Alumni Spotlight: Hannah Thompson-Weeman, ’11, ’12 MS

Hannah Thompson Weeman is a two time graduate of our department. She came to Ohio State from the state of Maryland and completed both her bachelors in agricultural communication and masters in agricultural and extension education. She now serves as vice-president for communications for the Animal Agriculture Alliance in Arlington, Virginia.

[ACEL]: Hi Hannah! You studied agricultural communication at Ohio State. Why did you selected that major?
[Thompson-Weeman]: I chose to study agricultural communication because it allowed me to combine my skills and interest in strategic planning, public speaking and writing with my passion for agriculture. Competing in the agricultural communications CDE in FFA solidified this career path as the one I wanted to pursue.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Growing up in Maryland, Ohio State really wasn’t on my radar until I was contacted by Bonnie Ayars, the dairy extension specialist who leads the dairy judging program. I had judged dairy cattle in 4-H and FFA and planned to do so in college, so hearing from Bonnie caught my interest and she arranged for me to come out for a visit. Ultimately, I chose to attend Ohio State in large part because of its agricultural communication program, but also because of Ohio’s strong dairy industry.

How has your education at Ohio State influence your career path?
The skills I learned as a student at Ohio State allowed me to earn several excellent internships with exposed me to various potential career paths in agricultural communication. These internships helped me to determine what path I wanted to pursue later on.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I competed on the dairy judging team and was also an active member of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Alpha Zeta Partners, Buckeye Dairy Club and Scarlet and Gray Ag Day Planning Committee.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
My favorite classes were ones where we were able to complete real-life projects, which we were able to do frequently in our agricultural communication program. During our publication design and production class, we produced The AgriNaturalist from start to finish, including selling ad space, designing ads and layouts and writing content. In our campaign design class, our group worked with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to develop a promotional campaign for a new initiative. I use all of these creative thinking and project management skills daily as a professional!

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
One of my favorite memories is from our ACT chapter hosting the National ACT Professional Development Conference during my senior year. It was exciting to see our chapter come together to plan the event, which was a great success.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
After graduating with my B.S., I immediately moved into a graduate program. I earned my M.S. in agricultural and extension education in December 2012. My first full-time position was as a marketing specialist at Farm Credit Mid-America in Louisville, KY.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
After two great years at Farm Credit, I began working for the Animal Agriculture Alliance in Arlington, VA in December 2014, first as director of communications and now as vice president of communications.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Do as many internships as possible! It is never too early to start trying out different jobs and seeing what you may want to do in the future. The connections you will gain will be extremely valuable when you start your job search. Don’t forget that any internship is a long-term job interview – always put your best foot forward.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
As an out-of-state student, I did not have any friends or connections in Ohio before starting at OSU. The welcoming atmosphere of the ACEL department and the involvement of alumni and professionals in our classes and club activities allowed me to cultivate a network of friends and professional contacts that I continue to lean on today.


Dairy Judging Team


Micki Zartman Scarlet and Gray Ag Day Committee

O-H-I-O in Brazil during a study abroad with Alpha Zeta Partners.


Speaking with ABN at the 2010 Micki Zartman Scarlet and Gray Ag Day.


To celebrate the ACEL Centennial, Agricultural Education Society is selling t-shirts for $15. The shirts are the ‘next-level’ brand and are very soft.

Shirts are available for purchase in Room 208 of Agricultural Administration while supplies last.

Alumni Spotlight: Jenna Genson, ’08

Jenna Genson came to Ohio State from her hometown of Farmersville, Ohio to major in agricultural education. Her career after Ohio State has led her to graduate school in Virginia and careers in Ohio, Indiana and Texas! Read more from our conversation with 2008 agricultural education alumni, Ms. Jenna Genson.

[ACEL]: Hi Jenna! You majored in agricultural education while a student at Ohio State. What influenced that choice of major?
Both of my parents were teachers, so even as a little girl I knew I wanted to be a teacher – I just didn’t know what subject. The life-changing experiences I had in 4-H and FFA sparked my passion for youth development and agricultural education. I was hooked! I am fueled by helping others actualize their goals and be successful in their own, unique way.

Why Ohio State?
While I applied to attend other schools, Ohio State was always my first choice. The agriculture education program is second to none! When I got accepted to the Columbus campus, I was beyond excited! I’ll always be a proud Buckeye, regardless of how many miles away I am from the heart of it all.

