Cora Carter defends thesis, earns M.S.

Congratulations to Cora Carter on the successful defense of her thesis, “Exploring safety and health concerns with urban and peri-urban livestock production in the city of Managua, Nicaragua.”

Her advisor was Dr. Dee Jepsen and Dr. Mary Rodriguez served as a committee member. Congratulations Cora!

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Kelly Newlon on the successful defense of her dissertation, “Cultural Competency of Short Term Education Abroad Student Participants.”

Dr. Newlon completed her dissertation under the advisement of Dr. Emily Buck. Her committee members were Dr. Jeff King, Dr. Bob Birkenholz and Dr. Jennifer Schlueter. Congratulations Kelly!!

Congratulations to Dr. Siti Abdul Latir

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Siti Abdul Latir on the successful defense of her dissertation, “Teachers’ Perceptions and a Researcher’s Observations toward Implementing Inquiry-Based Instructional Approaches.”

Dr. Abdul Latir completed her dissertation under the advisement of Dr. Susie Whittington, who is pictured with Dr. Abdul Latir. Dr. Scott Scheer, Dr. Caryn Filson, Dr. Christopher Zirkle and Dr. Hamish Lugard Fraser served as committee members

Alumni Spotlight: Larry Seibel ’80, ’83 MS

 
Larry Seibel graduated with a dual bachelor’s degree in agricultural mechanization and systems and agricultural education in 1980 and completed a master’s degree in 1983 in agricultural education.

[ACEL]: Hi Larry! Why did you decide to major in agricultural education?
[Seibel]: I selected my major as agricultural and mechanization and systems because I grew up farming and had studied ag mechanics for two years at a career center. Once at The Ohio State University, I found I had enough room in my schedule for many electives. Rather than just take bunch of random courses, I decided to dual major in agricultural education – you could do that back then! I wanted to be a regional representative for an agricultural company but jobs in teaching were available and as they say, the rest is history!

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I choose Ohio State because my high school teachers had gone there and they said it was a great university. They were right!

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career?
Wanting to use my time fully and fate in the job market put me in agricultural education, which I have done for 38 years and thoroughly enjoy.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was in the Agricultural Education Society, where I eventually served as the President, and was chosen the “Outstanding Senior Student”. I worked for Dr. Joe Gleam in the Department of Agricultural Engineering in Ives Hall. I was a member of Alpha Gamma Sigma, an agricultural fraternity. I did my graduate work at Ohio State as well, majoring in agricultural education and was in the honor society Gamma Sigma Delta.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I enjoyed my mechanics classes because I had a passion in that field. I also loved the animal sciences classes I took as electives. My favorite was a small engines course because I really knew the material. I was bored at first, but my professor saw that I was acing the class and asked me to run the lab portion. That was cool, getting college credit and teaching the hands on part!

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?
Many! Dr. Gleam because I worked for him and took classes from him. A very positive personality! Dr. McCracken, served as my advisor later and always had a smile! Dr. L.H. Newcomb, in my leadership of Ag Ed Society, he was always pushing me to be better!

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
There were so many! Taking my pickup with a load of die hard OSU fans to the game up north! Playing intramural sports, showing cattle in the Little International, walking campus in the snow during the blizzard of 1978, looking up and down High Street and seeing no traffic! Digging down to find the benches at Mirror Lake to sit in the snow and just enjoy the time. School closed for 2 or 3 days, that never happened!

But my favorite memory is probably when Dr. Gleam sent me downtown on an errand run. I usually took the university truck but I went out and it was gone. He reached in his pocket and pitched me the keys to his corvette!!! How many poor 19-20 year olds don’t love the young ladies staring at them as they drive through campus in a Vette!! Honestly, it was because I couldn’t believe he trusted me enough to let me drive it!

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job was teaching diesel mechanics at Upper Valley Joint Vocational School.

