One year from today, this could be you!

Olivia visited Washington DC this past semester with a delegation from Ohio Farm Bureau.

Hello seniors –

I just completed my first semester at Ohio State as an agriscience education major! My first semester was filled with passionate professors, great new friends and even more.

Through Ohio State’s ACEL program I have been able to learn from great and experienced professors that I believe are setting me up for success in the future. Along with amazing experiences in the classroom, I’m currently participating in my first study abroad trip to Nicaragua where I’ll be learning about agriculture from global perspective.

I hope you’ll consider joining me at Ohio State as a Buckeye next year!
Go Bucks!



Yesterday was the last day of final exams for students at The Ohio State University. One year from today, you could be done with your first semester as an Ohio State Buckeye! Doesn’t that sound exciting?

If you are interested in becoming an Ohio State Buckeye, visit to complete your application. Applications for Autumn 2018 admission are due February 1, 2018. If you haven’t already visited campus, schedule an “Experience Ohio State for a Day” visit to learn more about the majors of agricultural communication, agriscience education and community leadership.

My American FFA Degree: Maggie Hovermale

By Maggie Hovermale
Williamsport, Ohio
Agriscience Education

On October 28, 2017, I zipped up and unzipped my blue corduroy jacket for the final time. Getting an American FFA Degree is something that all FFA members are encouraged to strive for, and I was in denial that it was finally my turn. I had spent many FFA conventions as a member sleepily watching people from my chapter walk across that stage to receive that gold key. So much time and experiences have happened between then and now and I’m so thankful for the young woman I am today because what that blue jacket has taught me.

That day was a special one, because it marked the first two American FFA degrees from Stoneridge FFA, the chapter I helped to build from the ground up with my peers, and my agricultural educator who is an ACEL alum, Mrs. Rachel Scior, ’04. I had held in the tears in until Mrs. Scior pulled me aside and said, “Thank you. You helped build this FFA chapter and I’m forever grateful for your dedication. You are leaving a lasting impact.” I felt so humbled and so much love from that statement… and then began to cry.

That moment reminded of me of exactly why I am pursuing a degree in agriscience education, to leave a lasting impact. I thought I’d be sad hanging up my jacket for the final time, but instead felt excited knowing that the next chapter of my life is full of hope, leading, teaching, and soon taking my own group of students to convention.


Maggie wth her advisor Mrs. Rachel Scior, after receiving her American FFA Degree.


Maggie with members of the Stoneridge FFA Chapter.

Alumni Spotlight: Tim Massie ’78

[ACEL]: Hi Tim! Why did you select your major?
[Massie]: I selected an Ag Education major based upon the recommendation from an acquaintance who at the time was a graduate student working as an academic advisor.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
When I was considering my career path after high school my goal was to become a veterinarian.  I always wanted to attend The Ohio State University and since they offered this opportunity it was a perfect fit for me.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
As my education at The Ohio State University proceeded quarter after quarter I knew that I wanted to become a vocational agriculture instructor.  I found the courses required to complete my degree in Ag Education to be interesting and increased my desire to continue this path to my new goal.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student (student organizations, honoraries, campus jobs, Greek life, etc.):
As an Ohio State student I was involved in a fraternity for four years serving as the treasurer one year and I participating in several intramural sports as a fraternity member.   I also attended University 4-H club meetings and Ag Ed Society meetings.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
My most enjoyable and favorite classes were the Ag Education classes because they were the most practical classes which would eventually help me towards my career path.  I especially enjoyed classes in which the professor conducted the class as you would if you were the teacher of a high school class.  If a student was late coming to class he would treat the situation as you should if you were the teacher in the classroom.  He instructed us on many other elements we may deal with in the classroom and we took turns role playing situations.  All of these activities I found very useful when I became employed as a vocational agriculture instructor.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?
Roger Smith, the graduate student who was working as an academic advisor at the time, was the person who suggested that I look into the Ag Education pathway.  It was a career path that I had never considered previously and shortly after beginning that pathway I knew that is what I wanted to do.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My favorite memory at Ohio State was the entire college experience.  When I enrolled at The Ohio State University, I was pretty green.  Throughout my college experience I learned to budget my time and money, to prioritize my tasks/assignments, and it is where I began to develop my organizational skills.  All of these skills I continue to use today almost forty years later.  Of course there is nothing like being a Buckeye at The Ohio State University and experiencing all the excitement of a game day!

