Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Ed Osborne ’82 Ph.D.

Dr. Ed Osborne ’82 completed a doctoral degree in agricultural education at Ohio State. He is currently at the University of Florida as a professor of agricultural education.

[ACEL]: Why did you decide to get a doctoral degree in agricultural education?
[Osborne]: I’ve always loved the schooling environment and the field of agriculture, so becoming a high school agriculture teacher was an obvious career choice for me. After teaching at the high school level for four years, I had an unexpected opportunity to teach in the agricultural education program at Virginia Tech for one year and discovered that I enjoyed teaching at the college level even more (I loved both).

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Ohio State was THE place to earn a Ph.D. degree in agricultural education in the 1980s, and one of the faculty members there (Dr. Larry Miller) had been one of my professors in my undergraduate program at Virginia Tech. He had been encouraging me to pursue a Ph.D. degree for several years.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My doctoral experience at Ohio State really stretched my perspectives in many ways and gave me a great foundation as a beginning agricultural education faculty member. Ohio State, Columbus, and the Midwest presented a dramatically different academic and community environment for me, compared to my rural southwest Virginia roots. I’ve always loved learning, and the opportunity to learn and broaden my perspectives seemed endless at Ohio State. My experiences there solidified my decision to become a university agricultural education faculty member.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State graduate student?
As a graduate student, I was involved in our graduate student organization and honorary societies. In addition, the large and diverse graduate student community in the department at Ohio State made for a wonderful doctoral experience.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I really enjoyed the research series (methods, design, data analysis). The professors in these courses (Miller and Warmbrod) were simply outstanding and made the concepts and principles very easy to understand. I also thoroughly enjoyed serving as a TA for Dr. Newcomb in his teaching methods course. He was a master at teaching the problem solving approach, and his expertise and effectiveness in this course were perhaps the best I have ever seen to this day.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career?
The three faculty member’s that impacted me the most during my time at Ohio State were Drs. Miller, Warmbrod, and Newcomb. Dr. Miller was an outstanding academic advisor and teacher, and Dr. Warmbrod and Dr. Newcomb were superb teachers. In addition, I always admired Dr. Warmbrod’s ability to find the simple in the complex, whether it was a concept in teaching or data analysis or a controversial discussion at a professional conference.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My graduation day, of course, stands out. Probably my favorite memories were from all of the time our graduate student group spent together at socials, going to football games, and playing on our intramural water polo team. We rocked!

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job after earning my Ph.D. degree from Ohio State was that of visiting assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. (I was appointed to an assistant professor position the following year.)

Where has your professional career taken you since you graduated from Ohio State?
 I’ve worked at only two institutions since earning my Ph.D. degree at Ohio State in 1982. I began at the University of Illinois and continued there for 15 years as a faculty member in teacher education. This involved teaching and advising undergraduate and graduate students, conducting research, and providing teacher professional development programs. I was appointed Chair of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication at the University of Florida in 1997 and remained in that position until July 2016. I returned to the faculty thereafter and currently teach graduate seminars, advise graduate students, and conduct research and extension programs focused on teacher well-being and personal resilience. I have also facilitated strategic planning sessions for more than 40 university, professional, and community-based organizations.

During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
Outstanding Service Citation, National Association of Agricultural Educators, Region V (2014); Distinguished Leadership Award of Merit, UF Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta (2011); Distinguished Lecturer, American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE) (2010); Outstanding Agricultural Educator, AAAE (2007); AAAE Fellow (2007); President, The National Council for Agricultural Education (2005); President, AAAE (2004-05); Outstanding Instructor, College of Agriculture, University of Illinois (1992); AAAE Outstanding Young Member (1988). I was also coordinator and primary instructor for the UF/IFAS faculty/staff leadership development program for 10 years.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My tenure as department chair at the University of Florida was very fulfilling. We experienced remarkable growth in all areas, fueled by superb faculty and students and strong support from administration and stakeholders. The most rewarding aspect of this work was the opportunity to help people discover and pursue their potential, whether students, faculty, teachers, staff, leaders, or others.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Enjoy the student experience, but never lose sight of your highest priority as a student – learning as much as you can, stretching your perspectives, building personal and professional connections, continuing to discover your interests and potential, and performing well academically.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
I believe my doctoral program at Ohio State gave me the confidence to step into new arenas and be a contributing member in all types of team environments. My experiences at OSU built the foundation for my work as a faculty member, a position I continue to genuinely love today (decades later).