How has your education at Ohio State influence your career path?
My time at Ohio State and Virginia Tech allowed me to better understand all of the opportunities available in agricultural education. When I started at Ohio State, I was convinced I would be an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor for my entire career. I had no concept of how diverse our industry is. My time as a student provided the exposure and network I needed to get started!

As a student, what classes did you enjoy the most?
I always enjoyed classes in CFAES the most. Had this question been asked when I was graduating, I think my answer would have been different. As I reflect now, I think my favorite class was Methods of Teaching Agriculture with Dr. Whittington and Caryn (now Dr. Filson). Trying things on in lab was scary, especially in front of my peers – but it was tangible, realistic and by far the most beneficial educational experience at Ohio State. I continue to use many things I learned in that class on a daily basis.

Did a professor or faculty member have an impact on your collegiate studies?
I am amazed at the talent and energy of Dr. Susie Whittington. She is a wonderful example of how to embody passion for whatever profession you choose. She has a knack for building a positive, inclusive culture and always encourages others to lean in and try new things. My appreciation for Dr. Whittington continues to grow as I watch her find innovative ways to engage with students and the profession.

A lot of our current students are involved in student organizations. Where you involved in any as a student?
I was a member of Agricultural Education Society for four years, Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority for three years and served as president for one year, Towers Agricultural Honorary, Collegiate Young Farmers and I also worked at the Ohio State Vet Hospital part time for four years.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Time with friends – road trips, football Saturdays, and late night food runs during study sessions to name a few.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
Upon graduation I moved to Blacksburg, Virginia and started graduate school at Virginia Tech. After graduating with my master’s degree, I came back to Ohio to serve as an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
I was the agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Valley View High School in Germantown, Ohio from 2010-2012. I then worked as an education specialist for the National FFA Organization in Indianpolis, Indiana from 2012-2017. I now work for the Texas Rural Water Association in Austin, Texas as a classroom and online course development specialist.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those?

  • 2016 – White House Science Fair Delegate
  • 2012 – Ohio Teacher Turn the Key Winner through the National Association of Agricultural Educators (as nominated by Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators)
  • 2009 – Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority – National Outstanding Alumni
  • 2009 – Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority – Alpha Chapter Outstanding Alumni
  • 2008 – Honorary Chapter FFA Degree Recipient (Otsego FFA Chapter)
  • 2007 – Honorary Chapter FFA Degree Recipient (Valley View FFA Chapter)

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I’ve been blessed with so many wonderful memories. The top two are:

Staying connected with my former students and watching them grow into wonderful young adults. Sarah Landis is a wonderful example. In my first year of teaching, Sarah was a freshman in my Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources course (AFNR class). I’ve enjoyed witnessing her development. From being involved in several organizations and sports, going on to serve as a state FFA officer, earning her American FFA degree, and now being a Buckeye and aspiring agriculture teacher – watching former students succeed is one of the most rewarding feelings!

During my time at the National FFA Organization, I had the pleasure of working with the Agriscience Fair among other programs. The agriscience fair program continued to gain momentum and develop rapidly over the last few years. During his time in office, President Obama had a strong desire to highlight students excelling in STEM education. He founded the White House Science Fair where many successful students from across the country were invited to participate and represent their respective science fairs and organizations. National FFA was honored to participate each year and in 2016 I was invited to attend the event with our student to represent the organization. Watching the President interact with the students in the Rose Garden, witnessing his remarks in the East Room, and interacting with dignitaries and STEM professionals from across the country was incredibly powerful and inspiring!

What advice would you give to a current student?
Say yes! Take the extra class, go to the meeting for a new club, embrace the conversation with the new person in class. Lean in and try something that scares you – you never know where that might lead.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL solidified my passion for youth development and allowed me to better understand how the brain learns best. I had great classes where I learned theory, wonderful labs where I tried things on, and great mentors who embody the connection of theory to delivery. Because of this, ACEL prepared me to be a better teacher inside and outside of the classroom.


Jenna with some of her Sigma Alpha sisters in college.

Ms. Jenson with some of her students at Valleyview High School.

Cheering for the Buckeyes during and Ohio State football game.