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
After graduating from The Ohio State University my first job was a high school vocational agriculture instructor.

For what schools and organizations have you worked throughout your career?
I was employed by the Gallipolis City School system and I worked at the Gallia Academy High School for thirty-five years.  For the first thirteen years I worked as the vocational agriculture instructor, three years as guidance counselor, sixteen years as the assistant principal, and the last three years as the high school principal.

I have been elected as a director for the Gallia County Agricultural Society since 1980 (37 years to date).  During my service I was elected as treasurer for three years, president for five years, and I have been elected and currently serve as secretary for the last twenty-nine years.  I was also elected to the Ohio Fair Managers Association Board in 1994 and served as a district director for ten years, second vice-president two years, first vice-president two years, and president two years.

Another one of my favorite jobs is working as an Ohio State Patrol Auxiliary Officer for over eleven years and I have held the ranks of Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, and I currently serve as Major.

During your career, what awards have you received?
In October 1990 I was inducted into the Gallia County 4-H Hall of Fame.  In May of 1996 I was awarded the Honorary Chapter FFA Degree.  In 1997, I was awarded the Ohio Fair Manager’s Association Director of the year by the Greater Ohio Showmen’s Association.  In January 2009 I was recognized by the Ohio Fair Manager’s Association and the Greater Ohio Showmen’s Association for serving as president of the OFMA.

On May 31, 2013 the Gallia County Commissioners proclaimed this day as Timothy Massie Day for my influence on the youth of Gallia County.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight for thirty-five years was working with all the students that went through Gallia Academy High School in all my capacities.  It is very rewarding watching them grow, learn, mature and seeing them walk across the stage on graduation evening.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Current students should select a career path that will help them secure a career they will enjoy doing each and every day.  You must keep in mind that no matter what career you choose, you are going to experience good days and bad days, so you must learn to take the good with the bad.  Hopefully the good will outnumber the bad!  I would encourage them to get active in any related organizations offered at OSU to build relationships and friendships that may be useful in the future.  Finally I would like to pass along some advice that one of my school superintendents gave to each of the graduating classes he addressed during graduation.  Supt. Jack W. Payton would tell the graduating class members as part of his yearly address something like this:  “Be on time, doing your job to the best of your ability.”


Alumni Spotlight: Scott Sharp ’92

[ACEL]: Hi Scott!Why did you select your major?
[Sharp]: I chose agricultural education because I grew up on a farm and I always loved helping out and being involved in agriculture.  Once I got to high school and began taking agriculture classes, I realized I could join my love of agriculture and my passion of working with kids together.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I chose to attend The Ohio State University because both my mom and my dad had gone to Ohio State and I had grown up going to Ohio State football games as a kid.  I attended my first Ohio State vs. Michigan game when I was 10 years old in 1980.  Also my Dad had made the OSU football team in 1965 under Woody Hayes and I wanted to try and do the same myself.  I was on the OSU football team from 1988 to 1990 under Coach John Cooper. Finally, and probably the most important reason, was I wanted to become an agricultural educator and OSU is where I wanted to earn my degree to accomplish this goal.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
I know that with an agricultural education degree it is certainly possible to follow many different career paths.  However, I have always loved working with kids and also with agriculture.  With my agricultural education this allowed me to do both.

You were on the football team, did this leave time for you to be involved in any other student life activities?
I was on the football team for three years – 1988, 1989 and 1990.  This pretty much required my full attention and really didn’t leave much time for anything else.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
I loved my agriculture classes and also history.  I took several history electives while at OSU and really enjoyed all of them.  I now have a master of social science degree as well as my B.S. in agricultural education.  My two favorite classes were my welding class with Dr. Paperiton and my American military policy class with Dr. Millett.  Agriculture and history have always been my passions.

Did you have a faculty member or advisor who played an especially important role to you as a student?
Dr. Cano and Dr. Barrick both had the most impact on my educational career.  Without their guidance and counseling I’m pretty sure I would not be where I am at today.  

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
The memory that comes to mind quickest was the first home OSU football game and being in the locker room waiting to go out onto the field and hearing the noise of the crowd get louder and louder as game time got closer.  It was a really tight crush of all the players out of the locker room and then out across the end zone.  I was so scared to not fall as we were going out of the locker room and onto the field that I never looked up until I was about half way across the end zone, and then WOW!  100,000 people all cheering and the stadium full of fans and the noise.  I’ll never forget it.  Amazing!  

