Alumni Spotlight: Holly Downing Stacy ’86

Holly Downing Stacy is a 1986 graduate in agricultural communication. She has held a variety of positions in the agricultural and communication industries and currently serves the residents of Seneca County, Ohio as a county commissioner. Holly resides on her family farm in Old Fort, Ohio with her husband Doug (’86). The Buckeye spirit runs in their family, as both of their children, Dean ’13 and Diana ’14, graduated with degrees in agriculture from Ohio State.

[ACEL]: Hi Holly! What attracted you to the agricultural communication major?
[Stacy]: I enjoyed the many aspects of what communications was about and specifically wanted to work in the agricultural industry.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
From the first football game I attended in high school, to the friends I knew in the agricultural college, and given my preferred area of study (agriculture), where else would I go?!

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
Thanks to my education, I had internships that solidified my career choice. My formal education and my internships all strongly influenced my first career choice in agricultural communication.  From there, the added career experience allowed my career path to broaden.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
I really enjoyed the hands on classes, such as the agricultural communication course that had us producing the AgriNaturalist, which was a magazine about the college. I guess, all the classes specific in my major were my favorites!

Did a specific faculty member have an impact on your education?
Dr. Kirby Barrick was my advisor and he was always helpful. If I was struggling with what to take or drop, or questioned an internship opportunity, he always had sound advice.

Outside of the classroom, what activities what were you involved in?
I was a member of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT), Agricultural Education Society, Sigma Alpha Sorority and was an Alpha Gamma Sigma Little Sister. I also worked in the Norton-Scott Office and the CFAES Dean’s office.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
The life long friends I made, and all the things we did together, from studying to campus activities.

After you graduated from Ohio State, what was your first job?
I was an agricultural broadcaster for the Indiana Agri-Business Network in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Over your career, what positions have you held?

  • Indiana Agri-Business Network (now the Agri-America Network)
    WFIN/WHMQ Radio, Findlay, Ohio
  • Ohio State University Extension, 4-H Educator, Sandusky County
  • Ohio State University Extension, Director of Communications, Agricultural Business Enhancement Center, NW Ohio
  • Ohio Department of Transportation, Public Information Officer, District 2, Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Director of Communications, Toledo, Ohio
  • HNTB, Architects/Engineering Firm,  Senior Public Involvement leader, Toledo Office, Maumee River Crossing Project
  • Sandusky County Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO
  • Seneca County Commissioner (2013 – present)

In what ways have you stayed active in your community and have you recieved any awards for your work?
I have been very active in the community over the years and belong to Tiffin Rotary, Ohio Farm Bureau, Grace Community Church, Old Fort Lions Club, Ohio State University Alumni Association, Ohio FFA Alumni Association, Sigma Alpha National Alumni Association, Tiffin Area Walk to End Alzheimer’s Committee (Chairman). I am a former 4-H Advisor and Seneca Co Jr Fair Swine Committee member.  I did receive a Volunteer of the Year Award from the Seneca County Jr. Fair for the committee work, as well as Honorary State FFA Degree and am an Old Fort FFA Honorary Member.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I would have to say my career highlight is the continuation of networking that occurs.  As I built my career experience, new opportunities came my way.  I have found that with each career change I made I still am drawing on the experiences from the previous positions and utilizing the networks that I have that extend back to my college days.  So, it’s not a specific project or outcome that I worked on as much as it is simply the satisfaction that I am still growing, learning and contributing to what ever the current situation or task is at hand.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Build your network and stay connected with those individuals. Gain valuable career experience through internships and part-time jobs . . . as you never know when that experience really will come in handy.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
Enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy.  You have to have a passion for what you do, then it never feels like work! The classes, activities, career advise, exposure to many aspects of the agricultural industry; this all helped me to gain the knowledge and experience I needed in the area of communications. Then, through various positions, I was able to find my passion in what I was doing.




Alumni Spotlight: Matt Reese, ’99, ’04

Matt Reese is a two time graduate of Ohio State, completing is bachelors of science in agricultural communication in 1999 and his master’s in agricultural education in 2004. He is originally from Mt. Cory, Ohio, but now calls Baltimore, Ohio home. He is the editor of Ohio’s Country Journal.