Cheering for the Buckeyes with fellow agricultural educator and ACEL alumn, Mrs. Ringler.


Alumni Spotlight: Michelle Stevens Callahan, ’88


Michelle Stevens Callahan came to Ohio State from her hometown of Williamsport to major in agricultural communication. Since graduating with a bachelor of science in 1988, she has worked as a journalist, communications manager and freelance writer. She now works for the Pickaway County Library as the outreach coordinator, a position she has held for more than 13 years.

[ACEL]: Hi Michelle! Tell us why you selected to attend Ohio State and major in agricultural communication?
[Callahan]: I followed in my father’s footsteps by going to Ohio State. He was editor of the Ohio Farmer and American Small Farm magazines and he made agricultural communication look fun. He was right!

As a student, how were you involved in student activities?
As a freshman, I served as the state secretary for the Ohio FFA, which kept me on the run. I also enjoyed being a part of the Agricultural Education Society and served as a banquet chair. Through the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, I served alongside classmate MaryAnn Kistler as a national officer for the newly formed organization. I was named an outstanding senior in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences in 1988. I worked for Dr. Lowell Hedges, an agricultural education professor, copying and filing his many handouts. His secretary, Diane Morganstern, and I share the same birthday.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
Putting together the AgriNaturalist was my favorite class (agricultural communication 400, on the quarter system). It gave me practical experience that I put to use in “the real world.” I was glad I took it multiple times right before graduation so everything was fresh when I started working.

I enjoyed agricultural systems management 241, building and construction, as it gave me a different set of real-life skills. Agricultural economics 310 gave me a business plan for a PR firm that I still have in a file drawer. I also enjoyed some of my general electives – theater 100, psychology 100, archery and badminton – because they were so different from any of my previous experiences.

Did a particular faculty or staff member have an influence on you?
Dr. Barbara Cooper was my advisor and was a lifesaver for me on my very first day at Ohio State when I had no classes on the CFAES campus and was feeling very lost and overwhelmed. She helped me switch my schedule around so I could be on the campus where I was comfortable because it was familiar to me from my FFA experiences. She was also an excellent mentor for me, helping me obtain internships and advising the ACT club and AgriNaturalist. We still exchange Christmas cards every year.

Share one of your favorite memories from your time as a Buckeye.
My favorite memories involve my roommates (Sandy Kuhn, Sharon Lambert Thacker and Beth Rice Reigelmayer, all 1988 grads from CFAES), having halitosis parties in Norton House, working as an orientation leader and living in Morrill Tower for a summer and getting married between my junior and senior year to OSU alum John Callahan. We are celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary this year!

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job after graduation was with the Marysville Journal-Tribune daily newspaper. I was the agriculture editor and a general reporter. I sought out the newspaper job based on the advice from a speaker at a national convention of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow. The speaker owned a public relations firm and said he would not hire someone who had not worked at a newspaper for a year. He said the discipline of writing every day and meeting deadlines taught the skills necessary to work in public relations.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
I worked at the Marysville Journal-Tribune newspaper for one year as a reporter. I got to do a little bit of everything there – write feature stories, obituaries and the police beat, cover civic meetings, take photos on the sidelines of high school football games, and developing photos.

I then worked with Producers Livestock (now United Producers) as the communications manager for six years where I got to do daily livestock prices on the radio, graphic design and organize large events. Then I worked as a freelance writer and editor while I stayed home with my two children for eight years.

I now work for the Pickaway County Library as community relations coordinator. In my 13+ years at the library, I have written newsletters and editorials, led storytimes and teen programs, taught computer classes, driven the bookmobile and partnered with OSU Extension, the YMCA, the local hospital and many other community organizations. I love the variety this job offers and seeing the library develop as a community hub.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight is the success of the One Book, One Community program in Pickaway County. I really like the way community members have embraced the discussion of heavy topics like end-of-life planning and drug addiction. The library has worked with Berger Health System and other local agencies to make these programs available. It is very fulfilling to be part of such a collaborative community.

What advice would you give to a current student?

  • I am full of advice, as both my children are current college students! Here are the pieces I keep repeating:
  • Go to class every day and sit in the front row. (Someone gave me this advice before I went to college and it worked for me.)
  • Ask for help when you need it, especially early in the semester. That’s why the faculty & teaching assistants are there.
  • Be involved in student organizations.
  • Make some friends.
  • Have some fun. Stay out of trouble.
  • Get a job! If it relates to your major, that’s great; if it doesn’t, it’s still good to have a job. It proves you know how to show up and work.
  • Check your e-mail.