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My wife and I both worked at the Owens Corning Tech Center in Granville Ohio as lab technicians before each of us got our first jobs in the agricultural education and extension fields.

Share the different positions you’ve had throughout your career.
I have taught for the Amanda-Clearcreek High School for the last 24 years.  Before that I worked as a substitute teacher for the Henry County Schools.  I also worked at a grain elevator before that and also for the Owens Corning Tech Center as a lab technician.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors?
I’ve never really put much stock in personal awards.  I’ve earned a few over the years, but I would much rather prefer to have my students be successful and earn awards through their hard work and dedication than for me to get any kind of personal awards.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
The best two days of my career were a few years ago when I had three students win the State public speaking CDE and my fourth student was in the top ten finalists, all on the same day.  We literally won three of the four categories in the contest.  The second highlight day of my career was when two of those same students went on the next fall to place second and third in the nation in the Prepared and Extemporaneous speaking categories at the national contest, again both on the same day.  I’m not sure if this has ever been done before but it was certainly a great day to remember.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Be patient.  Work hard and do things the right way.  If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
Energy, passion and a desire to be the best teacher I can possibly be.  Also to never stop learning and improving on your career.






Alumni Spotlight: Katherine Terrell Dickson, ’15

Katherine Terrell Dickson graduated from Ohio State in 2015 with a degree in agriscience education. She is employed as the agriscience educator for middle and high school students for Gallipolis City Schools.

[ACEL]: Hello Katherine! Why did you select to major in agriscience education?
[Dickson]: I knew in high school that I wanted to be an agriculture science teacher. My agriculture science teacher made learning fun! It just wasn’t a pen and pencil type class, and I wanted to provide those experiences to students to discover the world around them, by learning by doing.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I chose Ohio State because of the attention to detail when I took my visit. The faculty made me feel welcome and already part of the Buckeye family.

How were you involved outside of the classroom?
During my time at Ohio State, I was a member of Agricultural Education Society and worked in the ACEL office.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
The classes that I enjoyed most during my time at Ohio State were the ones where we were doing something with our hands! I took a greenhouse management class, and got to experience plants throughout different climate regions. I also enjoyed teaching methods with Dr. Susie Whittington. Dr. Whittington taught the class in a way where we didn’t even realize we were learning and implementing ways that we would soon be teaching to our future students.

Do you have a faculty member, or two, that were made an impact on your time at Ohio State?
There were many professors that had an impact on me during and post Ohio State. The two that stand out the most are Dr. Susie Whittington and Dr. Jamie Cano. They both made it possible to experience the real teaching career while still at Ohio State and took special interest in helping everyone succeed. From studying abroad with Dr. Cano and developing communities in Honduras, and connecting with local FFA members at the Farm Science Review with Dr. Whittington, no one else can parallel .

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My favorite Ohio State memory would be the entire BLOCK experience. There is nothing more memorable than making memories of all kinds and having life long friends with the people you spend a whole semester with day in and day out. We still continue making memories through our personal and professional lives.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I began working for Gallipolis City Schools as an agriscience educator in 2015.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight is the formation of our middle school agriculture program. Exposing youth to agriculture sooner is a win! The students get to experience the FFA side, as well as develop skilled provided in and out of the class that set them apart from the rest of their peers.

What advice would you give to a current student?
My best advice for all agriscience education majors: There is a method to the madness. Trust it, it works!

And finally, what did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated ambition in me! THE ambition to to try new things, and not be afraid of the outcome and the ambition to get out of the comfort zone.

Ms. Terrell with two of her Gallipolis FFA members.


Harvesting at the Ohio State Farm Science Review as part of her ASM course for agriscience education students.


With Mr. Birkhimer as first year teachers at National FFA Convention.


Working at the Gallia County Junior Fair.

With classmates and Honduran friends during the 2014 study abroad trip to Choluteca, Honduras, Central America.

Working a shift in the Agricultural Education Society food stand at Farm Science Review.


OHIO with classmates turned colleagues and friends.

Alumni Spotlight: Lucinda Miller, ’74, ’77, ’09

Lucinda Berry Miller joined our department for her master and doctoral degrees in agricultural education, which she completed in 1977 and 2009, respectively. Originally from Ashland, Ohio, Lucinda now resides in Mt. Vernon, Ohio and works for The Ohio State University Extension as an extension specialist with 4-H Youth Development livestock, companion and small animal programs.