Tell us about the positions you have held throughout your career.
I stayed at Upper Valley for eight years. I went to Montgomery County JVS and taught production agriculture for 14 years. I then became the Ag supervisor for all programs on campus and eight home school programs in a four county area. I was responsible for expanding and continuing the quality of agricultural education for those students in that four county area. I have been back to teaching diesel power technologies for the past eight years at the same school, new name, Miami Valley CTC.

During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
Outstanding Agricultural Education Senior, Honorary Chapter FFA degree from five FFA chapters, Honorary State FFA Degree, Outstanding Service Award from the Montgomery County SWCD, Honored Educator in the National Technical Society numerous times, Ohio Association of Agricultural Teachers Outstanding Teacher in District 5,  distinguished Board Member for years of service on the Tri-County North Local School District Board of Education. Enough!

My best honor is a fantastic wife and family, and my many successful students!

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight is being selected by my students to be honored! That’s why I do what I do, to help them down a path to success. The other highlights are great but they are the result of what I do for students and them recognizing me is the best highlight of a career.

What advice would you give to a current student?
I tell my students to open as many doors as they can during their education so they can choose which one to walk through, rather than having to settle for someone else telling them which one they “have” to go through!

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated personal responsibility and leadership in me. It also built my confidence which allowed me to advance my life! The coursework taught me the knowledge, but the real reason I was successful at The Ohio State University and throughout my career is because of the many professors at OSU that did more than teach material (as Dr. Newcomb used to say “cats cover material, teachers teach!”). Ohio State cared about me as a person and I have never forgotten that and practice it in my own career.

Dr. Charles W. Lifer: ’61, ’66 MS, ’69 PhD

Dr. Charles W. Lifer graduated from Ohio State in 1961 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and a master’s degree in agricultural education in 1966. Now retired, Dr. Lifer splits his time between Ohio and Florida.

[ACEL]: Hello Dr. Lifer. Why did you select your major or graduate program?
[Lifer]: Dr. Richard Wilson, professor in agricultural education and my undergraduate advisor, encouraged me to major in agricultural education because it provided the best employment opportunities in teaching and extension.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
My high school vocational agriculture teacher encouraged me to go to college and attend Ohio State.

 How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career?
My degree in agricultural education and extension education opened many doors beginning with employment as a county 4-H extension agent all the way to State 4-H Leader and professor in agriculture education.

As a student, how were you involved?
I was involved in Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity, Townsend Agricultural Education Society, and part time employment Ohio State University Cancer Research Lab.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
Dr. Warmbrod’s agricultural education research methods, Dr. Miller’s agricultural engineering drawing, and Dr. Powell’s Business Administration. Dr. Warmbrod’s agricultural education research methods, because he made a difficult subject interesting and understandable.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on our education/career?
Dr. Clarence Cunningham and Dr. Robert McCormick, who encouraged me to pursue a career in Extension and get a PhD.  This advice opened up career opportunities at the state level requiring a doctorate.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
As State 4-H leader and professor in agricultural education, I proposed the establishment of a State 4-H Center on the OSU Campus and followed through in getting it done.  This required University approval, site location, fund raising and personal gifting.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
County 4-H Agent in Monroe County, Ohio and the first 4-H Agent to be hired as County 4-H Agent and Chair.  Previously all county chairs were agricultural agents.

For what companies have you worked throughout your career?
All of my employment following graduation was with Ohio State in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and Ohio State Extension. This included County 4-H Agent, Monroe County; Area 4-H Agent, McConnelsville; Area Community Development Agent, Dover; State Leader Extension Studies and Evaluation, Columbus; Professor and State 4-H Leader, Columbus; and Director of Legislative Affairs, Columbus.  Most of these positions included administrative responsibilities.

