Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Jane Duffy ’02

Sarah Jane Duffy graduated in 2002 with a bachelor of science in agriculture. Her major, agricultural communication, prepared her for her career with the Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) where she serves as a public information officer. 

[ACEL]: Hi Sarah! Tell us why did you select your major?

[Duffy]: It was important to me to have a bachelor of science. A degree in agricultural communication allowed me to pursue a communications and photojournalism focused curriculum while maintaining a science background.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?

When I was in 4th grade we took a field trip to the Ohio State farms on Sawmill Road – I was hooked. I immediately started telling anyone and everyone that I was going to study animal husbandry and breed horses when I grow up. In the end I chose Ohio State because it was the best fit for me educationally, athletically (I was on the cross country team my freshman year) and financially.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?

I always say I ended up at the other ODA. I had a strong interest in health and human sciences after abandoning my childhood dream of being a horse breeder. Between my major and my work with the Lantern, The Makio and Columbus Public Health (my internship) I was well prepared to enter the field of public information.

Share with us the student organizations and campus life activities in which you were involved.

It might be easier to list what the ones which I wasn’t involved. Sigma Alpha, FEAS Student Council, Saddle and Sirloin, Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Beanie Drake Student Leader Endowment Fund, OSU cross country team, intramural hockey, Columbus Symphony Summer Series Board of Directors, photo editor of the Lantern, re-founding photo editor of the The Makio – Ohio State’s Yearbook, I worked at The Faculty Club, to name a few.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?

I enjoyed my laboratory class working on the Lantern the most. Rose Hume made a lasting impact on me. I also loved my fine art photography classes and spending time in the darkroom – back when we used to develop our own photos. Digital photography was just getting a foothold during my college years.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?

Rose Hume, the Lantern staff advisor, and Dr. Sherrie Whaley, my advisor and professor, both made lasting impacts on my career development and guiding me along my education path. Dr. Zartman and Dean Moser also made a lasting impact on me and always made this city girl feel welcomed and appreciated.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State
How do you choose just one? Having my photos of Katy Smith’s number being retired picked up the AP. Showing my first heifer in the Little I. Jumping in Mirror Lake. The fear and excitement of cover the riots on campus that resulted in winning an award for our coverage and my images. My fondest memories are all the people with whom I connected and stay connect with to this day. How firm thy friendship isn’t just a line in my favorite song, it’s a very real way of life for us Buckeyes.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?

I have been with the Ohio Department of Aging since December 2002. When you are fortunate enough to make an impact on the lives of your fellow Ohioans and their communities, you just keep on doing what you love.

How have you stayed involved in your community outside of your career?
I am the president of the Young Buckeyes of Central Ohio. The social media chair for the Franklin County Alumni Club. I am still active with Sigma Alpha sorority and was named the Outstanding Sigma Alpha Alumna in 2015.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those? Employee of the Quarter. We don’t participate in award competitions as it would not be a good use of taxpayer money. So, nothing of note to mention.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
Meeting with and learning from the amazing older Ohioans I’ve had to pleasure to interact with throughout my career. I enjoy making a difference in lives of our elders as I work to empower them and strengthen our communities, by promoting active aging and positive attitudes toward aging.

What advice would you give to a current student?

Be engaged both in, and out of the the classroom. Many of the experiences and relationships I forged outside the classroom had the greatest impact on me and who I’ve become.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?

ACEL cultivated my ability to express myself not only visually, but in written and spoken word.

Alumni Spotlight: Xiang Gu ’16

Xiang Gu came to The Ohio State University as a community leadership major for autumn semester 2012 from Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. He was the first freshman to declare this new major (formerly known as specializations of the agricultural and extension education major). After four years in Columbus, “Shaun” graduated with a bachelor of science. Shaun now works for The Ohio State University in Shanghai, China as an alumni relations and event planning specialist with the China Gateway Office.

Why did you select the community leadership major?
When I received the [admittance] offer from Ohio State, I also got a list of “recommended majors”. I wanted to pick a major with less Chinese student and this major caught my eye. After the discussion with my parents I made this bold, but right decision.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Good question for international students – most of us haven’t been to the United States of America before we started our campus life, including me. So we choose the school based on the information online and from our friends. My reasons were: 1. good academic reputation, 2. affordable tuition fee and 3. located in urban area.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
Well I think my job now is kind of self-explained. Ohio State not only offered me great academic resource, but also a global vision. So I would like to share this great experience with more Chinese students and alumni.