[ACEL]: Hello Lucinda! You completed your undergraduate degree in animal science at Ohio State and then completed a master’s degree in agricultural education. Why did you choose our graduate program?
[Miller]: I wanted to do something related to agriculture and follow my love of 4-H.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University for all three of your degrees?
Is there any other? Seriously though, I chose Ohio State to get the education I needed to either teach vocational agriculture or become an Extension professional.

Did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career?
Actually it was my professors who influenced my career path.

What professor was that for you?
Dr. Joe Gliem had the biggest impact as he constantly urged me to think critically and problem solve. He never gave up on me and always encouraged me.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? Did you have a favorite?
I enjoyed the animal production classes the most. Horse Production was my favorite, because of my love of horses and Dr. Charlie Hutton as my professor.

Outside of the classroom, in what activities did you participate?
I was involved in Saddle and Sirloin Club. I also worked as a student employee at the OSU horse barns for 3.5 years as an undergrad.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
I really enjoyed working at the OSU Horse Facilities and learning from Dr. Hutton and Chuck Smith.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I taught a Small Animal Care unit at Live Oaks Career Center as a vocational agriculture instructor. I actually did my student teaching during my first fall of teaching!

Over the course of your career, what positions have you held?
I have worked at Live Oaks Career Center, OSU Extension in Pike and Scioto counties and for the State 4-H Office.

You’ve been recognized by a number of organizations for your dedication to 4-H. What are some of those awards? I don’t remember all, but some include Excellence in 4-H, National Association of Extension 4-H Agents Distinguished Service Award and Meritorious Service Award and I was inducted into the Ohio State Fair Hall of Fame.

We know your career isn’t completed yet, so as of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I think my favorite and most rewarding is seeing former 4-H members, such as yourself*, be successful as adults; hopefully a lot of that success was instilled in them as 4-H members.

We have several students interested in Extension and positions like you have held. What advice would you give them?
My advice is for students to follow their dreams, find a vocation they love and that doesn’t seem like a job, and take advantage of job opportunities that come along to fulfill those dreams. (Good study habits never hurt, either!)

Our last question, what did ACEL cultivate in you?
I think ACEL taught me how to engage students to take risks and explore the many avenues of learning. Dr. L.H. Newcomb and Dr. Joe Gliem taught me how to be a successful teacher.

Thanks Lucinda!

*Miller refers to Emily Wickham, who conducted this interview. Wickham was a 13 year 4-H member in Pike County while Miller served as the 4-H agent/educator.

Alumni Spotlight: Rachel Garrett Scior, ’04

Rachel Garrett Scior is a 2004 alum of the agricultural education major at Ohio State. She grew up in Pickaway County and continues to reside there today with her family. She teaches on the Circleville Campus of the Pickaway Ross Career & Technical Center where she teaches veterinary science and is the advisor for the Stoneridge FFA chapter.

[ACEL]: Hello Rachel! What inspired you to select agricultural education as your major in college?
[Scior]: I chose to major in agricultural education because the FFA organization gave me opportunities to learn, grow, lead and develop skills that have had a lasting impact on my life. I felt that because the FFA had given me so much, that I wanted to serve it and give back to the organization and change students lives, the way it had changed mine.

Why did you choose to attend Ohio State?
I actually began dreaming of attending The Ohio State University in 8th grade.  My parents both went to OSU and exposed me to the university and football games when I was young.  At the time, a huge passion of mine was playing percussion in the band, and I remember clearly watching TBDBITL thunder out of the ramp and telling my Dad….that’s what I wanted to do.  As I grew in high school, I also discovered that I wanted to major in something related to agriculture, so Ohio State was a natural fit for me.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
I declared my major when I entered Ohio State, I knew I wanted to be in agriculture education.  I remember wrestling with whether I wanted to be an extension agent or a classroom teacher, but as I progressed in my coursework, Ohio State had a strong teacher education program and it influenced me to go the classroom route.

What courses did you enjoy in your major?
I enjoyed a lot of my classes, but my favorite ones were American history, animal science, animal nutrition and the agricultural education course work.  I also REALLY loved a plant science class that was held in Orton Hall, because I love history and it was really neat to be in that historic place.

Was there a faculty member or professor that was influential to your education?
I enjoyed having Dr. Susie Whittington.  I attribute most of my classroom management and the way I approach education to her. I also really appreciated that she cared about each of us, and went out of her way to get to know us as individuals. It is evident that she wants to see each of her students succeed and flourish. Her passion for training teachers is amazing, and I love that she always wants a big hug when she sees me.