Can you share any awards or honors you have received?
Many including Honorary State FFA Degree, Ohio 4-H Hall of Fame, National 4-H Hall of Fame, Regional Epsilon Sigma Phi Distinguished Service Award, Ohio Agricultural Hall of Fame, and Ohio State Distinguished Service Award.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
Getting the $16 million dollar 4-H Center on the Ohio State Campus and as Area Community Development Agent in Dover, building the Outdoor Historical Drama amphitheater (Trumpet in the Land) and hiring recognized Author, Paul Green.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Choose an area of interest where there are great employment opportunities after graduation.  There is nothing worse than graduating with a college degree and no jobs available.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
Through the agricultural education student teaching and extension field experience it helped to have real world job experience.  The teachers and extension trainer agents were great mentors in preparing for my career after graduation.

Lifer as a high school senior.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Kat Zelak

Kat Zelak is currently in her second year of the ACEL Master’s program where she serves as a Graduate Teaching Associate and President of the Graduate Student Association.

Kat’s Master’s Thesis involves looking at the various influences that zoo educators have when selecting programming.

Kat Zelak was born in Burlington, Vermont where she lived until her family moved 300 miles east to Rochester, New York when Kat was four.  Here Kat lived with her parents and her younger brother on a three-acre lot of mostly wooded swamp on the edge of a wetland.  Kat took full advantage of growing up so close to a wetland and spent a great deal of her childhood chasing deer trails and wading in the wetland to find snapping turtles with her brother. Kat was given the freedom to explore as a child, which helped instill a sense of independence.  Kat credits her parents with helping to nurture her inquisitive nature. Her mother was especially supportive of her quest for knowledge and love of animals.  If Kat found a baby bird, her mother would encourage her to identify which type of bird it was and how she could care for it. These early experiences helped Kat to realize that she wanted to help animals in her future.

Kat attended high school in Rochester, New York where she was involved with robotics as well as the marketing and communication team.  As a high school junior, she earned her Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouts. For her Gold Award project, Kat started a summer camp, which focused on robotics and alternative energy. This summer program was so successful that the program ended up expanding and is still going strong today. In addition to these achievements, Kat was also involved with ice hockey as both a player and a referee.  As a referee, she was able to referee for the girl’s national game, which was played in Rochester.  Kat also found time to run varsity and worked as a state official. Kat’s high school experiences reflect a wide range of interests and a willingness to tackle large projects and take on leadership roles.

Kat’s love of animals and nature is was evident from an early age- shown here as a tree princess at age three.

After high school, Kat enrolled in Cornell University as an Animal Science major. Kat’s early experiences and her love of animals led her to believe that she wanted to become a veterinarian.  This is the path that she pursued for the first few years at Cornell until she realized that she was increasingly filling her calendar with activities that would “look good for vet school” not because they were these were experiences she would enjoy.  She realized that while she was passionate about animals, she was not passionate about the prospect of becoming a veterinarian. Kat stayed in Animal Sciences but began to explore other courses and look for other career paths.  She found that she enjoyed her major more once it was no longer a competition. Her wide interests led her to take on additional majors in Natural Resources and Biology.

Kat was able to participate in several research opportunities at Cornell including a summer at the Shoals Marine Laboratory in Maine studying defensive responses in moon snails and some time at a coagulation lab at the vet school working on different blood disorders. One of her favorite research projects was for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology where she spent a summer in the remote Northern Territory of Australia studying the impact of fire ecology. Locals were battling an invasive and combustible species of grass.  In an effort to determine if controlled burns or natural burns were the best option, Kat and her group looked at the impact that controlled burns had on the local bird populations as well as the ecological impacts of frequent wildlife disruption. This research kept Kat in the remote Australian outback for four months where the she cooked on a camp stove and the remote location limited her e-mail contact to one time a week. While Kat enjoyed her research experiences, she found she was more interested in talking and sharing about the research.  This helpful insight led Kat to explore ways to combine her love of animals with non-formal and outreach education.

Kat was involved with ice hockey as both a player and a referee.