Hi Matt! What made you decide that you wanted to major in agricultural communication?
The legendary farm broadcaster Ed Johnson came to our family Christmas tree farm to do a television shoot when I was in high school and it seemed like he had a pretty enjoyable job. I had always enjoyed writing and photography and my father told me that a career in agriculture would allow me to work with some of the best people out there. I majored in agricultural communication and ended up (courtesy of some serious assistance from Mark Tucker and Sherrie Whaley) working for Ed Johnson as assistant editor of Ohio’s Country Journal upon graduation. I was very lucky and in the right place at the right time with the right major.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I have a long family history of predecessors who have attended Ohio State, and what better place to go in Ohio for agricultural communications?

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
The educational components at both the Lantern and the AgriNaturalist were instrumental in helping me improve my writing and photography to the next level in terms of style, professionalism and quality. Ohio State also put me in a position to work at my dream job right out of school.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
I enjoyed my senior capstone class, the AgriNaturalist, photography, and all of my Lantern writing courses the most. Those all taught me skills that I have built my career upon and they were subjects I enjoyed (and still do enjoy).

Did you have a professor that were influential to you?
Dr. Sherrie Whaley and Dr. Mark Tucker were fantastic and they literally got my foot in the door for my dream job right out of school. They were great folks and I was very lucky to get to work with them. Dr. Jamie Cano was a fantastic teacher and I learned much about the importance of detail and proper procedure from him. And, there were many tedious and long hours for my thesis made more enjoyable with the stories and company of Dr. Robert Agunga.

What were you involved in outside of the classroom?
I served as the photo editor of the Lantern for several quarters and that really taught me about management and the long hours it takes in the “real world.” The Lantern and the AgriNaturalist also showed me the value of emphasizing the details to create a desirable end product. I was also in the Men’s Glee Club for three years and that experience allowed me to make many great friends and travel the country and world sharing music with others. I worked for the Chadwick Arboretum as well and did a newsletter for them, along with extensive weeding, mulching and planting efforts on long, hot summer days. These were all great experiences that set me up for future success.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
There are many fond memories, but taking photos on the sidelines and visiting the press box during the OSU-M*ch*gan game as the Lantern photo editor is pretty hard to beat.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I was hired as assistant editor for Ohio’s Country Journal with one quarter remaining for my undergrad work and I still work there.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
There are many, many highlights, but at the end of the day, the greatest highlight is the chance to work with the people of Ohio agriculture. From my second family co-workers to the hundreds of kind people who take time from their busy schedules to work with me to help share their stories, the chance to work with the fine people of Ohio agriculture is by far the highlight of my career.

What advice do you have for a current student studying agricultural communication?
Ohio State offers many opportunities for you to find your niche and explore your interests. Life as a student allows you to pursue those. Pursue those things and enjoy and appreciate the wonderful opportunity you have to do so.

What was cultivated in you during your time with our department?
Rather than cultivate something in me, ACEL helped me to build upon and expand the strengths, character and work ethic that had already been instilled in me before OSU. ACEL provided the tools, knowledge and people to take me to the next level and set the stage for what has followed.

Alumni Spotlight: Tori Thomas-Dunton, ’90

Tori Thomas-Dunton came to Ohio State from her hometown of Conesville, Ohio in the fall of 1986 to major in agricultural communication. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture in 1990 and now resides in Acme, Pennsylvania where she is an independent contractor for A to Z Promotions as an account executive.

Read our conversation below about her time as an Ohio State Buckeye.

[ACEL]: Hi Tori! You majored in agricultural communication as a student at Ohio State. Why?
[Thomas-Dunton]: I chose agricultural communication because I had a desire to write for an agricultural publication.

Out of all the colleges available, why did you chose to attend Ohio State?
I chose Ohio State because I wanted to be a Buckeye and they were the best choice for an agricultural degree.

Did you have any favorite classes while you were a student?
A few classes that I really enjoyed were Ag Econ 101 with Dr. Glenn Himes.  He made the class enjoyable with fun projects and stories. My agricultural communication classes with both Dr. Agunga and Dr. Paulson were also favorites because they helped fuel my passion for writing.