We encourage our current students to get involved outside of the classroom. Were you a part of any student organizations?
I was involved in Agricultural Education Society, Alpha Sigma Upsilon, and I played quads in The Ohio State University Marching Band (2001-2003).  I also studied abroad in Australia, worked in the Dean’s office and held other odd jobs.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
I have two favorite memories  the first was marching at the National Championship game for the 2002 season. I remember the hair on the back on my neck standing up as we flanked up-field playing Buckeye Battle Cry; I have never heard a crowd roar as loud as that!

The second memory is related to being involved in Alpha Sigma Upsilon, and taking the “long walk” as a group.  It surprised me how much I loved the girls in that group, and how many lasting friendships I made by getting out of my comfort zone and joining.

Following graduation, what was your first job?
In July of 2005 I was hired at Greenon High School in Clark county as an agricultural education teacher.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
2005-2008 Greenon High School agriculture teacher
2009-2015 Westfall High School (also a PRCTC Satellite) agriculture teacher
2015-Present PRCTC-Stoneridge animal sciences teacher

Share with us a few awards that you have received during your teaching career.
I consider my awards to be mostly influencing and watching my students grow. I have coached many good CDE teams, had two students serve as State Officers for the Ohio FFA Association, several state winning proficiencies, etc. Watching students I have mentored succeed is more fulfilling than winning awards personally, in my opinion. I have been elected to serve as the Ohio Association for Agricultural Educators (OAAE) President, and also was selected as a CASE Master Teacher in 2017.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight would be National FFA Convention in 2015, because I had two students win awards at the national level. It was thrilling to be on stage with them and see how excited they were. It’s pretty humbling to be a part of their successes.

What advice would you give to a current student?
My advice to a current student would be to get involved!  Join clubs/organizations, make friends, travel, be generous with your time and money, study, and don’t worry so much. College goes by too quickly, try to live in the moment and have fun!

Our theme for our centennial celebration is “Cultivating Futures” What was cultivated in you during your time at Ohio State?
ACEL cultivated in me a sense of purpose. It gave me the tools and direction I needed to go out into the world and make a difference in the community I serve.


Alumni Spotlight: Bernie Scott, ’61, ’77

Bernard J. “Bernie” Scott, came to Ohio State from his hometown of Zanesville where he attended Jefferson-Dresden High School (now known as Tri-Valley High School). He completed a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agricultural education in 1961 and 1977, respectively. Scott is a retired agricultural educator, but is an active member in the community of Tontogany. He is a supervisor and chair of the Wood Soil and Water Conservation District, a member of the Ohio Envirothon Contest Committee, the Erie Basin Resource Conservation & Development Council and the Wood County United Way Advisory Board, trustee for the Agricultural Incubator Foundation and the Grand Rapids Historical Society, delivers meals for the Wood County Committee on Aging and is the newsletter editor for the Wood County Retired Teachers Association.

Hi Bernie! At Ohio State, you majored in agricultural education. Why did you select that major?
I was influenced and somewhat invited to major in agricultural education at Ohio State mostly by my first college roommate Mr. Jim Helt and my second year roommate and close high school friend Mr. Robert Thomas. My career in agricultural education teaching was firmly planted during the wonderful second quarter of apprenticeship teaching while partnering with Mr. Dennis Swartz.

You chose to be a Buckeye? Why not attend another school?
I chose Ohio State in 1956 because it was the only agricultural college in Ohio! My first introduction to the OSU campus occurred in June 1953 when I won the right to represent our Jefferson-Dresden High School FFA chapter’s General Livestock Judging Team in the state contest. I just completed my freshman year and was attending my first combined Ohio FFA Convention/State Judging Contests, little did I realize I was attending the first ever Ohio FFA Banquet for the 25th Silver Anniversary Celebration.

Did your education at Ohio State influence your decision for your career?
My early choice of taking the Intro to Ag Ed class in spring quarter of 1957 under Dr Willard Wolf in Ives Ag Engineering Hall and at least one field trip seeing Mr. Earl Kantner teaching at Canal Winchester High School, started my focus in agricultural education teaching as a career choice. I watched the present Agricultural Administration Building and St. John Arena being constructed in 1956 on my way to Poultry Science Building!