ACEL Spotlight: Dr. Jan Henderson ’74, ’80 MS

Jan Henderson is from Bay Village, Ohio and currently lives in Westlake where she works for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, as a Senior Capacity Development Specialist.

Why did you select your major of agricultural education?
I wanted to combine my love of horticulture and my love for people; majoring in agricultural education was a natural choice. My original intent was to pursue a career in horticulture therapy; I completed my “student teaching” experience at Harding Hospital (a non-profit psychiatric facility in Worthington, Ohio) before returning to campus to fulfill course requirements for my teaching certificate.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Ohio State was far enough away, but not too far from my home town; the university was affordable and had an excellent School of Social Work which was my initial career interest. I had no previous contact with or knowledge of the University or Columbus before enrolling in fall quarter 1970.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your career path?
My bachelor’s and master’s degrees provided me with the foundation and credentials to pursue not only careers in teaching at the secondary and university levels, but also expanded opportunities to work internationally with non-profit organizations.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I loved all of my horticulture classes, even the dreaded Plant ID course with Dr. D.C. “Kip” Kiplinger. However, as the only female (and usually the only non-farm student) in my undergraduate agricultural education and ag science classes I did not always feel welcomed. What a wonderful change has occurred as more women have enrolled in the department and have joined the faculty.

Did a faculty member have a particular impact on your education and/or career?
Dr. Leon Boucher provided much needed reassurance and support during my first year of teaching. I was substituting for a teacher who had suffered a heart attack and those initial visits from Dr. Boucher kept me focused, encouraged, and determined not to give up; he was my biggest cheerleader. As I began teaching I was at somewhat of a disadvantage by not having taken vocational agriculture in high school and being unfamiliar with the FFA. John Davis and Odell Miller, from the State Department of Education, became my patient “teachers” spending many hours gladly answering my questions during our times together at FFA Camp.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
A favorite memory is participating in the Little International Livestock Show when I was a sophomore; for a “city girl” with no farm background handling my Charolais heifer was quite an experience!

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job was teaching 11th grade horticulture at Penta County Joint Vocational School in Rossford, Ohio in March 1975.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career and what were your responsibilities in those positions?

Horticulture Instructor at Penta County Joint Vocational School, Tri-Rivers Joint Vocational School, and Upper Valley Joint Vocational School

Graduate Teaching Assistant, Agricultural and Extension Education, Mississippi State University

Visiting Assistant Professor, Agricultural Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Associate Professor, Agricultural Education, The Ohio State University

Planning, Evaluation, and Training Coordinator, Heifer International

Senior Capacity Development Specialist, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 During your career, what honors or awards have you been presented?

Outstanding Leadership Award, Association for International Agricultural and Extension  Education, 2000

Outstanding Advisor, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, 1998

Rodney Plimpton Outstanding Teacher Award, College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, 1995

Outstanding Young Scholar, University Council for Vocational Education, 1987

Outstanding Young Teacher, Ohio Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association, District 6, 1978

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlights are the times I have spent with students: taking my high school students to FFA Camp and the National FFA Convention; listening to my undergraduate advisees consider their career options; visiting and encouraging our student teachers and first-year teachers; collecting data with my doctoral students in their home countries; and finding ways to make statistics more enjoyable and understandable for my graduate students.

What advice would you give to a current student?
I would encourage students to consider enrolling in a study abroad program. Studying in a foreign country exposes students to different ways of being and knowing, to a better understanding of themselves and other cultures, and to new interests, languages, and lifelong friendships.  I understand that not every student can afford to study abroad due to financial, work, or family constraints; therefore I would encourage all students to take advantage of any opportunity to encounter and engage with diverse settings and cultures in the U.S.; diversity is all around us if we open our eyes and hearts.

 What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated a commitment to excellence in teaching, research, and service through the faculty and staff who nurtured and supported my education; who had a genuine interest in my well-being and future. I have strived to emulate these role models during my own career journey.

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. M. Susie Whittington ’82, ’88 MS, ’91 PhD

Dr. Susie Whittington is a three-time graduate of our department. She currently serves as the director for the University’s Second-Year Transformational Experience program and is a professor of agriscience education.

She graduated from Ohio State in 1982 with her bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and went on to receive her master’s and PhD in agricultural education in 1988 and 1991, respectively.