How were you involved in the campus outside of our academics?
I have some friends from Taiwan so I joined TWSA in my freshman year.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? 
It’s a difficult question. I will say photography. Although I didn’t do well in that class, I did learn some skills from this class – and it’s very useful in the real life.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?
I will say Dr. Robert Birkenholz and Dr. Jeff King. They not only helped me with my studies at Ohio State, but also offered a lot of help in my campus life. They shared their own experience, knowledge and time with me selflessly. I sincerely appreciate their help during the time I spent at Ohio State.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
The time we won the [football] National Championship in 2015. Celebrating with other friends on The Oval.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I worked in a small local company in Columbus as an E-commercial operation specialist.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
After the job in Columbus, I went to Africa (Angola, Kenya and South Africa) and worked for McKinsey as a project assistant. Then I went back to China to serve the buckeye community.

How are you involved in your community outside of your career?
I worked close with buckeye community in the Greater China area and involved in nearly every alumni events.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I will say the time I spent in Africa with Mckinsey.

  • Participated in China Africa Investment Opportunity Outlook Project as surveyor in Angola and South Africa
  • Interviewed 90+ Chinese entrepreneur of SOE and private sector, collected data, completed survey and wrote field report
  • Analyzed data and composed 500 pages PPT of all project-related African countries

What advice would you give to a current student?
Take a broader view. This world is big and try to explore it before the death.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
Global vision and critical thinking through the ACEL education program and staff.

 

OHIO with friends.

 

During my work in Africa with McKinsey.

Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Cheryl Ruey-Fen Bain ’00 PhD

Dr. Cheryl Ruey-Fen Bain graduated with a doctorate in agricultural education in 2000. Originally from Taiwan, Bain spent five years at Ohio State and then returned to her native country. She currently works as an associate professor in the Department of Leisure and Recreation Management and General Education at De-Yeah University.

[ACEL]: Hello Dr. Bain! Why did you select your graduate program and to attend Ohio State?
[Bain]: I graduated from National Taiwan University in 1990. I was working as a teaching assistant and met the ACEL graduate chair, Dr. Larry Miller, when he visited National Taiwan University during spring semester in 1994.  Dr. Miller recruited me to apply OSU.

I was also very lucky to have Rotary International 3-year Ambassador scholarship supported by D3460 (Taichung Taiwan) and hosted by D6690 (Columbus, Ohio).  

I knew many former Ohio State alumni, such as Dr. Liao Cheng-hong, Dr. Shaio, Kuen-shan, and Dr. Shin-Shin Chen, who recommend me the outstanding program of agricultural education. In addition, Ohio State was land-grand university with strong top 4-H program which attracted me when I worked for National 4-H Club Association of R.O.C.  The most important thing was Dr. John Mount, one of rotarians who was vice president at Ohio State, volunteer to be my consultant for 3-year ambassador scholarship.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
I took courses and participatde in 4-H Extension program to explore and empower my knowledge and capability under Dr. Larry Miller, Dr. Wesley Budke, Dr. Cathy Cox, and my mentor and Rotary International scholarship consultant, Dr. John Mount. Now, I am a Rotarian in D3462 since 2003, and advisor of 4-H Club at Da-Yeh University. 

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I worked as a research assistant for Dr. Larry Brown on his water management project, then I also worked at CCME for more then two years before I attained my Ph.D.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
The 995 statistics instructed by Dr. R. Warmboard who guided with practical exercises. I took 995 course syllabus to start my first very graduate course in Da-Yeh University as a popular course in 2000.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education and career?
There were so many great teachers, and staff who assisted my learning at OSU, if only one that I have to choose, I have to pick up Dr. John Mount who became my life mentor and role model.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
The summer 4-H leadership camp as counselor as well as 4-H dormitory supervisor under the instruction of Dr. John Mount and Dr. Cathy Cox at Camp Ohio and the Ohio State Fair. I was the first Asian student to work at camp and state fair to learn by doing with great pleasure.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
After I attained my Ph.D., I return to my home country, Taiwan, to be an assistant professor at the very first department of Leisure and Recreation management at Da-Yeh University in Taiwan. I brought my camping experience to teach and worked for international exchange program in many programs such as 4-H Exchange, Rotary Youth Exchange, and Group Study Exchange with more than 10 countries.