Ohio State gives students a lot of opportunities for involvement. Did you participate in any activities outside of the classroom?
I began as a writer for the AgriNaturalist magazine and became editor for the Autumn 1990 publication.  I was an ACT (Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow) member.  I completed an internship with Milgrom and Associates, an event marketing firm responsible for attaining sponsorship for The Ohio State Fair. I also worked at Jesse Owens North Recreation Center, Ohio Agricultural Statistics and Lazarus department store.

Do you have any favorite memories from your time at Ohio State?
When I was the editor for the AgriNaturalist, we worked through the night to complete it for publication.  I even grabbed a couple hours sleep on Dr. Robert Agunga’s office floor.

After you completed your education at Ohio State, what was your first job following graduation?
I worked in sales at an AM/FM radio stations in southwestern Pennsylvania.

How does your education at Ohio State help you in your current position?
My current job is not in the agricultural industry, but I do have agricultural companies that are my customers.  Because of my agricultural background and education at Ohio State, it is easier for me to search for the right products to fit their needs.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Get involved inside and outside the classroom! Meet new people and soak up new experiences.  Those connections that you make now may lead you to a future job or career.

Ohio State Bound: Kathaleen

Welcome to the Buckeye family, Kathaleen!

Kathaleen will be a freshmen studying agricultural communication on the Columbus campus this autumn.

When asked about why she selected her major, she said “I chose agricultural communication because I want to be a voice for the 2% of Americans that help feed the world.”

She is a recent graduate of Green High School and said “I’m excited to be part of the legacy of THE Ohio State University!”

Ohio State Bound: Kolt

Welcome to the Buckeye family, Kolt!

Kolt is a recent graduate of Kenton High School and will major in agricultural communication this autumn.

When asked why he selected his major and what he was most excited about, Kolt said “I chose this major to help bridge the communication gap between agriculturalists and consumers. I’m most excited have access to all of the brilliant resources and networking opportunities at OSU!”

Ohio State Bound: Emma

Emma Newell will be a freshmen in agricultural communication. She is a recent graduate of Pickerington North High School.

When asked what excites her the most about becoming a Buckeye she said, “I am so excited to learn about the unknown. College is a time to learn about things that I don’t even know exist, and I am looking forward to embracing the experience.”

Welcome to the Buckeye family Emma!

ACEL Banquet: Graduating Undergraduates

During the ACEL Annual Banquet on April 11, 2017, seniors graduating in 2017 were recognized. Between three graduations at the end of spring, summer and autumn terms, 49 graduates will complete degrees in agricultural communication, agriscience education or community leaderships.

Class of 2017

Stats on our Class of 2017

agricultural communication graduates: 25
agriscience education graduates: 11
community leadership graduates: 13

Home State:
Ohio: 48
North Carolina: 1

Male: 13
Female: 36


Ohio State student organization hosts agricultural outreach event on campus

The Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) student organization hosted the 3rd Annual “Farmers Share” on The Ohio State University campus on Wednesday, April 12.

As a part of this event, student organizations in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences provided interactive activities to engage Ohio State students with the agricultural industry.

Students were able to make ethanol, milk a cow, drive a combine simulator and engage with live sheep and goats, among education displays about plant diseases, the use of soybeans in food production and food processing, the meat industry and women’s roles in agriculture.

“This event allows Ohio State students who may have no connection to the agricultural industry experience it first hand through hands-on interaction and dicusssion with their peers,” said Megan Besancon, senior in agricultural communication and president of Ohio State ACT. “Students are always fascinated to learn about the differerent uses of soybean oil and sheeps wool in their every day lives.”

ACT is a student organization that provides professional and academic development for members and promotes the agriculture industry. In 2016, ACT was named the Ed Johnston Outstanding Student Organization in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences at Ohio State.

While membership is open to any Ohio State student, many member’s of ACT are majoring in agricultural communication, which prepares students to plan, develop, and implement a communication campaign, using visual media, writing and editing. Students study crisis communication, graphic design, marketing, and journalism so they can spread the word about agriculture.