Were you involved in any activities outside of the classroom?
My college career activity consisted mainly of classes and part time college jobs to support myself starting as a noontime lunch waiter in a small diner on Chittenden Avenue where I got a free 72-cent noon lunch special and one dollar for 2 hours of work. Later I worked part time parking cars at downtown Lazarus Department Store.  I finished my part time college jobs working evenings and Saturdays at the Columbus Dispatch Newspaper in the Advertising Service Department for the morning Citizen Journal and the daily evening and Sunday Dispatch. Several summer jobs included the Stancor Electronics Co. , Clarksburg Cardboard Co., Hazel Atlas Glass Co., and the Armco Steel Company. I did attend several Townsend Ag Ed Society activities and meetings when possible.  We never stayed in a university housing, but lived at 66 Chittenden Avenue in a rooming house with other students for $5 per week.

Did you have any classes that were your favorites?
I was always focused on agricultural education/FFA, which made all agriculture related classes my favorites. One class in particular taken as a reported easy 3 credit hour communication class turned into a special and memorable one because it was held in a small radio and television production lab in lower level of Derby Hall. The class actually made in-house radio/television shows with students taking turns running the set equipment and staring! The instructor labeled me to do mostly farm market reports and country interviews, because I had “ruralism” in my voice. My “ruralism’ served me well in my career!

Many current agricultural educators from around the state have looked to you as a mentor and a positive example of an agricultural educator. Did you have a professor or mentor that you looked up to while you were a student and beyond?
To pick one professor as being most influential it would go to Dr. Ralph Bender, chair of the department, during whose class I used his textbook, and later on, observing us during student teaching that always ended in encouraging words.

Of your time at Ohio State, what is a memory that you hold close to your heart?
My most memorable moment at Ohio State might have been attending the 1957and 1958 ROTC Military Ball in the Ohio Union with my high school sweetheart, now my wife of 56 years. ROTC was a mandatory class for all male students in the 1950’s.

After you completed your degree in agricultural education, what was your first job?
My first teaching job in 1962 was substitute teaching vocational agriculture at Olentangy  High School in Delaware County for about two weeks while the regular instructor full-filled some military training. It started on the same day that John Glenn Orbited the Earth in Friendship 7. In May 1962 I interviewed for Otsego High School, was hired, and arrived July 1, 1962 and 38 years later retired from Otsego. Entire career in same school!

Throughout those 38 years, and even post-retirement, what awards have you received?
Many honors and awards in rank order:
2013: Ohio Agricultural Hall Of Fame Inductee
2009: Robert Duncan Ohio State Alumni Association Citizenship Award
2007: OSU Ag College Distinguished Alumni Award
2013: Inaugural Induction Wood County Agricultural Hall of Fame
2015: Otsego High School Hall of Fame
1983: Honorary American Farmer FFA Degree
1988: and 2001 Spirit of Wood County Award
2014: Volunteer Fire fighter of the Year award
2015: 50 Year Volunteer Fire Fighter Service Recognition
1996: American Legion Regional Educator of the Year Award
2002: Inaugural Induction into Otsego High School Athletic Boosters Hall of Fame (I never coached any sports!)

Share with us a few things from your career that you are very proud of or consider a highlight.

  1. I have a few to share. I served on the design and steering committee of the first specialized Agriculture Education Programs in the first JVS School District in Ohio –Penta JVS /CC.  It started with concept discussion to operating in 14 months in 1965.
  2. I also designed and constructed and introduced to the world the first public use “Flowing Grain Entrapment Rescue Tube” in 1982 at The BGSU Fire School.
  3. I suggested, designed, and constructed the Ohio FFA Association’s 1979 50th Golden Anniversary Time Capsule which I helped open at the 75th Ohio FFA Anniversary Convention in 2003.  It was in the shape of the NASA Space Shuttle with top opening doors and was filled and closed 3 years before the real space shuttle flew in space.
  4. And lastly, being the spark that envisioned an agriculture field trip/land lab site at the former H. J. Heinz Research Farm in the Otsego School District in 1996 that we help secure and became a co-founder of the now Agricultural [Business/Research] Incubator Foundation.

Even though it’s been a few years since you have been a student, what advice do you have for today’s students who aspire to teach agriculture like you?
I have several pieces of advice for today’s students:

  • Always be prepared to recognize the best opportunities that will come your way!
  • 95% of your future success and happiness depends on whom you marry!
  • Strive in all your future endeavors to make 2+2 equal more than 4 maybe even a 5 or 6 or even a 10

What did ACEL cultivate in you as a student?
Plain and simple ACEL cultivated “classroom and community” along with “SUCCESS” !