Share the positions you have held throughout your career.
I have been worked for National Taiwan University and Da-Yeh University in my academic career taking more than dozen of research projects on education, tourism, and recreation.

I also volunteer for many international exchange program, such as Rotary International in Youth Exchange, and Group Study Exchange.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors?
I have received as outstanding teaching faculty at Da-Yeh University for more than 5 times since 2009.

As a delegate of Group Study Exchange Program to D1570 in the Netherland in 2003 and became the first female leader of Rotary International Group Study Exchange program with D7190 in 2009.

How are you involved in your community outside of your career?
I helps college students to apply to oversea study programs and there are more than 60 students that have visited South Korea and the United States.

I volunteer for many international exchange program, such as Rotary International in Youth Exchange and Group Study Exchange.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
The international exchange program that I achieved as the first female Rotary International Group Study Exchange leader in Taiwan.

There are more than 60 colleges under my instruction to take camp internships in the United States.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Just do it, God will reward us with His best!

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL empowered and enriched my informal education experience such as 4-H leadership camp, state fair working experience.  I have been very lucky to enroll OSU to change my life, I cherish and pride to be part of members of ACEL family.

 

 

Alumni Spotlight: Kendall Glasser ’17

 

Kendall Glasser graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 2017. She majored in community leadership with a minor in nonprofit studies. Glasser now works as a referral intake coordinator for Make-A-Wish: Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana.

[ACEL]: Hi Kendall! Share with us why you selected to major in community leadership.
[Glasser]: I selected community leadership based on what I felt was important in my past experiences and what I wanted to focus on in my future. Looking at the strong communities and the leaders that has shaped and influenced me. Like many students, my first year at Ohio State I felt lost in what I wanted to study, but finding community leadership seemed like a perfect fit. I like to tell people it felt more like studying myself and the important tools and skills in order to put good into the world.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I grew up in a suburb about 10 minutes away from campus, so Ohio State has always been pretty prominent in my life. However, when it was time decide on college, it was the endless opportunities that drew me to OSU. I knew I would grow personally, professionally and academically, all while being apart of a strong and supportive community.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
Looking back on my education at Ohio State, I would say the aspect of giving back and the idea of being apart of something bigger than yourself influenced my current career choices. Working for a large nonprofit organization, such as Make-A-Wish, has always been a major goal of mine and I would credit my time at Ohio State and ACEL for giving me the confidence and skills for reaching that goal right out of college.

Did you have any classes that you took that stand out more than others?
It’s hard to choose a favorite class at Ohio State because I felt so lucky to have a diverse list to choose from. However, I would say I really appreciated the classes for ACEL.  They felt very self-reflective but at the same time group oriented and community-based which I thought was a refreshing balance compared to your average lecture.

Did a specific professor or faculty member have an influence on your time at Ohio State?
The first person that comes to mind is Dr. King.  He was the first of many professors at Ohio State that I felt I really related to.  He never made me feel like I was wrong and really got me interested in ethics and leadership within teams and groups, which are subjects I find really important and want to focus on in my current and future careers.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Overall, I think it’s the people and pride that make Ohio State the place that it is.  The traditions that are created and continued for years make students feel like they are apart of something special.  I would bet a lot of alumni out there that would love to go back to their campus apartment or house with their roommates if they could, and I’m one of them.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
Working for Make-A-Wish Ohio, Kentucky & Indiana as a referral intake coordinator!

While you were a student, you also worked to help advance your career. What were those positions?
I worked as a youth program coordinator for First Community Church and for a small nonprofit called the Tri-Village Mentor League.  I also spent majority of my time working as a program team member and then program director for Camp Akita.  I am proud that I was able to work full-time and be a full-time student throughout my college career.

How are you involved in your community outside of your career?
Although I am working fulltime for Make-A-Wish, I am still involved in my previous jobs.  I am on the council for Camp Akita and volunteer once a week for First Community Church Youth Program.