After graduation from Cornell, Kat took a position working at a songbird rehabilitation center in Burlington, Wisconsin.  In this position, Kat worked to rehabilitate as many as 130 birds at a time, a marked increase from the number of birds she would rehabilitate in the wetland as a child. While Kat enjoyed this work, it did not contain the outreach and education portion she was looking for. This led her to accept a position back in New York at the Seneca Park Zoo, a place she had volunteered and interned while she was in high school.  She was hired as a Part-time Educator, but quickly moved up to Assistant Outreach Coordinator and then Outreach Coordinator.  In this role, she was the educator for any outreach program, school, festival, troop, or class that was scheduled with the zoo.  She enjoyed this work and liked the balance between program management and education itself.  After a year in the Seneca Park Zoo, Kat moved cross-country and began working as an Education Specialist for the Los Angeles Zoo.  The L.A. Zoo was a much larger zoo than the Seneca Park Zoo and Kat was able to see how regional differences, zoo size, and politics can change the programs and educational outreach offered at a zoo.

After graduation, Kat plans to spend a month touring the national parks, shown here with boyfriend Alejandro. 

After working in Los Angeles for a year, Kat decided she would like to go to graduate school and was interested in both Cornell and Ohio State. She liked the large size and flexibility at both schools as well as the high level of community involvement and research.  Much to Ohio State’s benefit, Kat selected Ohio State where she is in the second year of our Master’s program.  For her Master’s Thesis, Kat is taking some of her experiences working at different zoos and looking at the various influences that zoo educators have when selecting programing and presenting information to guests. She is looking at the five large zoos in Ohio: Akron, Toledo, Columbus, Cleveland, and Cincinnati.  She has already finished a survey of zoo educators and will follow up with focus groups.  Her hope is that the information gathered from this research project can be used to improve training practices.  Kat is busy finishing this work this semester and hopes to defend her project in April.

After graduation in May, Kat plans to take the opportunity to travel cross-country exploring our county’s national parks.  Kat will end her month of national park hopping in Los Angeles where she is working at a summer camp until August.  After that, she will start job-hunting for a position in non-formal environmental education.  Ideally, Kat would like to be at a zoo, but could also be at a nature center or similar environment where she could combine program management, curriculum development, and community outreach.  Until then, Kat can be found most days in the graduate student office in 109 Ag Admin working on her thesis.  Kat is also the 2017-2018 President of the ACEL Graduate Student Association, where she has made great strides in building community among all ACEL graduate students. If you have a strong effort to build community among all graduate students, she is interested in working to improve GSA events, any ideas or suggestions can be sent to zelak (.1).

Alumni Spotlight: Callie Wells, ’10, ’12 MS

[ACEL]: Hi Callie! Why did you select your major?
[Wells]:I had a hard time narrowing down a specific area to focus on for a few years into my undergraduate education. I couldn’t make my mind up because I wanted to learn it all! I had five, maybe more, combinations of majors and minors. After taking courses in nearly every discipline CFAES teaches, I became fascinated with learning about how people interact, learn, and communicate with each other. The ACEL disciplines were the perfect fit to marry my interests and talents in social sciences with my passion for the agriculture industry. I added agricultural education as a second major, in addition to animal science, in my undergraduate program and focused on agricultural communication in my graduate program.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Until halfway through my junior year of high school, I was sure I was going to Miami University, where my mom worked which provided me a full tuition waiver. Who’s going to pass up a full tuition waiver? Me, it turns out. I joined FFA my junior year and was involved in a lot of programs and CDE’s that provided me the opportunity to visit Ohio State. I was amazed at the vast opportunities at a university as large as Ohio State, but also at the tight knit community in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Once I knew Ohio State was the place for me I worked hard to earn a few scholarships to soften the blow to my parents when I decided not to use the tuition waiver. A free education might be nice, but I knew in my gut Ohio State was the best place for me, and it is the best decision I have ever made!