Alumni Spotlight: Melinda McKay Witten, ’07

Melinda McKay Witten graduated from The Ohio State University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture. She majored in agricultural and extension education. She came to Columbus in 2003 from her hometown of Stockport, Ohio, but now resides in Beverly, Ohio with her family. She works for Ohio Farm Bureau where she is the Director of Leadership Programming and coordinates the Young Ag Professionals and AgriPOWER Leadership Institute programs.

[ACEL]: Hi Melinda! You majored in agricultural and extension education while at Ohio State. Why did you select that major?
[Witten]: I selected agriculture education because I wanted to be an ag teacher, inspiring students to be involved in the agriculture industry. However, I have never taught in a classroom! Instead, I get to work with wonderful leaders at Ohio Farm Bureau! ​

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
From the moment I set foot on campus as high school student, I knew that is where I was meant to be. I LOVED the energy, excitement and opportunities that OSU provided for their students. This was especially true on the CFAES campus! And, it was completely different from my small hometown. I could walk to a Wendy’s!

While at Ohio State, how did the courses you took influence your career path?
​I loved the agriculture education classes because we were subjected to a variety of topics. The saying “Jack of all trades, master of none” was very true for my studies at OSU. I loved being exposed to all the subject areas. During my student teaching period, I learned that the traditional ag classroom setting was not for me. ​I loved it but my true calling was to work for Farm Bureau and their volunteers!

Did you have a favorite class?
​While it was the hardest and must frustrating class, I loved agricultural and construction systems management 300-301 with Dr. Lichensteiger. The workload was intense but I still use that information to this day. ​Anyone who had his class knows about his “green sheet of conversion tables”. That conversion sheet still hangs in my kitchen cupboard today!

We have heard many students say that class was beneficial. I’m glad it was for you too! Outside of the classroom, were you involved in any student organizations?
I was involved in the Agricultural Education Society. ​I decided to focus my efforts to on one organization while balancing my internships with Ohio Farm Bureau.

What professor had an impact on your time at Ohio State?
I loved working with all the agricultural education staff. Dr. Susie Whittington was very supportive of all of her students and found a way to connect with each one of us.

All alumni have a few memories that stand out the most to them. What is yours?
“How Firm Thy Friendships” is so very true. Many of my fondest memories involve the friends I made at OSU! And I also really love the memory of Ohio State beating *ichigan at the last second to go to the National Championship my senior year (2007).

Following graduation in 2007, what was your first job?
I was the organization director for Ohio Farm Bureau in Logan, Hardin and Wyandot counties. ​

You started with Ohio Farm Bureau in 2007 and still work there. Have you changed roles?
I have only worked for Ohio Farm Bureau! I have had many roles there over the years before landing at my current one as the Director of Young Ag Professionals and the AgriPOWER Institute.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite highlight is the growth of the Young Ag Professionals program. The program has grown to have over 650 attendees at their Winter Leadership Conference, one of the largest in the nation.  And over 49 local YAP programs across the state. I am beyond excited to know that younger folks want to be involved in agriculture!

What advice would you give to a current student?
It is a very small world, especially in agriculture. Always be kind and professional because that reputation will get you further than an A in your hardest classes!

Great advice for our current students. Last question. What did ACEL cultivate in you?
It exposed me to many great connections to the agriculture industry. I didn’t realize it at the time but those connections have remained valuable today!​

Witten with college friends at the 2006 Ohio State vs. Michigan football game. #1 (Ohio State) vs. #2 (Michigan). Winner went to the National Championship Game, which was Ohio State!

Bowling to join ACEL faculty

Dr. Amanda Bowling will join the Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership faculty as a visiting assistant professor for the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years.

Bowling will fill many of the teaching responsibilities in the data analysis and statistics area that opened following the retirement of Dr. Jamie Cano. She will also engage with the agriscience education program by supervising student teachers.

A recent PhD graduate in agricultural education from the University of Missouri, Bowling spent six years as a high school agriculture teacher and FFA advisor in Missouri and most recently worked as a graduate assistant during her graduate studies. Her dissertation focused on psychological needs and motivation of youth in school-based agricultural education, with much of that work focused on the contests of Career Development Events.

Dr. Bowling’s appointment will begin on August 15, 2017.