What advice would you give to a current student?
I would tell them to consider themselves and the person they want to be in everything they do.  Try new things, talk to new people, go out of your comfort zone but although cliché, remember what is important to you.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
I think ACEL gave me the confidence and independence to be where I am today and hope to be in the future.  ACEL helped me think in ways I’ve never thought before and to see in a new perspective which I think will guide me well.

 

Alumni Spotlight: John Poulson ’87

John Poulson is an agricultural educator at the Pettisville Local Schools. He graduated from Ohio State in 1987 with a master’s degree in agricultural education. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and agricultural education from Ohio State, which he received in 1981.

[ACEL]: Hi John! Why did you select your majors and graduate program?
[POULSON]: I dual majored in animal science and agriculture education because I thought I wanted to work in the animal industry, but the agricultural education classes showed me the diversity of being involved in many subjects.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
It was the only school in Ohio that offered agriculture and where I could get accepted at automatically.  Plus, my mom and dad both graduated from Ohio State.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
The agriculture education classes, the course professors and student teaching showed me I could teach if I wanted to, and I decided I wanted to.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was involved in several ways with the Agricultural Education Society, I especially remember being co-chair of the banquet two years. I was inducted into Towers Honorary, but I don’t remember much about it. I worked three years in the Meat Lab, which was a great experience and I have used those skills often.  My last two quarters on campus I was in-charge of clean-up there.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I enjoyed several classes and it was usually because of the professor or teacher being engaging and challenging.  I especially remember the agricultural education series of 100, 200 and 330 which prepared us for the classroom.  Professors included: Drs. Peters, Knight and Newcomb.  In animal science I enjoyed 200 with Dr. Plimpton, the meat courses with Dr. Parrot and animal nutrition with TizWiz. I think Dr. Hedges did the most to make us think that the problem solving approach is the best method of teaching, then and now.

I also enjoyed taking archery and bowling.

Most professors impacted my career if they gave us material to use in class and methods to use them.  After 36 years of teaching and working in the industry, I use parts of their materials on a daily basis.  The ones mentioned above plus Drs. Gleem, Erving, Papritan II, Lichtensteiger, Conners, Burke and more, some of which I can’t remember.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
I lived in Norton House all four years and those times spent with many friends made lasting memories which include meeting my wife, Lexie Zenz.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
In 1981 I became the vocational agriculture teacher at Crestview High School in Richland and Ashland counties.

Are there other places you have worked throughout your career?
I worked as the agricultural educator and FFA advisor and helped start an alumni group at Crestview until 1988 (7 years). Then was an organization director for Ohio Farm Bureau in Henry, Fulton and Williams Counties for 2 years.  In 1990 I started at Pettisville Schools as the ag teacher and FFA Advisor and have helped start an alumni group here.

During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
I have been named an OAAE Outstanding Young Teacher, Fulton County SWCD Outstanding Supporter, Honorary American FFA Degree recipient and a NAAE AgScience Teacher of the Year.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight is seeing the number of students who excel in the agriculture industry at the local, state and national levels.  It is gratifying to know the affect they have had in the industry.  I also see the many students who work in other industries but still know and love what agriculture means to our world.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Learn to learn and keep learning, with your students, employees, and customers.  Be open to working harder to help reach goals for others as well as yourself.  And, figure out how to get your family involved with what you like to do so that work can sometimes be a hobby too.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
The support that people in the college have given me as a teacher over the years has helped.  It wasn’t just during college but in many of the years since.  Like Dr. Henderson during my first years of teaching, L.H. during my master’s program and various OAAE activities.  More recently the interactions of helping Dr. Whittington teach about high school recordkeeping and working with ACEL for summer conference programming have made me a better teacher.

The best thing that can come from this celebration is the understanding that agriculturalists need a team of educators in the industry, the classroom, the research labs, etc that know what others are doing.

 

Talking Shop: Farm Shops and Rooms

By: Cody McClain
agriscience education
senior

This month for “Talking Shop,” I am focusing on two historical documents that reflect on shops and rooms for farm shop and agricultural engineering during the early years of agricultural education (1919~1936).

The first document, “Rooms for a Department of Vocational Agriculture,” was published in 1919 by W. F. Stewart and E.F. Johnson, first department chair and assistant professor of the Department of Agricultural Education at Ohio State, respectively. This publication concentrated on the locations, plans, and equipment needs for vocational agriculture programs.

