ACEL Banquet: Graduating Undergraduates

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

Class of 2017

Stats on our Class of 2017

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

Home State:
Ohio: 48
North Carolina: 1

Male: 13
Female: 36


Ramblings of a Super Senior

By Chaney Pavelka
community leadership

Hello blog post readers! My name is Chaney Pavelka. I’m a fifth…maybe sixth year senior here at OSU. Honestly I’ve lost count. I got my associate’s degree in 2012, took a year off, and have been at OSU for four years. So let’s just call me a senior senior.

Anyway, here I am. A complete stranger here to tell you all about my life. I’m here to entertain. Let me first start off by saying my current major was never something I considered studying. I, originally, was studying medical dietetics, a continuation of the associate’s degree I obtained in dietetics and nutritional management. I was one of those people who thought the fancier the title the more people will respect me. I thought if it’s not science or engineering or law studies then how will my family get their bragging rights?
Then I had a quarter life crisis, started having panic attacks, and had to really reevaluate things. I was taking chemistry for the third time and still could not grasp it or get the C- that I needed. In my defense I DID NOT FAIL…I just didn’t get a C. But once I felt like I had hit rock bottom I had this thought, why am I doing this to myself? Why would I put myself through all these classes that I hate if I can find something that I love? I have the power to make a decision and change that.

So, I met with an advisor in the exploration department and she mentioned community leadership. Honestly, my first thought was, “Okay. This lady’s just giving me ideas because she thinks I’m not smart enough for anything else.” Which, at this point, I had convinced myself was true. But, I told her about the things that I actually enjoy doing, like helping people, organizing things, and reaching out to people in the community, and it was an instant match.

I’m now proud to tell people that I’m studying community leadership with a leadership specialization and a minor in human nutrition. I fell in love with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences my first day. I have the coolest advisor (Dr. Mary Rodriguez) and I love ALL of the classes I’m taking.

Chaney Pavelka, community leadership major.

After everything I went through last year, choosing this major was such a breath of fresh air. I haven’t had any field experience, studied abroad, or had my internship yet, but I have still loved everything about this school year. I’m taking a volunteer and human resource management class and it requires that I fulfill service hours. This class was the push I needed to get myself out into the community and start networking. I’ve loved volunteering and getting my name out there and being able to show people what I’m capable of as a young professional.

All of my rambling has a point, I promise.

Students go through a lot during their years in college, and sometimes people don’t realize that. But I’m rooting for you! My experience here at Ohio State, and in CFAES in particular, is proof that just because you fall off track doesn’t mean you can’t succeed at doing something you love. There’s always something out there for people to do. You just have to figure out what you really want and hope that your parents don’t shun you for changing your major (twice). It’s also proof that the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Services is awesome as is everyone who studies here.

ACEL Dean’s List – Autumn 2016

Congratulations to the students in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership who were named to the Dean’s List for the 2016 Autumn Semester.

The students with an asterisk(*) beside their name received a 4.0.


Agricultural Communication 
Kristen Bondurant
Mindi Brookhart
Amanda Champa
Haley Clinker
Lauren Corry*
Tyler Crowe
Brianna Gwirtz*
Alexandra Hulvalchick
Mary Jenkins*
Karli Lump*
Miranda Miser
Chloe Moreland
Elizabeth Overholt
Michael Price
Taylor Pugh
Kaylee Reed
Leah Schwinn*
Jarred Shellhouse*
Mary Siekman
Alyssa Stanicki
Marlee Stollar*
Mandy Taylor
Ryan Vonderhaar

