McMullen selected to serve on Agriculture Future of America Student Advisory Team


Nicole McMullen, a junior agriscience education major at The Ohio State University, has been selected to be a member of the Agriculture Future of American (AFA) Student Advisory Team. The Student Advisory Team is made up of 11 students from across the nation after a competitive application process.

AFA is a professional development organization for collegiate leaders and young professionals. Providing leader development, intern support and scholarships, AFA seeks to be a catalyst in the preparation of a new generation of agriculture leaders. A major component of the Student Advisory Team’s responsibilities is the planning and delivery of the 2021 AFA Leader Development Program, specifically the AFA Leaders Conference, held annually with more than 1,000 delegates from across the nation.

“Our department is extremely proud of Nicole for seeking out the opportunity to enhance her leadership skills with an organization like AFA,” said Dr. Shannon Washburn, professor and chair of the Department Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership. “Through her involvement with AFA, MANRRS and her internship experiences, she is preparing herself to be an outstanding agricultural educator to her future students.”

“I value the AFA leader development program because they provide a variety of opportunities to grow personally and professionally. These programs focus on having students look at things from a different perspective,” said McMullen. “I am excited to serve as an AFA student leader because I can network with individuals across the country. This will give me the opportunity to learn about the different aspects of the agriculture industry and gain a new perspective.”

McMullen’s entrance into the AFA leader development programs began in 2018 when she was selected to attend the AFA Leaders Conference as a freshman at the Ohio State ATI campus in Wooster, Ohio. Since then, she has attended the AFA Leaders Conference each year and participated in the AFA Leader Fellowship. In addition to her involvement with AFA, she has also been active in other organizations including Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS), Admissions Ambassador for Ohio State ATI Institute and the Ohio Corn & Wheat Association.

About agriscience education
Agriscience education is one of three undergraduate majors within ACEL. This major prepares students to acquire a license to teach agricultural science in secondary schools through extensive training in agriculture science, educational psychology, instructional methods and youth development. For additional information on the agriscience education major or how you can make a financial contribution to student scholarships, visit

About AFA
AFA builds bridges for young leaders to foster engagement and innovation in food and agriculture. With program participation increasing 28% in the last five years, AFA has provided 21,000 leader development experiences to college leaders and young professionals from more than 200 colleges and universities throughout 43 states since its inception in 1996. AFA has awarded more than $10 million in academic and leader development scholarships. For more information about AFA, visit or contact Becca Frazier at

Evans hired as 4-H educator in Huron County

Evans, 2020

Join us in congratulating alum Haley Evans ‘20, who was recently hired as a 4-H Youth Development educator for The Ohio State University Extension Huron County.
Evans completed a bachelor of science in agriscience education in May 2020. During her time as an undergraduate Buckeye, she completed internships with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources , Franklin County Metro Parks and 12 weeks of student teaching at Firelands High School.
Congratulations Haley!

Sanders ’20 joins Arkansas Department of Agriculture staff

Sanders, 2021

Join us in congratulating recent alum Abby Sanders ’20, who is now a public information coordinator with the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.

Sanders completed a master of science in agricultural communication, education and leadership in December 2020.

Congratulations Abby!

Alumni and graduate students earn NAE4-HYDP Awards

Congratulations to the following ACEL alumni and current graduate students who received awards from the National Association of Extension 4-H Youth Development Professionals (NAE4-HYDP) at their annual conference held earlier this fall.

Achievement in Service Award
Allison Cooper ‘11, ‘14 MS

Distinguished Service Award
Jamie McConnell ‘12 MS
Amanda Raines ‘17 MS
Katherine Wells, PhD student

Meritorious Service Award
Larry Hall ‘00 MS

25 Years of Service
Rebecca Barker ‘92, ‘01 MS

North Central Regional Excellence in Healthy Living
Programming Award
Amanda Raines ‘17 MS, Justin Bower ‘17, Heather Gottke ‘09, ‘13 MS

North Central Regional Team Promotional Package
Amanda Raines ‘17 MS, Jamie McConnell ‘12 MS, Jessica Rockey ‘02 MS, Beth Boomershine ‘00, ‘01 MS, Margo Long ‘11, PhD student, Cassie Anderson ‘02 MS, and Hannah Epley ‘14 PhD

2020 Autumn Semester Graduates

This past Sunday, Ohio State held it’s 426th Commencement Ceremony (and third virtual ceremony).
Our department had eight undergraduate students and six graduate students complete their undergraduate or graduate degrees at the end of Autumn Semester 2020.
Undergraduate students include:

Trent Baldwin
community leadership
Salinas, California

Lisa Brenner
community leadership
Sunbury, Ohio

Grace Daniels
community leadership
Massillon, Ohio

Josie Montoney
agricultural communication
Lancaster, Ohio

Madelynn Skillings
agricultural communication
South Charleston, Ohio

Jon Stepp
agricultural communication
Canal Winchester, Ohio

Kamala Sweeney
agricultural communication
Canal Winchester, Ohio

Rhiann Travis
agricultural communication
Poolville, Texas

Graduate students include:

Paige Andrews
Bloomville, Ohio

Alisha Barton
Tipp City, Ohio

Kenzie Johnston
Delaware, Ohio

Hank LeVan
Woodstock, Ohio

Abigail Sanders
Clarksville, Arkansas

Haley Shoemaker
Salem, Ohio

Congratulations to these students and thank you for allowing ACEL to be your academic home during your time at Ohio State! You will forever be an ACEL Buckeye!

Rumble named Outstanding Advisor at Ohio State ATI campus

Congratulations to Dr. Joy Rumble, assistant professor of agricultural communication, for being named the recipient of the Ohio State ATI Outstanding Advisor award.