The second publication, “Farm Shop and Agricultural Engineering,” was prepared in 1936 by C.S. Hutchinson, a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Education at Ohio State. This publication focuses on the objectives, rooms, and equipment needed specifically for farm shop and agricultural engineering courses. Both of these publications show the fundamental beginnings of the agricultural mechanics and engineering in the early years of agricultural education.

 

 

 

 

Alumni Spotlight: Dennis Hall ’81, ’81 MS

 

[ACEL]: Hi Denny! Why did you select your major?
[Hall]: I always knew that I would study agriculture, but it was my vo-ag teacher, Harold Karcher, that inspired me to study agricultural education. While at Ohio State and as a participant in several student organizations, I observed that many of the ag industry leaders that I looked up to were former ag teachers. My conclusion was that there must be something valuable in the training to become and the discipline of directing a vo-ag program that was good preparation for future endeavors.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
My first thought is to say that there was never any doubt, but that is not true. While agriculture was and remains my passion, I actually explored the idea of going to Wilmington to play basketball. After a campus visit there and watching one of their games, I knew that style of play was not for me. Also, I knew I was not good enough to play basketball for the Buckeyes.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
During my freshman year, I was not very ambitious. I was content to just take classes and play sports. Then I met Dr. L.H. Newcomb. He changed my life. He saw potential in me that I did not see in myself and challenged me to assume a leadership role in the Ag Ed Society. He lit a fire in me that burns to this day. In all honesty, I have no idea who I would have been had it not been for LH.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I lived in Norton/Scott for three years.  After serving as co-chair of the Agricultural Education Society FSR Food Stand committee, I went on to several leadership roles within the College eventually serving as co-chair of the College Recognition Banquet and president of the Council for Agriculture, Home Economics, and Natural Resources (CAHENR) Council. In addition, I was a member of Bucket and Dipper and Sphinx honorary societies.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career? How?
Dr. Newcomb had the most life changing impact, but the College community was full of faculty that were incredibly supportive and encouraging. I loved my advisor, Dr. J. Robert Warmbrod. Clarence Cunningham, John Stitzlein, Keith Smith, Jo Jones, and Nikki Conklin also had a major influence on my Extension career.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Ohio State is where I grew up. I went from a kid to being a citizen. The highlight is clearly that I met my wife of 36 years, Lynne, in the Norton-Scott Complex. She has been a terrific partner in life.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I taught Vo-Ag for two years at Ridgedale.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
After a couple of ag extension agent retirements in my vicinity, I decided to try that out. I have loved extension work for the 34 years since.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those?
I served as president of the CFAES Alumni Society and secretary of the Development Board. The Nature Conservancy awarded me their President’s Award for supporting farmer leadership of water quality and watershed management programming.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I am proud of the fact that I have played a significant role in attracting and managing over $30 million in major grants to the College and helping to craft a new vision for advanced bioenergy and biobased products in Ohio. I aspire to see over $1 billion in economic impact during my service at OBIC. To date, I can account for over $600 million in business and programmatic activity as a result of OBIC programs.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Be positive and passionate about the opportunities that you have to serve, whatever the role. Take advantage of opportunities the university provides.
Be intentional about your personal growth and development. Strive to innovate by looking at challenges and opportunities in creative ways.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
My interest in agriculture was transformed into a career of public service and community leadership. There was no way to know the interesting work that would be in my future, but ACEL provided me a foundation to build a fascinating career upon.

Alumni Spotlight: Whitney Beck Short ’07, ’09 MS

[ACEL]: Hi Whitney! Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?
When I first went to college, I majored in animal sciences with the intention of pursuing a veterinary degree. Soon after I began classes, I realized vet school was not in my future, but I still enjoyed the livestock industry. During my first year at OSU, I also served as an Ohio FFA officer. This experience led to an interest in teaching at the high school level. After this year of service, I added the Agricultural Education major and am so grateful that I did!