Agriscience Education 
Christine Balint
Shelby Balint*
Katherine Bell
Megan Bergman
Christopher Brown
Emily Burns*
Karlie Canfield
Katelyn Deaton
Jordan Dues
Sara Dungan
Connor Frame
Courtney Fulton
Donald Gase
Katrina Harper
Katie Hart
Logan Heiby
Wyatt Jones
Sarah Landis
Hailey Lowden *
Cody McClain*
Rachel McClellan
Summer McLain*
Abigale Motter
Frances Nicol
Geoffrey Norris
Etta Ray
Cole Riddle*
Tricia Schoen*
Ellyse Shafer
Haley Sherman
Carley Snider*
Emily Starlin
Robert Thiel
Tara Vorst
Kayla Walls
Samantha Wander*
Jessica White
Michael Willeke

Community Leadership
Sarah Bookman
Justin Bower
Nolan Champer
Ashley Gerlach
Kendall Glasser
Audrey Hoey
Morgan Jolliff
Chandler Kisiel
Travis Long
Sarah Longo*
Kristen Ramey*
Ryan Skinner
Mariah Stollar*
Katharine Stottlemyer

Meet the Faculty: Mary Rodriguez

Assistant professor of community leadership, Mary Rodriguez tells us a little bit about herself for this week’s “Meet the Faculty”:

“I am originally from Texas and living in the MidWest for the first time! I did my undergrad at Texas A&M (2008) and my masters (2010) and PhD (2015) at University of Florida. In between my Masters and PhD, I served in the U.S. Peace Corps from 2010-2012 in Cameroon, West Africa! I loved my time there as an agro-forestry volunteer where I worked with women’s groups and taught at an agricultural technical school. I lived in a village in the North region of Cameroon that had no running water, sometimes had electricity, and spotty cell service.

“I am currently an Assistant Professor of Community Leadership here in the department. I hope to bring more of the community (development) perspective to leadership, Ag education, extension, and communication. I am passionate about learning about people’s food security status in order to work with them to help build more resilient communities. Currently, I am excited to start working with a local Somali Refugee community to learn more about their food security!

“In my personal life, I love to take hikes and walks with my dogs and explore new places! I have a tremendous passion for traveling and learning more about people’s cultures and ways of life! Actually, I am writing this from South Africa where I have gotten to spend the last week or so and looking forward to another week learning more about the various cultures in SA!

“I am a first generation America. My mother is from Columbia and my father from Nicaragua. I spoke Spanish as my first language and then learned English in school. I learned French and a local tribal language during my time in the Peace Corps and consider myself fluent in English & Spanish and conversational/ semi-fluent in French (I need more practice!). I have nearly forgotten all of the tribal language… no one else speaks it! My favorite food is probably pizza, however, I love good Mexican food as well! The most odd thing I have ever eaten was python in Cameroon.“

ACEL in the News: 2016 Recap

Alumni, Faculty and Staff

W. Tyler Agner, PhD candidate, Resident helps coordinate OSU trip to HondurasBellefontaine Examiner
Dr. Emily Buck,
faculty, Two Ohio women selected to faces of farmingOhio’s Country Journal
Dr. Emily Buck, faculty, Finalists for Faces of Farming announced, Ohio’s Country Journal
Dr. Emily Buck, faculty member, US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Announces 2016’s Faces of Farming and Ranching Finalists, Oklahoma Farm Report
Dr. John Ewing, alum, Agricultural education professor wins USDA teaching award, Penn State News
Stephanie Jolliff
, PhD student, Hardin County Agricultural Hall of FameYour News Now
Stephanie Jolliff, PhD candidate, Ag Hall of Fame to induct new members, Lima News
Stacie Seger McCracken, alum, McCracken addresses Rotary Club, Sidney Daily News
Aaron Miller, alum, Helping Teachers Teach
Kelly Newlon, PhD student, The market knows no border, Farm & Dairy
Ericka Priest, alum, Getting to know… a first year Ag teacher, Ericka Priest
Adam Sharp, alum, Adam Sharp sets course to prepare OFBF for the next 100 years, Farm and Dairy
Katherine Terrell, alum, Gallipolis FFA competes at state soils contest, Gallipolis Daily Tribune
Dr. Susie Whittington, faculty, CASE Institute provides professional development at Upper Valley Career Center, Troy Daily News
Emily Wickham, staff, Local OSU student studies in Honduras, Pike County News Watchman