[ACEL]: Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?
[Whittington]: I came to Ohio State knowing I was planning to be a high school agricultural science teacher. At that time, all students entered Ohio State through UVC (University College), and were not to enroll in a major for several quarters. To enter a major, students had to meet with the undergraduate coordinator in the major; for agricultural education, that was Dr. L.H. Newcomb. I nervously met with him my first quarter, received the typical “drilling” about why I wanted to become an agricultural science teacher, was enrolled in the major that day, and was hired by him that day to be a work-study student for Dr. Jim Knight.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
For a rural Ohio kid at that time, there was no other place to consider! However, I never planned to go to college. As a high school agricultural science student, one of my agricultural science teachers brought me to campus. He told me I needed to be a high school agricultural science teacher and I needed to go to Ohio State. As a first-generation college student, my agricultural science teacher was a pseudo-parent in the college conversation. He showed me how to navigate the necessary college entry processes.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My education at The Ohio State University prepared me to have the confidence I needed to be a 23 year old, accepting the opportunity to re-open a high school agricultural science program that had been closed.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
As an Ohio State student, I embraced everything the college and department had to offer! I worked for the department as a work-study student for three years and I worked for Extension my senior year both before and after student teaching. I was fortunate to serve as president of the Agricultural Education Society, secretary of the CFAES Student Council (CAHENR at the time!), Little I Queen in Saddle and Sirloin Club, and a Little Sis in Alpha Zeta Fraternity (now FarmHouse).

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I enjoyed the entire curriculum that was required to complete an agricultural education degree and to acquire an Ohio teaching license.  From my educational psychology classes to my animal nutrition class, I appreciated the knowledge the classes were providing in preparation for my career objective. I most loved, however, EVERY class in the Department of Agricultural Education and the professors who taught them: Dr. Newcomb, Dr. Knight, Dr. Hedges, Dr. Henderson, Dr. Starling, Dr. Boucher, Dr. Rossetti and Dr. Ray Miller were highly influential. In addition, during my MS and PhD courses in the department, I was influenced by Dr. Warmbrod, Dr. Barrick, Dr. Blannie Bowen, Dr. Budke, Dr. McCracken, Dr. Larry Miller, Dr. Paulson, Dr. VanTilburg-Norland, Dr. Agunga, Dr. Gliem and Dr. McCaslin. The graduate assistants, at that time, and forever in this department, play a significant role in the preparation of our students…that was very true for me.  Of course, given that my favorite class I teach today is Methods of Teaching, it is no surprise that my all-time favorite class was Methods of Teaching with Dr. Newcomb.

Did a faculty member have a specific impact on your time at Ohio State?
As stated in a previous question, I am professionally a genetic make-up of every professor, graduate assistant, and staff member in this department from 1978 to today. However, I believe that most of us who have earned a PhD might say that our major professor influenced our thinking for a life-time; my major professor was Dr. Newcomb.

What is your favorite Ohio State memory?
Outside of room 246 Ag Admin, Dr. Knight introduced me to Pat Whittington. The rest is history!

What was your first job following your undergraduate education?
I was the high school agricultural science teacher at Wellington High School in Loraine County.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career and what were your responsibilities in those positions?

Wellington High School
The University of Idaho
The Pennsylvania State University
The Ohio State University.

Share the honors and awards you have been presented during your career.

National Award for Excellence in College and University Teaching in the Food and Agricultural Sciences, from The United States Department of Agriculture, and the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities

Teaching Excellence Award, from the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture

Outstanding Student Organization Advisor Award, from The Ohio Union and The Office of Student Affairs, The Ohio State University

Josephine Sitterle Failer Award, for outstanding service to Ohio State students, from The Ohio State University Alumni Association

Academy of Fellows, from the American Association for Agricultural Education

Teacher Fellow, from the North American Association of Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture

Distinguished Researcher Award, from the American Association for Agricultural Education

Author of the Year Award, from the Journal of Agricultural Education

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
It is hard to write into words the capstone of emotions that are felt each time I experience the incredible opportunity to hood a new PhD at The Ohio State University commencement ceremonies.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Embrace engagement in at least one opportunity in each of the following: your department, your college, your university, and the City of Columbus.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated in me a passion for assisting students in achieving their career objective.

Agricultural Education Society with John Mount and University President E. Gordon Gee during the 125th anniversary of the organization.

Dr. Whittington with Dr. LH Newcomb.

Dr. Whittington’s office in the former 208 suite of Agricultural Administration.

The Whittington Family and Archie Griffin.

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 MS, ’09 PhD

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.