Tricia Kritzler is holding my feet in the wheelbarrow race.

1988 OSU Graduates: from left to right Sandy Kuhn, Sharon (Lambert) Thacker, Beth (Rice) Reigelmayer and Michelle (Stevens) Callahan. Spring 1988 grads from CFAES.

Michelle presenting a storytime in a classroom as part of the local Soil & Water Conservation District’s Ag. Day.

Alumni Spotlight: Brad Moffitt, ’83

Ronnie B. “Brad” Moffitt came to Ohio State from Urbana, Ohio in 1980. At 22, he started a dual degree in agricultural education and animal sciences. He graduated from Ohio State in 1983. After years as an agricultural educator, high school principal and working for the State of Ohio, Moffitt is now in his “second career” with Ohio Corn & Wheat as director of market development and membership.

[ACEL]: You majored in agricultural education. What influenced you to choose that direction for your undergraduate career?
[Moffitt]: My focus in high school was my agricultural classes and FFA under the direction of three great teachers.  My freshman teacher, Willie Kanagy was the catalyst.  My senior agriculture teacher and Young Farmer advisor, Clif Baughman, offered the nudge it took to get me to Ohio State.  I farmed and raised cattle for four years after high school, starting at Ohio State when I was almost 22 years old. I chose agricultural education as my undergraduate major because I had wanted to be an ag teacher since first setting foot in my high school ag class. At some point, I decided I wanted to be a high school principal.  I found that having been an active agriculture teacher set a great foundation for that career step.

Why did you chose to attend Ohio State?
I never thought of anything else! if you wanted to be an agricultural educator, that’s where you went!

How did your education at Ohio State influence your career choice and path:
The career choice was set before I even entered my first quarter.  In addition to the agricultural education program at OSU, the technical agriculture courses in animal science, agronomy, entomology, agricultural economics, and agricultural mechanics were outstanding supplements to the agricultural education learning and experience.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student:
Within the college, I was involved in Agricultural Education Society, Phalanx, Towers Honorary and on the Agricultural Recognition Banquet Committee. In Greek Life I served as rush chair and president of Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity, chief justice of Interfraternity Council Executive Officer, treasurer of Jr. Interfraternity Council, was a member of the Greek Week planning committee and won the Ross Gainer Award, which was the top senior award for the Greek community.

I was in a number of honor societies as well, including Phi Eta Sigma Freshmen Honor Society, Alpa Lambda Delta Freshmen Honor Society and Sphinx Senior Honorary.

What classes did you enjoy the most as a student?
The three key agricultural education classes: the introduction class with Dr. Knight, methods with Dr. Newcomb and curriculum development with Dr. Hedges.  The best teacher educators in the universe taught them and inspired us to be aggressive and innovative professionals

What professor, faculty, or staff members had an impact on my education career?
The first class on my first day as a student was agricultural education 200 with Dr. Jim Knight, who I believe is the PERFECT teacher educator for freshmen aspiring to be teachers.  Those of us that went through Ohio State during that era in agriculture education had the honor to have Dr. Knight, Dr. Newcomb, and the great Dr. Lowell Hedges… we had to go through that pedagogical gauntlet of great educators in order to become teachers. That was good for us and it was good for the profession.  We also had GREAT graduate teaching assistants: George Wardlow who would later lead the Arkansas’ teacher education program, Stacy Gartin who would later lead West Virginia’s teacher education program, Phil Buriak and Joe Harper who both went on to great careers at The University of Illinois.  While my class did not have Dr. Leon Boucher directly, Dr. Boucher was a positive influence through the personal time he spent with undergraduate students.  We were also VERY fortunate to have had to have to go through the legendary Dr. Bill Tyznik’s animal nutrition class and Dr. Glen Himes’ agricultural economics 100… two world-class instructors.

Share a favorite memory you have from your time at Ohio State.
Being linked into Sphinx while sitting in one of Dr. Wilson’s 500 level animal science classes, then having Wendell Ellenwood (Director of the Ohio Union) lead me on the Sphinx walk across the oval.

