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.

Ohio State agriscience education students will continue to ‘grow the next gen’

Dr. Susie Whittington and agrsicience education students Haley Sherman and Geoffrey Norris attended a grant presentation as a representative of Ohio State agriscience education at Battell on June 21, 2017.

The grant, presented to the Ohio Soybean Council from Battell, will allow pre-service agricultural educators to work with the GrowNextGen community for additional training time and materials to use while student teaching!

Thank you Battelle and Ohio Soybean Farmers for including Ohio State in this opportunity.

Ohio State Bound: Olivia

Welcome to the Buckeye family Olivia!

Olivia will major in agriscience education at the Columbus campus. When asked why she selected her major, she said “I chose agriscience education because of my passion for the agriculture industry, the health of the planet and for the people that live on Earth. Becoming an educator will allow me to hopefully continue having a positive impact on students and their environment.”

Olivia is a recent graduate of Zane Trace High School.

Ohio State Bound: Tyler

Welcome to the Buckeye family, Tyler Dunbar!

Tyler will be a freshmen studying agriscience education on the Columbus campus this autumn.

When asked why he selected his major, he said “I chose agriscience education because I have a passion for diverse education and professional development. I believe that ag teachers have the strongest curriculum that embraces a non-traditional classroom experience that truly prepares students for life after high school.”

He is a recent graduate of Pymatuning Valley High School.

Brown selected as nationwide Teach Ag ambassador

Kelse Brown, of Edgerton, Ohio, was recently selected as a National Teach Ag Ambassador, an outreach program of the National Council for Agricultural Education, led by the National Association of Agricultural Educators to promote the agricultural education profession.

Over the next year, Brown will be one of 12 future agriculture teachers from across the nation who will serve as National Teach Ag Ambassadors. The selected students were chosen from a nationwide pool of applicants. The primary goal for the ambassadors is to encourage others to consider a career as an agriculture teacher, by sharing their passion and enthusiasm with others. Specifically, Brown and his fellow ambassadors will represent the National Teach Ag Campaign at the 2017 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. October 25-28. The ambassadors will also work with local and state leaders in agricultural education to encourage students to pursue a major in agricultural education throughout their year of service.

“I am excited to see Kelse selected to promote the agricultural education profession not only in Ohio, but to audiences across the nation,” said Dr. Tracy Kitchel, professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership at The Ohio State University. “Ohio State has been cultivating future educators for more than 100 years. Kelse will be a great representation of our agriscience education program to others who have a passion for educating youth about the agriculture industry.”

The Teach Ag Ambassadors will also develop a cohort of future and current agriculture teachers who will inspire the next generation of leaders, problem solvers, entrepreneurs and agriculturalists while at National FFA Convention and throughout the year. The ambassadors will promote the National Teach Ag Campaign through emails, social media, presentations and other various outlets.

The demand for agriculture teachers remains high due to retirements, current program growth, new programs opening, and current teachers leaving to explore other opportunities. The 12 selected ambassadors will share their passion for teaching agriculture in an effort to address the perennial demand. They will also have the opportunity to build their own professional network and develop leadership and communication skills they will need in their future careers as agriculture teachers.

Brown will return to Ohio State in August to continue his degree in agriscience education. He is the son of Christopher and Christine Brown and a graduate of Edgerton High School.

The agriscience education major at Ohio State prepares its students you to acquire a license to teach agricultural science in secondary high schools in Ohio and across the country, with extensive training in agricultural science, educational psychology, instructional methods, and youth development. For additional information on the agriscience education major, visit acel.osu.edu or call 614.247.6358.

The National Teach Ag Campaign is funded by the CHS Foundation, DuPont Pioneer, Growth Energy, and BASF as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. The campaign is designed to raise an awareness of the career opportunities in agricultural education, encourage others to consider a career as an agriculture teacher and celebrate the positive contributions that agriculture teachers make in their schools and communities. For more information about the National Teach Ag Campaign, visit http://www.naae.org/teachag.

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

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

Home State:
Ohio: 48
North Carolina: 1

Gender:
Male: 13
Female: 36