Current Students

Honduras Study Abroad, Ohio State students study abroad in HondurasOhio’s Country Journal
Amanda Bush, agricultural communication student, Mount Gilead student joins Ohio State study abroad trip to HondurasMorrow County Sentinel
Amanda Bush, agricultural communication student, Bush to serve term as National ACT officer, Ohio’s Country Journal
Amanda Bush, agricultural communication student, Mount Gilead grad to serve as communications coordinator for National Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Morrow County Sentinel
Blake Campbell, agriscience education student, A roundup of FFA news for the week of November 24, 2016, Farm and Dairy
Mariah Carey, agricultural communication student, Mount Gilead student awarded Ohio State agriculture scholarship
Lauren Corry, agricultural communication student, Farm bureau offers interactive agriculture exhibit
Katelyn Deaton, agriscience education student, Deaton awarded agriscience education scholarship, Register Herald
Nick Fowler, agriscience education student, Three young sheep farmers receive scholarships, Ohio’s Country Journal
Brianna Gwirtz, agricultural communication student, Shelby grad interns at Lynd Fruit FarmMansfield News Journal
Audrey Hoey, community leadership student, Emily Wickham, ACEL staff, Local OSU students and staff travel to Honduras, Chillicothe Gazette
Audrey Hoey, community leadership student, Hoey completes internship with ADM Grain, Chillicothe Gazette
Caleb Hickman, agriscience education student, Buckeyes feed the funnel, Mount Vernon News
Sarah Johnson, agricultural communication student, Johnson awarded agricultural communication scholarship
Sarah Johnson, agricultural communication student, Johnson completes internship with CFAES Advancement Office
Lea Kimley, agricultural communication student, Southeastern High grad named 2016 fair queen
Haley Kocher, community leadership student, OSU awards local woman scholarship
Rachel McClellan, agriscience education student, Xenia grad spends time in HondurasXenia Gazette
Summer McLain, agriscience education student, McLain awarded agriscience education scholarship
Summer McLain and Justin Feltz, agriscience education students, Area OSU students relate experiences in HondurasSidney Daily News
Abby Myers, agricultural communication student, Tuscarawas County Fair is showtime for 4-H members, alumni, Times Reporter
Meredith Oglesby, agricultural communication student, Shelby FFA hosts multi-chapter leadership night, Ohio’s Country Journal
Taylor Orr, Abby Motter, agriscience education students, Sarah Bookman, community leadership student, Roundup of FFA, Farm and Dairy
Leah Schwinn, agricultural communication student, Sam Wander, agriscience education student, OSU students named national scholarship recipients
Leah Schwinn, agricultural communication student, Syngenta names winners of scholarship essay contest, Greenhouse Management
Carley Snider, agriscience education student, Snider awarded scholarships
Carley Snider, agriscience education student, Moscow’s Snider to complete internship with The Fatted Calf
Carley Snider, agriscience education student, Snider attends annual agriculture educator conference, Ohio’s Country Journal
Demi Snider, agricultural communication student, Summer interns strengthen their careers and enrich programs, Kenton Times
Sydney Snider, agricultural communication student, Snider awarded scholarship
Sydney Snider, agricultural communication student, Members challenged to Transform FFA, Farm and Dairy
Emily Starlin, agriscience education student, Logan native travels to Honduras on service study trip
Mandy Taylor, agricultural communication student, Growing on social media, Wooster Daily Record
Kayla Thompson, student, Thompson awarded community leadership scholarship
Bailey Wagner, agriscience education student, Honduras trip gives OSU student new appreciation for family,Kenton Times
Mallorie Wippel, agricultural communication student, Wippel awarded agricultural communication scholarship
Mallorie Wippel, agricultural communication student, Wippel holds internship with Ohio Farm BureauCircleville Herald
Ryan Vonderhaar, agricultural communication student, Vonderhaar awarded agricultural communication scholarship

Agricultural Education Society announces 2017 Officer Team

The Agricultural Education Society at Ohio State held their end of year banquet and elected a new executive team. The members of the team officer team include Blake Campbell, Abby Motter, Cody McClain, Chrissy Balint, Katherine Bell, and Courtney Fulton.