Following your time at Ohio State, what was your first job?
I became an agricultural educator at Ridgedale High School in Morral, Ohio.

Over your career, what other positions have you held?
1983-1993: Ridgedale High School, agricultural educator
1993-1997: Ripley Union Lewis Huntington High School, agricultural educator
1997-2005: Ripley Union Lewis Huntington Local Schools, principal
2005-2010: State of Ohio, Department of Education, agricultural education area supervisor
2010-2012: Vocational Administration and school accreditation/assessment (various)
2012-Present: Ohio Corn & Wheat- Director, Market Development and Membership

  • From 1996 to 2008, was adjunct professor for The University of Dayton (masters and post-masters courses)
  • From 1970 to present: Hunting and fishing enthusiast. Have performed outfitting for hunting and fishing excursions


What are some honors or awards you have received over the years?
Ohio Ag Teachers- Outstanding Young Teacher
National FFA- National Agriscience Teacher of the Year, Eastern Region
Ohio FFA- Ohio Agriscience Teacher of the Year
U.S. Department of Education- Christa McAulliffe Fellowship

What are a few career highlights for you?
I have to note three:

  • Building and helping build two- 200 student programs of high school agriculture education (Ridgedale and Ripley)
  • Initiating U.S Marine Corps Junior ROTC at Ripley High School
  • Working for Ohio Corn & Wheat and leading the ethanol, export, and membership programs. I am the fortunate recipient of a totally unexpected second career!

What advice do you have for current students?
This is directed at future teachers: Understand that when you graduate and land that first job, you are in for the toughest 2 years of your life professionally and personally. Understand that going in, get tough, work hard, and make sound professional and personal decisions.  ALSO… do not forget to have a personal life, too!  Do not let the stress (yes, there will be stress) drive you to “knee-jerk” decisions.  Teaching high school agriculture was the best job I ever had… and my first annual salary was $13,000.

Advice that Dr. Lowell Hedges gave all outgoing agricultural education majors: “Teaching is a commitment in both length and intensity.” Dr. Hedges was telling us that teaching is not an 8am to 3pm job… it’s a career that will require time investment beyond the normal school day and beyond the typical school year.

And… get to know your students and their families on a personal andprofessional level.  That networking is what leads to future success and valued friendships. You become a mentor to your kids for your lifetime.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
I mentioned it before, my time at OSU and as an agricultural education major gave to me and my peers the greatest mentors in the universe. While we were exposed regularly to the greats like Knight, Newcomb, and Hedges, also close by were Boucher, McCracken, Barrick, Miller, Gliem, Papritan, and those super-graduate assistants.  To answer “what did ACEL cultivate in me?”  I have to reference the fact that ACEL in the 70’s and 80’s was a glowing example of the power of mentorship via strong agricultural college teachers and staff.  I have taken with me into every level of my career a passion for connecting young professionals to strong, positive mentors.

Brad Moffitt and the first FFA officer team at Ripley High School.

Filling the Ohio Corn & Wheat Tahoe with E85 (85% Ethanol Fuel) at a 2017 stop on the Ohio Ethanol Tour. Moffitt is the staff lead for the Ohio Corn Checkoff’s ethanol programs.

Alumni Spotlight: Leslie Risch Cooksey, ’05, ’12 MS


Leslie Risch Cooksey came to Ohio State from Oak Harbor, Ohio to study agricultural and extension education in 2001. She completed her B.S. in 2005 and her M.S. in 2012. She has been a Buckeye for many years, through both her education and career. She is currently the 4-H Extension Educator in Farifield County, Ohio.

[ACEL]: Why did you select your major?
[Cooksey]: As a very active 4-H and FFA member growing up, I knew that my career path was going to involve agriculture AND either 4-H or FFA. Therefore, I chose agricultural education as my major for undergraduate studies (B.S. 2005) and later my graduate work in extension education (M.S. 2012).

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
With a passion to continue being involved in agriculture and knowing that I would likely not end up back home on our small family farm, I had to choose an agricultural school. I applied at Purdue, Wilmington, and Ohio State. Although accepted to all, after a few college visits, I knew Ohio State was my choice. I also had a twin sister choosing school at the same time and we actually made a joint decision that OSU would be best for us. It was a big deal moving off to college for the two of us – over 2 hours from home and first generation college students in our family.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
I’ve never left OSU since starting my education at OSU! I started working for the Farm Science Review as a student, graduated and moved home to work in Extension as a 4-H Program Assistant in Ottawa County, recruited back to Farm Science Review when a full-time position opened, finished my M.S. while working on campus, and after I had my credentials, I waited for the right opportunity to open up and pursue my next career path with OSU Extension and 4-H. I have been very fortunate.