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My education at Ohio State influenced my career path simply by giving me the best foundation of skills, experiences, and networks to build upon, and a passion to continue building it.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was involved in so many student orgs! Ag Ed Society, Norton/Scott Hall Council, CFAES Student Council, Undergraduate Student Government, University Senate, CFAES Ambassadors, CFAES Banquet co-chair, SPHINX Senior Honorary, and many more. The experiences I had with these organizations is just as valuable as the time I spent in the classroom.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? Did you have a favorite?
I think my graduate school communication theory class was my favorite class during my time at Ohio State. Analyzing how various messaging impacts how individuals and groups think, act, and react… It’s hard to explain why, but it’s just an area I find endlessly fascinating.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career? How?
There are so many who had a bit impact on me, and it is hard to choose, so I think I have to go with the person who had the first influential impact, and that would be Kelly Newlon. Seeing her passion for her work made me want to take the time to really figure out what my passion was and I might not have taken the time to figure it had I not seen it in her. She also led a study abroad program to the Czech Republic the summer after my freshman year that changed my life. I had never traveled in the States, let alone abroad, and Kelly was the perfect person to teach us about new cultures and help us process what we were learning.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
One of my favorite memories is the day I was linked into SPHINX Senior Class Honorary. Each new class of Links is led by the current class on the long walk on the Oval while the Orton Hall Chimes play Carmen Ohio. It was a very special moment to reflect on how much I had experienced at Ohio State and how much was still to come.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job was as communications specialist at Ohio Farm Bureau.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
I worked at Ohio Farm Bureau for five years, as communications specialist first and then as director of digital communications. I then moved on to be the marketing and production lead at Herdmark Media for a short time, and now am the communications specialist for the Ohio Association of School Business Officials. I’m also building a small side gig do freelance writing, digital communications/marketing consulting, and video production mostly for farms, smalls ag businesses, and associations.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I’m very proud to have started a few digital content strategies at Ohio Farm Bureau that give farmers a platform to tell their stories. Take Over Tuesday and Growing Our Generation were very simple ideas that have continued to grow long past my time running them, which I am very proud of.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Learn patience. Don’t rush things and take some time to get to know your talents and interests, while you are afforded the time to do so!

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated in me a passion for continual learning and community building.

 

 

Alumni Spotlight: Kelly Newlon, ’98

 

 

Kelly Newlon came to Ohio State from Perry County, Ohio. She now works for the University as the Director of Education Abroad for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, a position she has held for 10 years. With her job, she has been able to travel to all seven continents!

[ACEL]: Hi Kelly! You completed your undergraduate degree in agricultural education. Why did you select that?
[Newlon]: I knew I wanted to pursue higher education administration by the end of my sophomore year. I had a love for CFAES and agricultural education and knew it would provide an excellent foundation for my career.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I am a third generation Buckeye and grew up coming to football and basketball games, imitating the drum major and knowing the cheers. There really was no other university in my mind.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
My production agriculture minor courses are what impress people in my general life the most today. People think it is cool that I know how to weld and select animals for breeding based on their EPDs. I also did some cool things with classes, most fun was earning my private pilot’s license.

What professor, faculty, or staff member had an impact on your education/career? How?
It is hard to think back now and think of what I thought as a student, but through my professional career Dr. Ray Miller made a huge impact. His quiet humility and extreme work ethic were exemplars for all around him.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
I studied abroad between my freshman and sophomore year and on the program met a student who was serving as a University Ambassador. She encouraged me to apply to be an ambassador and I got the job! As I have developed professionally I gained skills and it has taken me back to the classroom at the college level and I am ever grateful for having classroom management and student teaching course content.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
My primary involvement was as a University Ambassador and Alpha Sigma Upsilon sorority. I was also involved in CFAES Student Council, the Recognition Banquet Committee, Collegiate 4-H, Sphinx and Bucket and Dipper.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Nothing beats the goose bumps I feel when the drum major comes running down the ramp during a home game against TTUN. The anticipation of the game to come and the comradely shared with those around you is unequaled.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I was the assistant director of admissions at Indian University in Bloomington, IN.