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I chose OSU because of its outstanding College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. I knew that I wanted to pursue a degree and career in agriculture, and this was a natural fit in Ohio.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My professors were instrumental in developing my passion for agricultural education. Their personal relationships with their students are impressive, and I was fortunate to have great professional relationships with the ACEL professors. They pushed me to be my best, while also helping me to find where I am most talented.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?:
I was involved in a variety of student organizations such as Saddle & Sirloin, Ag Ed Society, Towers Agricultural Honorary, and Buckeye Dairy Club. I was a CFAES Ambassador, and was a co-chair for the CFAES Banquet. I worked for Dr. Eastridge with research, and also worked with OSU Extension with the Ohio State Fair Skillathons. Finally, I had the opportunity to intern with Elanco Animal Health and The Maschhoffs, Inc., which were both outstanding experiences. While in Grad School, I was a member of the ACEL Graduate Student Association. I was also a TA for Dr. Lichtensteiger, which was another incredible experience.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I really enjoyed my animal sciences and agricultural education classes. My favorite class was Dr. Whittington’s methods class. This was one of the most influential classes for me as a teacher. I use so much of what I learned in that class today in the classroom.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?
Dr. Cano and Dr. Whittington were both influential in my education and career. Dr. Cano was the person that encouraged me to attend grad school and pursue a teaching career rather than an industry career. Dr. Whittington was my master’s advisor, and taught me a great deal about classroom teaching and research. I use what I learned today in my classroom!

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Two memories come to mind. The first is the CFAES Banquet that I helped co-chair. It was a great experience to plan it, and was even better to watch it all come together. The second memory is working with Dr. Lichtensteiger as a TA. He is extremely intelligent, and I learned a great deal from him that I continue to use today in my classroom and in life.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first full time job is the same job that I have today! I am an agriculture instructor & FFA advisor at Anthony Wayne High School, a satellite of Penta Career Center.

Have you worked with any other organizations to promote agricultural education?
My full time job is through Penta Career Center. I am also fortunate to serve as a network leader for GrowNextGen, which is a special project of Ohio Soybean Council.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors?
I recently received the Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators (OAAE) Agriscience Teacher of the Year. I will also receive the Region IV National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Agriscience Teacher of the Year award this December in Nashville. In 2014, I was awarded the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) Outstanding Agriculture teacher award. We have had the honor of hosting the Ohio Secretary of Education to our program two times, and I also had the honor of traveling to Honduras with Dr. Cano and other agriculture teachers/students in 2015. Another unique opportunity that I had was giving a testimony to the Ohio House of Representatives Agriculture & Rural Development Committee as an Ohio Agriculture teacher.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight by far is seeing students succeed, reach goals, and find their passions. It is truly an honor to teach students on a daily basis, and the opportunity to see them find and pursue their passions is incredible!

What advice would you give to a current student?
Get involved, pursue a variety of internships, and stay focused!

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
ACEL cultivated a passion in me for quality research, effective teaching, and service learning. My master’s experience taught me how to conduct quality research. My undergrad experience combined with my graduate work taught me how to be an effective teacher in the classroom. My experiences in the block, Honduras, and as a TA showed me the importance of service learning.

Industry in the News

Education

New Online Agricultural Education For Indiana

Down on the farm, these Chicago high school students get a unique public education

Communication

Multimedia Journalist Alison Durheim finds her voice in the Ag world.

Here’s What’s Working with the Internet of Things … and What’s Next

Community

The Smart Farm Initiative: the future of precision agriculture

New bill supports mental health for agricultural communities

Leadership

Ohio Poultry Association honors excellence

Opinion: Agriculture from 1968 to 2018

Industry

Taste, touch and experience Oregon agriculture at Ag Fest, April 28-29

Changes made to Livestock Indemnity Program

Alumni Spotlight: Rose Smith, ’06

[ACEL]: Hi Rose! Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?
[Smith]: I knew I wanted to be involved in informal agricultural education, educating the general public about where their food comes from. I didn’t know if that meant working in the United States or overseas, but I did know that majoring in agricultural education would prepare me best for my future career.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
It’s the best! My high school guidance counselor encouraged me attend Ohio State knowing I wanted to teach agriculture, but not necessarily in the classroom. I attended classes at OSU-Lima for the first two years of my education, as they were offering evening classes locally in Bellefontaine. This was perfect as it allowed me to work full time during the day and attend small classes in the evening. Once it was time to focus on my major, it was an easy transition to main campus.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My education at Ohio State opened my eyes to what a huge need there is for educating consumers on the food supply and food systems. I have worked in the organic industry for over six years now and the desire for people to know how their food is raised is higher now than ever before.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
My favorite job was working at the RPAC. It had just opened when I began working there. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet such a diverse group of students and I still run into my former boss on a regular basis, mainly when tailgating before football games!