You were an involved student at Ohio State. What were some of the activities you enjoyed?
Saddle and Sirloin, Ag Ed Society, Towers Ag Honorary, Micki Zartman Scarlet & Gray Ag Day, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Collegiate 4-H, and Meat Judging Team! I served as President of Saddle and Sirloin and was very active with their committees and events in addition to being very active with AES. I worked as a student assistant at the campus office of the Farm Science Review and at the show site for 3 ½ years. I also worked a short time in the OARDC Directors Office on campus. Additionally, I was a part of the 2003 Meat Judging Team.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
Animal and meat science classes – It’s my passion and made me feel “closer to home”. I also enjoyed Dr. Karol Fike (my animal science 200 professor and first animal science class). I also enjoyed having Dr. Henry Zerby as an educator and his meat science classes – not only for what I was able to learn, but he has a great personality and passion for teaching!

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career? How? Early on, the most impactful people on my career path certainly my parents. Additionally, I would say Kathy Booher as the 4-H Agent in Ottawa County and Mr. Louie Damschroder as one of my High School Ag Teachers/FFA Advisors. Both are graduates of OSU. Once on campus, Dr. Susie Whittington was a great teacher in preparing me to be an educator and shared a lot of life lessons that were meaningful to my career path. My guys at Farm Science Review who have become lifelong mentors – Craig Fendrick, Chuck Gamble, and Matt Sullivan – all different in their own ways and have taught me so much about agriculture, people management, financial planning, event planning , agriculture, and definitely the power of networking. This was my first job and they trusted me, empowered me, encouraged me, and wanted to see me do well not only while I was a student attending classes and active in student organizations, and as a student employee for them, but in my future endeavors. They are some of my greatest advocates and are like family to me as well. And perhaps the greatest impact once on campus, was Dr. David and Mrs. Micki Zartman. They have become a second set of parents to me and have opened their home and hearts to me in many occasions. They have been inspiring to me in so many ways from animal science classes to agricultural education and literacy efforts into communities and classrooms. I cannot thank them enough for sharing their passion and love for others and agriculture with me. They are truly two amazing people.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Serving as President of Saddle and Sirloin Club. As the largest organization in CFAES, I enjoyed overseeing the work of members who planned from start to finish huge events as college students that cannot compare to many other student organizations. It was a group of hard working students who all shared a common interest with me of animal agriculture. I was also able to meet many of my lifelong friends as a member of this student organization. And through this organization, I see many of these people today on a regular basis throughout my personal and professional life.

You said you’ve always been an employee of Ohio State. What position did you have as your first “official” job.
My first job was the 4-H Program Assistant in Ottawa County (OSU Extension).

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those?
As an advisor of the Micki Zartman Scarlet and Gray Ag Day, I was awarded the Outstanding Service to Students Award in CFAES in 2013. We also received the University Leadership Award in 2013 for Outstanding Student Organization – Programming Award in Innovation. In 2013, Scarlet & Gray Ag Day received the New Activity Award in CFAES. In 2012, Scarlet & Gray Ag Day received the Ed Johnson Outstanding Student Organization Award in CFAES.

As a 4-H Extension Educator in Fairfield County, I have received 2nd Place Creative Work – Team Newsletter for Epsilon Sigma Phi, Alpha Eta Chapter / Ohio JCEP. I received 1st Place NAE4HA Award in Ohio and the North Central Region for Educational Technology (Individual). I was awarded Ohio JCEP Scholarships in 2015 and 2017 and the Ohio JCEP First Timer Scholarship to attend NAE4HA in 2015.

As the 4-H Extension Educator coordinating local 4-H participation in the National 4-H Ag Innovators Experience, the Fairfield County 4-H Program has been national winners in 2015 (Ag Innovators Experience Video Contest – Rural Division by Rachel Salyers for the Water Windmill Challenge) and 2016 (Ag Innovators Experience Social Media Marketing Challenge) which as a result has brought $6500 to local and state 4-H programming from these two national 4-H awards.

