely different perspectives that I never would have experienced otherwise.

My favorite was actually a course in CFAES, but not in my major. I took an introductory Food Science course to fulfill one of my science credits. Not only was the class one of the most enjoyable, but it is one of the most useful I have ever taken. Food safety laws and regulations are a big part of my job today, but it also just helps with everyday meal planning and cooking as a parent.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career?
Dr. Buck was incredibly supportive of me as I was working toward law school. I know her letters of recommendation certainly helped me and I appreciate all the counsel she gave me as a student during that time (even though she technically wasn’t my adviser!). Dr. Jill Pfister was also instrumental in helping me navigate the systems of the university as a transfer student, when I could have easily fallen through the cracks.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
In my undergraduate days, my favorite memory was a Collegiate 4-H trip we took to Louisiana State University for the National Collegiate 4-H conference. The trip was only two years after Hurricane Katrina, and while we visited the state we took part in a service project to do hurricane clean-up in St. Bernard Parish, south of New Orleans. We mainly cleaned up a street median, and re-set a Blue Star Highway Sign. But, the number of people who stopped to thank us for that small contribution will always stick with me. Visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras didn’t hurt to make the trip memorable either!

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
After my undergraduate degree, I went directly to law school on the other side of campus. During my time at the law school, I worked for the Student Housing Legal Clinic and the University’s Legal Affairs Department.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
I began at the Ohio Farm Bureau as a legal intern during my last year of law school. After the bar exam, I was hired on as the Director of Legal Education, where my focus was on education and explanation of laws that impact agriculture and farms. I moved then into the role of Director of Agricultural Law, overseeing the legal activities of the OFBF policy department and providing legal review of legislation and regulations. I moved into my most recent role as Policy Counsel and Sr. Director of Member Engagement last fall, where I also oversee the member engagement staff of subject matter experts in law, energy and livestock policy, in addition to my role in representing the organization in its legal advocacy efforts.

During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
I was selected to take part in the Ohio State Bar Association Leadership Academy. I was also appointed to the Bar Association’s membership task force and to the Women in the Profession Section Council. I also received an award from the American Farm Bureau Federation for Best Audio News Story for an episode of my Legal with Leah podcast.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
One of the topics I have spent the most time on during my nearly eight years at OFBF, has been the Current Agricultural Use Valuation (CAUV) tax program. This program provides important property tax treatment to farmers, but issues in the workings of the program had caused property taxes to skyrocket. In 2017, after three years of non-stop work, we were able to see important CAUV reforms enacted by the Ohio General Assembly. We are just beginning to see the results, but I’m so glad I was able to lend my expertise to this effort that has already resulted in 30% lower land valuations across the state.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Get out of your comfort zone! Take classes on topics of personal interest that are not in your college and not in your major. Get out of your own echo chamber, and be challenged by the vast resources around you.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated in me the need to always seek to understand before you speak. You cannot productively communicate with someone if you have no context of where they are coming from and why they feel or think the way they do.

Alumni Spotlight: Brent Stammen ’14

Brent Stammen is from North Star, Ohio and graduated with his bachelors degree in agricultural communication in 2014. He is now a marketing manager for Cintas, living in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Why did you select your major?
Because of my family’s farm implement business, I always had a strong connection to the agricultural industry and knew I wanted to choose a major that utilized the experiences I had in the industry. In high school, I also had a growing passion for design and video production, so when it came time to choose a major, agricultural communication seemed to be the right choice for my experiences and passions.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I chose to attend Ohio State because it offered the best agricultural program for my career interests and goals.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
As an agricultural communication major, the courses I was able to enroll in helped further develop my passion for video production and design. I was able to expand my skill set and learn more about these areas of marketing communications.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was involved in FarmHouse Fraternity, the CFAES Ambassador program, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Campus Crusade for Christ, CFAES Banquet Committee and Scarlet and Gray Ag Day.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I really enjoyed the design courses as well as the AgriNaturalist capstone class. However, my favorite class was Tom Stewart’s public relations course. The class provided real-life hands on experience in providing marketing solutions for a select client. I loved being able to utilize all the skills we gained in our coursework to develop and execute a marketing plan.

Did a professor or faculty member leave an impact on your education or future career?
Throughout my time at Ohio State, I had a tremendous opportunity to learn and grow from many staff members. My advisor, Dr. Emily Buck, was the first faculty member who help guide me during my time at Ohio State. She was an incredible advisor, mentor and professor. I always appreciated her encouragement and the opportunities she provided that helped me pursue my career interests.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My favorite memory from my time at Ohio State was my involvement in FarmHouse Fraternity. Winning CFAES AgLympics, participating in float build and Mirror Lake jump were some my most memorable experiences as a member of the fraternity. 

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job after Ohio State was with AGCO Corporation as a Marketing Representative.