Blake Campbell, a senior majoring in agriscience education from Waterford was named as president.

As president, Campbell will be responsible for leading the club as it participates in many events such as education and outreach, Back to School Bash, Adopt-A-Highway, and BuckeyeThon.

Abby Motter, a sophomore majoring in agriscience education and Spanish from Mansfield, will serve the role of Vice President.

During her time as Vice President, Motter will be in charge of overseeing standing committees, assisting the president, coordinating recruitment efforts, and maintaining the Program of Activities.

Cody McClain, a sophomore studying agriscience education from Nevada, was selected for the position of treasure, where he will be responsible for the club’s budget, books, and financial reports.

Chrissy Balint, a junior majoring in agriscience education from Huron, will serve her second term as secretary. Balint will be head communicator by sending weekly emails to members of the club, create agendas, take notes for meetings, create external resources.

Katherine Bell, a junior studying agriscience education from Liberty Center, was selected as the reporter. As reporter, she will work with the club’s social media accounts with the goal of communicating to the public about the mission and activities of the student organization. She will also compose news releases and articles about club activities.

Courtney Fulton, a junior studying agriscience education from Kenton, was selected for the position of CFAES Student Council representative.

With this position, Fulton will attend CFEAS Student Council meetings, keep AES members informed about what is going on with other organizations throughout the college, students informed about what is going on in AES

“It’s clear to me that the Agricultural Education Society is in great hands,” said Dr. Tracy Kitchel, chair for the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership and advisor for Agricultural Education Society. “These new officers not only performed well in their interviews but backed up their comments with action as members.”

“We are very excited to see where this team will lead AES. They have some fresh ideas and the drive to continue to make AES a great student organization on campus,” said Caitlyn Black, graduate student agricultural and extension education and club advisor.

Each officer will serve a one year term from January thru December 2017.

Agricultural Education Society is a student organization at The Ohio State University. Founded in 1882, it is the oldest continuously active undergraduate student organization. The organization promotes food, agricultural, and environmental sciences, stimulates interest in the profession of agricultural education and in leadership, acquaints members with the program of agricultural education, and provides fellowship opportunities. AES works with other youth organizations and develops professional competencies to improve the abilities of agricultural education majors.

“You don’t belong”

By Faryal Sharif
Marion, Indiana
Community Leadership


“Sometimes I want to move to Ecuador and work on Jorge’s farm,” I say to him on the phone, referencing a friend I’d met last summer.

He laughs at me. “You couldn’t handle that.”

These were the words said to me by the man I was dating at the time. He had grown up on a farm near Celina, Ohio, and hadn’t realized that I had just recently declared my major in the College of Agriculture at The Ohio State University. Those few words stuck with me for the next few days, and the following thought went through my head: “I’m not cut out for this, I’m not cut out for this, I’m not cut out for this.” When I questioned myself, the reply from the back of my head was “You don’t belong in Ag. You’re a small, wimpy, non-white, woman.”

When I first chose to study Community Leadership with a specialty in Extension, I had little grasp on what any of those words really meant. I just wanted to declare a major and move forward in my college career. But, as I fell deeper down the rabbit hole of my degree, I realized this was what I wanted to do. Despite not growing up in the exactly the same rural environment as many of my peers in ACEL, I’ve had a deep desire to work on farms, to help and connect with the people of rural America, and to be an advocate for citizens at the community level. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why I wanted to do it, and because it was so hard to understand, I continued to argue with myself. Maybe I had a deep desire, but, well, was I really cut out for this? Once again, myself told myself: “You don’t belong. You’re a small, wimpy, non-white, woman.”