Throughout your career, what have been some of your favorite highlights?
It’s the little things on a daily basis that make this career path rewarding. Simple thank you’s, seeing youth excel with local, state, and national 4-H awards and experiences. Being asked to write recommendation letters. Looking back at pictures from just 2 ½ years ago since I started in my current position, it’s amazing to see how much some of these kids have grown in their 4-H honors and experiences. I am pleased to be in a position to help them seek youth opportunities through the 4-H program.

What advice would you give to a current student in our department?
Get involved in student organizations. The classes will come and go and you will get through them. Find your fit in a student organization and seek out friendships there that share a personal interest with you. Lifelong friendships and networks will form that will pay off for the rest of your life.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
The importance to give back each day to those you work with and work for. And maybe even to the people you never will meet. Things always come back around in some way. I think living my personal life and career path in a positive way that young people will appreciate and respect will help them become caring, contributing, citizens as young adults. Also, if you think it can happen, make it happen. I have learned how to pull in my resources from various networks in ACEL, Farm Science Review, CFAES, and now Extension when I or someone I know needs support and advice.


With Buckeyeman a Scarlet and Gray Ag Day.

Leslie and members of the Micki Zartman Scarlet and Gray Ag Day committee.

Farm Science Review staff members.

Now a master’s degree graduate!

Leslie with Mrs. Micki Zartman

2013 Scarlet and Gray Ag Day committee

Alumni Spotlight: Alan Brugler, ’76 BS, ’76 MS

Alan Brugler came to The Ohio State University from Burghill, Ohio in Trumbull County. He majored in agricultural education and graduated with Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science degrees in 1976. Today, Brugler resides in Omaha, Nebraska where he serves as the president and CEO of Brugler Marketing and Management LLC.

[ACEL]: Hello Alan! You chose to major in agricultural education? What influenced you to select that major?
[Brugler]: I was looking for a major with flexibility in future career choices, and preferably with an opportunity to work with or help farmers. Agricultural education offered paths toward teaching, Extension, agribusiness and farm organizations.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I received enough grants and scholarships to cover my tuition costs, I could major in agricultural education and I was far enough from home I wouldn’t have to come back every weekend to milk cows!

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
It reinforced that I was on the right career path for me via various classroom and extra-curricular experiences and gave me the tools to be successful.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? That was a long time ago! One that sticks out was an international agricultural economics class with Kelso Wessel that included eating caviar and drinking vodka, as well as a term paper on changes I expected in the Chinese economy following the Nixon visit. Another was learning to program in COBOL on a mainframe in Hitchcock Hall my freshman year (1973) in a computer science class.

The first made me a life long Chinese and international agriculture watcher. The second allowed me to advance a number of technology initiatives in agriculture as computerization spread, because I knew how the devices could be made to do the tasks and meet the needs.

Was there a faculty member for professor that you stands out as someone who influenced your education?
My advisor, Dr. Robert Warmbrod, probably had the biggest influence on the mix of classes I took, and was invaluable in navigating the honors and graduate school programs and helping me to get both my B.S and M.S. in four years.  A number of other College professors and staff members also provided valuable insights and support.

How were you involved in student life activities while a student?
I was a member of the OSU Varsity Pistol Team, Alpha Zeta fraternity, Agricultural Education Society, intramural sports, Dates & Data Photographer, Undergraduate Student Government and Towers and Gamma Sigma Delta honoraries.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Social activities with the fraternity (including a Rose Bowl trip) and road trips with the pistol team (particularly Wisconsin and West Point). Football Saturdays would also be in the list.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I was an Organization Director for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation in Morrow, Crawford and Richland Counties.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
I worked for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation for 15 years, first in the field and then primarily in commodity marketing education and technology implementation. I was with Data Transmission Network (DTN) for 10 years as Director of Analysis and a market outlook speaker. I have owned and operated Brugler Marketing & Management LLC for 15 years.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those?
I was selected for Class 2 of the OSU LEAD program, named one of the Outstanding Young Men of America in 1988, Who’s Who in the Midwest in the 1990’s and received the CFAES Young Professional Achievement Award in 1988 and the CFAES Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
Certainly, receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award from CFAES in 2011 would be a highlight. Being chosen as a featured speaker for dozens of agricultural industry meetings each year and getting to share what I have learned is an ongoing recognition. Receiving calls and letters from clients thanking me for guiding them through turbulent markets financially intact always makes me feel that I’ve accomplished something.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Have real world jobs and internships while you are an underclassman. Student teaching works, too! Real jobs put course work in context and make it more relevant. I was a much better student after working one summer for Extension, and after a fall student teaching gig.