As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
The highlight of my short career has been being able to develop and lead the video content strategy at AGCO. I have not only had the opportunity to edit and produce videos but also manage the production of videos with our external agency.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Your college career is what you make it. It’s one of the best opportunities you have to learn, grow and discover who you are. No other time in your life gives you access to countless friends, incredible experiences or an opportunity to learn from your peers and professors.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated in me a desire to be curious, try something new and never be afraid to ask questions.

Alumni Spotlight: Brooke Rieke Schanowski ’16

Brooke Rieke Schanowski joined the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership from her hometown of Winfield, Illinois in 2014. Just three years later, Rieke Schanowski graduated with her bachelors degree in agricultural communication in 2016 and became the the on-air meteorologist and reporter at WMBD/WYZZ TV in her home state of Illinois.

[ACEL]: Hi Brooke! Why did you chose to major in agricultural communication at Ohio State?
[Rieke Schanowski]: Going to college, I knew I wanted a program that was going to best prepare me to be a meteorologist. When most people hear that I studied agricultural communication, they’re often confused. Honestly, I could not have picked a better program. Not only did I learn how weather impacts agriculture, but I also learned how to communicate complex topics in normal conversation. I fell in love with the Buckeye spirit when I visited. The atmosphere of the campus was infections. Everyone was friendly and happy to be a part of a long-running tradition.

How did your education at Ohio State prepare you for your career?
It helped me learn that I did want to be a meteorologist. With having two internship experiences (one at ABC 7 Chicago and one at NBC 4 Columbus) I learned exactly what happens on a daily basis at a news station. And the classes I took not only helped me learn certain information, but it made me apply it to real-life situations.

In addition to internships and classes, how did you stay busy on campus?
I was a CFAES Ambassador, Buckeye Book Community Selection Committee, Media, Marketing, and Communications (MMC) Scholars Program, Real Life, and a CFAES office assistant.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
My all-time favorite class was photography with Dr. Buck. First and foremost, I learned A LOT! I loved working on my homework assignments, getting out of my comfort zones and taking pictures of different subjects. But I think my favorite part of the class was the underlying lesson; looking at the world from a different vantage point. Taking pictures, I truly was able to appreciate the beauty of the material. And that’s why to this day I can never pass up taking a picture of a sunset over a cornfield or a forest frosted with the year’s first fresh snow. I also enjoyed Nicole Kraft’s journalism class and Tom Stewart’s public speaking class.

What professor had an impact on your education?
Dr. Buck had the biggest impact on me. She was just a down-to-earth individual that was truly passionate about what she does. The number one thing I learned was that if you’re passionate about something, nothing will get in your way of reaching for the stars.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
I probably didn’t know it at the time, but my favorite memory was when the CFAES Ambassador Team went on enrichment trips. The amount I learned on those trips to California and Arizona regarding the variety of agricultural practices throughout our country; it was incredible. And being placed in an environment that was completely different than the Midwest, it was very interesting to learn all about it. And from those trips, I know not to take anything for granted. Because every place in the world has its challenges, but it’s how you experience it that makes all the difference.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job (which is also my current job) was an on-air meteorologist/reporter for WMBD/WYZZ TV in Peoria, Illinois.

How are you involved in the community outside of your career?
For me, it’s important to be involved in the community so that I know the faces of those who watch my broadcasts. My main one is that I volunteer with Goodwill and I am a Goodwill GoodGuide. Every Monday, I meet with a group of students and talk to them about how their week went. We go over important lessons that are pertinent to their lives. Whether it’s job skills, self-confidence or dealing with a difficult situation, we talk about these life events in order to grow as a group.

During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
I have received Employee of the Month… woo!

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
Oof… that’s a doozy. There are a few that stand out. But seeing that I am a Chicago Cubs fan, it has to be around our World Series coverage. Fortunately, since we’re an Illinois TV station, we got to do coverage of the World Series for our channel. The day after the World Series win, I got to do a story with a woman who has a special Cubs chair in memory of her late husband. And just talking to her about what that win meant to her, was very special.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Do something you love. I’m sure you hear that all the time, but seriously, do something you love. Even if you’re passionate about something that you don’t think you can make into your career, try to incorporate it into some aspect of your life. Because I am truly blessed that I get to go to work, and I love (almost) every minute of it.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
It may be silly to say, but ACEL has cultivated the Buckeye spirit in me. And for someone who didn’t go to Ohio State, they wouldn’t understand what that means. Let me elaborate. That Buckeye spirit has shown me to work hard for your passion. It has taught me to have a friendly personality and contagious energy. And most importantly, it has shown me how to be proud of what you have accomplished, and what you continue to strive for.


Brooke and fellow CFAES ambassadors pose for a picture during an Enrichment Trip to California’s Yosemite National Park.

News coverage doesn’t stop for the weather.

Following a segment with Disney on Ice.