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? 
I really enjoyed the “Block” set up, spending large chunks of time with some of my closest college friends, knowing we were all working on the same thing was interesting.

Some of my other favorite classroom memories happened because my brother and I had the same major, and he was only a few quarters ahead of me, so occasionally we would have classes together. Those classes were always more challenging because we were fairly competitive with each other on anything where there could be the slightest bit of competition, so I would always try a little harder in those classes. He would also make me buy the book, saying we would “share it”… I never saw those books again.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career? 
There are a few that stand out, but Dr. Susie Whittington probably made the largest impact on me. She has a super power of knowing the special skills of each student and where they would fit best once leaving college. She has the great ability of encouraging students just when they need it most and nudging them in the right direction. She was a big part of me getting my first job after college. Just recently, I was visiting with her at a wedding, discussing women doing jobs that historically were held my men. Though I already knew it, it was an amazing reminder of what a trail blazer she is, leading the way for woman to teach agriculture in a variety of formats.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
What a hard question! There are so many, but one that is coming to mind is the 2002 Ohio State vs. Michigan Game. The game was obviously amazing and unbelievable. Digital cameras weren’t in full swing yet, and everyone was still using film cameras. I remember walking to the CVS on the corner of High and Lane to drop my film off the next day and there was a pile of film several feet tall that had been turned in to be developed. The girl behind the counter looked at me, with this look of panic on her face and firmly said, “It’s going to be a longer than an hour”. It was just the reminder of what a historic this had happened the day before. It was exciting being a part of it.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I worked as an Outreach Educator at COSI. I traveled to elementary schools putting on an assembly of a specific topic, then spent the rest of the day working with smaller classes doing hands on science experiments. The most valuable thing I got from working there was a strong ability to be independent. It was me and a box truck full of science equipment traveling all over Ohio and the surrounding states. Plus, who wouldn’t love a job where it was normal to shoot off a rocket any given day?

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
After COSI, I worked for just about a year at FFA Camp Muskingum. A job opportunity became available working in the organic industry in Bellefontaine, so I moved back home. I worked for two different organic certification agencies, Global Organic Alliance and Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, before landing what has become my dream job at Organic Valley. As a regional pool manager, I work with a dairy farmers that are currently organic and shipping milk with Organic Valley, as well as the farmers that are in transition to organic production. Organic Valley is a farmer-owned cooperative, and it is an honor to work with organic farmers who are working hard to keep their families farming by producing organic products.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? 
It isn’t an official award or honor, but I am the first female regional pool manager that works remotely for Organic Valley. Since I was hired there have been three additional women hired. There was a lot of discussion on how farmers would handle having a woman as their manager, but it has turned out just fine. I had been working at Organic Valley for about a month when I stopped at a farm to take a farmer out to lunch. While we were eating he said, “You know this is no job for a woman”. I had no idea how to respond. Since then, I have formed a great relationship with him and he has actually told me, “They hired the right woman for this job”, which is a huge complement.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I love being able to offer farmers a market for their milk. I remember one spring day about two years ago, when I was going through the contract we complete with farmers when they join the co-op. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, so we sat at the picnic table in his yard and completed the paperwork. I will never forget the happiness the farmer was showing, as this meant he could be a full time farmer and no longer needed to work at his factory job. Though there are really tough parts of this job, it is always a highlight when I get to offer a contact to a farmer!

What advice would you give to a current student?
Pay attention in class! There have been so many times that I need to do something in my current career, and I remember vaguely some teacher talking about this sometime in college, but I wasn’t really paying close attention. My life would be a lot easier now if I wasn’t going back to relearn all of those things. A perfect example, I remember mildly paying attention when we learned about calculating dry matter in a feed ration, thinking I would never need to know how to do this. I calculate dry matter for farmers almost weekly now. I should have paid attention.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? 
My professors knew I had no intention of teaching in the classroom, but knew that the skills taught in the agricultural education major would be incredibly useful in informal education as well. This showed me that education isn’t a cookie cutter approach and that education is about life skills and not just grades on a paper.