Rumble advises ACEL students who attend our CFAES Wooster campus and teaches several of our agricultural communication undergraduate and graduate courses at both the Wooster and Columbus campuses.

Rumble joined the ACEL faculty in 2018. She is a three time graduate of Ohio State, which includes a master’s degree in agricultural communication from our department.

McMullen places first in regional interview contest

McMullen, 2020

Nicole McMullen, a junior studying agriscience education, earned the top award in the interview contest during the virtual Region V Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Cluster. She will represent Ohio State and Region V at the National MANRRS Conference this spring.

MANRRS is a national society of people of all racial and ethnical groups in agricultural and related science careers with a focus on promoting these fields in a positive manner among ethnic minorities.

The interview contest is an opportunity to practice real-life skills needed to apply for a job. Participants prepare a resume and cover letter for a job they chose from the Interview Contest Job Descriptions. Contestants are also evaluated on their performance during a mock interview.

The goal of this contest is for participants to consistently meet and practice the skills that bring the benefits of comfort in interview scenarios; confidence, critical thinking, effective verbal and written communication, impromptu speaking, self-esteem and non-verbal practice and awareness.

“We are proud of Nicole for the growth and effort she put forward to lead to success in this contest,” said Dr. Shannon Washburn, professor of agriscience education and chair for the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership. “Participation in organizations like MANRRS and the opportunities they provide to students are valuable in the development of their careers. Nicole will benefit greatly from this experience as she enters the agricultural education profession.”

In 2019, McMullen was awarded first place in the impromptu speech contest for Region V. She completed a virtual internship this past summer with John Deere, which she obtained during a career fair at the 2019 Region V MANRRS Cluster at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

Agriscience education is one of three undergraduate majors within ACEL. This major prepares students to acquire a license to teach agricultural science in secondary schools through extensive training in agriculture science, educational psychology, instructional methods and youth development. For additional information on the agriscience education major or how you can make a financial contribution to student scholarships, visit

News Release: Landaverde receives international fellowship

Rafael Quijada Landaverde, graduate associate and doctoral student in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) at The Ohio State University was named one of seven recipients of the Kirchner Food Fellowship.

The Kirchner Food Fellowship is a pioneer in the lean investment movement, harnessing the power of highly-committed millennial talent to find, fund and assist promising socially-responsible, for-profit agricultural businesses. Through the use of a “real-world, real-time, real-money” model the program has proven that it is possible for newly formed investment teams to become effective venture capital allocators in a matter of months. The combination of compressed learning time frames and low operating costs makes it possible to more cost efficiently deploy smart and impactful capital in parts of the world where angel capital is needed most.

As the model spreads beyond North America, the Fellowship partners with local groups to establish resident teams in less developed economies. The program strengthens in-region capital allocation capacity, the apex element of any healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem that is well-networked into the global financial markets.

“We are excited for Rafael to be selected as recipient of this highly regarded fellowship,” said Dr. Shannon Washburn, professor and chair of ACEL. “His knowledge, talents, and experience will be an asset to his cohort and participating partners.”

The importance of the program has been greatly highlighted by COVID-19 and the worldwide focus on food security, from organizations, countries and regions. The program combines access to decades of institutional impact investment experience and the innovative problem-based learning approach honed over the last seven years. Landaverde will be part of the 2020-2021 cohort based in Mexico. The other is based out of the United States.

“Our selection process gets more and more difficult each year as the program’s profile grows, expanding our remarkable applicant pool,” commented Blair Kirchner, Director. “The fellowship will commence in early September, concurrent with the next Kirchner Investment Academy, a unique program designed to demystify investment for entrepreneurs and young professionals.”

Landaverde is a graduate of Texas Tech University, where he earned a master of science in agricultural education, and a graduate of Zamorano University in Honduras with a bachelor of science in environment and development.

Students in the ACEL graduate program at Ohio State may specialize in agricultural communication, agricultural education, community and extension education, international development or leadership. The agricultural communication, education, and leadership graduate program offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science, Master of Education and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. The Doctor of Philosophy degree prepares students for careers as administrators, specialists, university faculty and researchers.

ACEL Social Media Ambassadors

Do you love Ohio State and ACEL? Are you social media savvy? Do you love telling stories? Do you speak emoji? Can you narrate a TikTok?

The Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership is looking to establish a team of “social media ambassadors” who can share the unique viewpoint of being a student at The Ohio State University.

Undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in an ACEL major or minor who are interested in social media, photography, video production, blogging and creativity are invited to apply. We encourage all students to apply to show the diverse perspective of our students.


  • Must be a student enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program within ACEL*
  • Able to effectively communicate our Buckeye pride through various media platforms
  • Maintain professional work habits (dependable, team player, responsible)
  • Interested in performing social media ambassador duties for fall and spring semester

*Students with an ACEL minor may apply.


  • Brainstorm and create content for ACEL social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, blogs and other outlets
  • Work closely with ACEL communication professionals to follow university, college and department branding
  • Spread ACEL’s message through shares, likes and comments
  • Time commitment is approximately 1-2 hours per month


  • Communication and social media experience that can be shared with potential employers
  • Increase awareness of ACEL majors, courses, student organizations and opportunities
  • Share a real-time student perspective of life as an ACEL student
  • Exposure to social media brand strategy and new platforms through practice and training

Application Process

Sanders defends master’s project

Join us in congratulating Abby Sanders on the recent successful defense of her master’s project “Branding in Higher Education: Arkansas Tech University Department of Agriculture.”
Dr. Annie Specht served as Abby’s advisor and Dr. Emily Buck was her committee member.
Congratulations Abby!