This attitude continued. I thought about changing my major. I thought about quitting college—if I wasn’t going to do this, I had no idea what to do otherwise. But I liked the discipline. I liked my classes, I liked West Campus, and I liked Columbus. I enjoyed the concept of leadership as something that could enable otherwise disadvantaged groups. Yet, I wondered what it would be like if I actually pursued a career specifically in the ag sector. Would people judge me for not knowing everything? Would I constantly feel out of the place? As I continued studying and doing job shadows of people in extension, I still couldn’t shake the thought: “You don’t belong. You’re a small, wimpy, non-white, woman.”

Then something magical happened. This summer I did an internship at Franklinton Gardens, an urban farm in Columbus. During my time there I started to get more involved in the field, traveling to places like Athens to work on more rural farms and interact more closely with members of the community. I packed CSAs and harvested tomatoes and planted microgreens. Every day of work, I would sweat and labor. One day, toward the end of my internship, I was clearing out some old beds to plant new crop. As I pushed a broad fork into some particularly stubborn soil, the following words resonated in my head, “You couldn’t handle that.” I smiled to myself. I just did. I went to lunch. Everyone around me loved and respected me. I wasn’t judged or told I was weak. I could do this. I was empowered.

That’s not to say everything that was in my head was completely wrong. Historically, women have not been invited to the big kid table in the field of agriculture, despite often being the backbone of the farming community. Women were expected to not only help in labor intensive work on the farm, but also be the ideal mother, daughter, and wife. In America, the role of people of color in farming had become invisible in many ways, as they lack access to many extension resources and are un-included in the agrarian identity. But, well, it wasn’t like we couldn’t actually DO it. It’s just that so many of us have been afraid to step up. We worry about the discrimination we may face and whether or not our qualifications will be undermined. But someone has to bear the burden. Someone has to help change the face of our agricultural landscape, and tell the girl who was majoring in Extension that “yes, you can belong.”

I graduate in a few weeks. I’m not sure exactly what I want to do. One day, I’d like to teach young people about the power of farming and good food that I had come to realize, and become a leader at the community level. Mostly, I want to continue getting my hands dirty with the soil of America. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go to Ecuador and work on Jorge’s farm.



Faryal at the Franklinton Gardens with fresh tomatoes.


ACEL Students earn American Degree

The Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership had 26 students receive their American Degree at the 2016 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana this past weekend.

The American FFA Degree is awarded to members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA and made significant accomplishments in their supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs). Approximately 3,500 American FFA Degrees are handed out each year at the National FFA Convention. That number represents less than half of one percent of all FFA members, making it one of the organizations highest honors. In addition to their degree, each recipient receives a gold American FFA Degree key.

Those students from our Department who received this honor include:

Agricultural Communication
Mindi Brookhart, Waynesfield Goshen FFA
Joanna Lininger, Mohawk FFA
Michaela Kramer, Botkins FFA
Devin Roth, Cory Rawson FFA

Agriscience Education
Kelse Brown, Edgerton FFA
Blake Campbell, Waterford FFA
Kristen Eisenhauer, Shelby FFA
Katie Fath, Firelands FFA
Connor Frame, Meadowbrook FFA
Katrina Harper, Caldwell FFA
Thomas Hoover, Sentinel Vocational Center FFA
Veronica Johnson, Georgetown FFA
Wyatt Jones, Greenfield McClain FFA
Sarah Landis, Valley View FFA
Cody McClain, Upper Sandusky FFA
Micah Mensing, Oak Harbor FFA
Savannah Miller, Blanchester FFA
Abigale Motter, Crestview-Ashland FFA
Amanda Seger, Fort Loramie FFA
Ellyse Shafer, Clear Fork Valley FFA
Emily Starlin, Logan FFA
Morgan Stoner, Elgin FFA
Adam Wagner, Ridgemont FFA
Kayla Walls, Parkway FFA
Sam Wander, Clearfork Valley FFA

Community Leadership
Sarah Bookman, Hillsdale FFA