What other schools have you worked for during your career?
Indiana University, Capital University, The Ohio State University.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those?
I have received the University Outstanding Student Organization Advisor award twice, Dr. L.H. Newcomb Excellence in Leadership and Service Award in 2015, Sphinx/Mortar Board Senior Honorary Faculty and Staff Award four times.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I love my work and take pride in the small moments of seeing students grow on programs. It is pretty cool that my career has taken me to seven continents though!

What professional organizations have you been involved with during your career?
North American College Teachers of Agriculture, National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association, National Association of Foreign Student Advisors, Forum on International Education, Diversity Abroad, National Association of College Admissions Councilors.

How are you involved in your community outside of your profession?
I have continues to advise Alpha Sigma Upsilon and helped found an alumnae association. I have also been active in the United Methodist Church including choir membership.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Be strategic and plan for your future, but always keep an eye out for how you could improve upon that vision. Don’t rule anything out!

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
ACEL is all about servant leadership and I take great pride in being in a career that allows me to build a workforce that will give back and grow Ohio communities.

Newlon visited her seventh continent this summer when she visited Tanzania.

 

Newlon spent time in Antarctica a few years ago, learning about and experiencing a new education abroad program.

 

Alumni Spotlight: John H. Davis, ’63, ’67 MS

John H. Davis is a two time graduate of the Department, completing his bachelor’s degree in 1963 and master’s degree in 1967, both in agricultural education. Davis retired from a career with the State of Ohio’s Department of Education where he served in several roles, as well as directing Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum for many years.

[ACEL]: Hi John! you majored in agricultural education at Ohio State. Why did you chose to come to Ohio State and major in that?
[Davis]: I was encouraged by my vocational agriculture teacher, Mr. Welch Barnett, and I knew the campus as a result of FFA activities and state contests.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My grandfather thought I should be an engineer but after the first quarter I new I wanted to be in agricultural education because of what vocational agriculture and FFA meant to me in high school. The personal relationships developed with college and department staff was an inspiration that has lasted over 50 years.

Did you have courses that were your favorite to attend?
My agricultural education and animal sciences courses were my favorite.

What professors made an impact on your education?
Willard Wolf, Ralph Bender, Gil Guiler, Leon Boucher, ‘Doc’ Kantner……they all made an impact on my preparation.

Outside of the classroom, what activities were you involved in?
I was in 4-H, a football manager for two years, the co-head football manager for two years. I also worked for Poultry Science and drove a campus bus at night and for Saturday field trips for $1.40/hour.

It sounds like you were a very busy student. What are some of your best memories?
Living in the Stadium Scholarship Dorm for two year and being football manager for four years for the Buckeyes under Coach Woody Hayes. Oh the “stories” I could tell.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I taught vocational agriculture at Edgewood High School in Ashtabula County.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
I taught vocational agriculture at Edgewood HS, Ashtabula County and the Jefferson Co JVS. I then worked for the Ohio State Department of Education  for agricultural education services, as a supervisor and then as a director. I retired from there in 1992. Then, I worked at Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum for three years and retired again in 1995.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those?
OSU Centennial Award and others to numerous to mention. I have a list in my bio

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
Growing the Vo-Ag program in NE Ohio from 39 to 110 teachers, directing the FFA Camp program for 28 yrs which touched the lives of 32,000 FFA members and then have our son (Todd Davis) selected to continue the leadership at FFA Camp.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Always be prepared “to bring out the best” in every student that enrolls in your program. Get to know moms and dads.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
The desire to “make a difference”.

 

Davis, pictured with Coach Hayes during a football game.

Alumni Spotlight: Matt Reese, ’99, ’04 MS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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