Also, work on your writing skills and public speaking. We reject many applicants for analyst positions at our firm because they can’t write well enough to put their work on public web sites unedited.

Look for “leading edge” ideas and technologies and seek to understand them. Many of the tools and concepts I use today didn’t exist when I was at Ohio State.  Things will be a lot different in 10 or 15 years!

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How
The agricultural education core gave me a broad base of agricultural knowledge  – entomology, botany, animal science, agricultural economics, agricultural engineering, computer programming, public speaking and lesson planning, anticipating learner objectives, the need to be well prepared…the list goes on. My time with ACEL helped me learn how to identify needs, research solutions, present them effectively, and teach thousands of others how to apply that knowledge for economic advantage in their own lives and businesses.

Brugler receives the 2011 CFAES Distinguished Alumni Award from Dean Bobby Moser.

Brugler teaches a Rick Steves Tour Group about rapeseed cultivation on Aeroe Island in Denmark.




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: Holly Downing Stacy ’86

Holly Downing Stacy is a 1986 graduate in agricultural communication. She has held a variety of positions in the agricultural and communication industries and currently serves the residents of Seneca County, Ohio as a county commissioner. Holly resides on her family farm in Old Fort, Ohio with her husband Doug (’86). The Buckeye spirit runs in their family, as both of their children, Dean ’13 and Diana ’14, graduated with degrees in agriculture from Ohio State.

[ACEL]: Hi Holly! What attracted you to the agricultural communication major?
[Stacy]: I enjoyed the many aspects of what communications was about and specifically wanted to work in the agricultural industry.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
From the first football game I attended in high school, to the friends I knew in the agricultural college, and given my preferred area of study (agriculture), where else would I go?!

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
Thanks to my education, I had internships that solidified my career choice. My formal education and my internships all strongly influenced my first career choice in agricultural communication.  From there, the added career experience allowed my career path to broaden.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
I really enjoyed the hands on classes, such as the agricultural communication course that had us producing the AgriNaturalist, which was a magazine about the college. I guess, all the classes specific in my major were my favorites!

Did a specific faculty member have an impact on your education?
Dr. Kirby Barrick was my advisor and he was always helpful. If I was struggling with what to take or drop, or questioned an internship opportunity, he always had sound advice.

Outside of the classroom, what activities what were you involved in?
I was a member of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT), Agricultural Education Society, Sigma Alpha Sorority and was an Alpha Gamma Sigma Little Sister. I also worked in the Norton-Scott Office and the CFAES Dean’s office.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
The life long friends I made, and all the things we did together, from studying to campus activities.

After you graduated from Ohio State, what was your first job?
I was an agricultural broadcaster for the Indiana Agri-Business Network in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Over your career, what positions have you held?

  • Indiana Agri-Business Network (now the Agri-America Network)
    WFIN/WHMQ Radio, Findlay, Ohio
  • Ohio State University Extension, 4-H Educator, Sandusky County
  • Ohio State University Extension, Director of Communications, Agricultural Business Enhancement Center, NW Ohio
  • Ohio Department of Transportation, Public Information Officer, District 2, Bowling Green, Ohio
  • Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Director of Communications, Toledo, Ohio
  • HNTB, Architects/Engineering Firm,  Senior Public Involvement leader, Toledo Office, Maumee River Crossing Project
  • Sandusky County Chamber of Commerce, President/CEO
  • Seneca County Commissioner (2013 – present)

In what ways have you stayed active in your community and have you recieved any awards for your work?
I have been very active in the community over the years and belong to Tiffin Rotary, Ohio Farm Bureau, Grace Community Church, Old Fort Lions Club, Ohio State University Alumni Association, Ohio FFA Alumni Association, Sigma Alpha National Alumni Association, Tiffin Area Walk to End Alzheimer’s Committee (Chairman). I am a former 4-H Advisor and Seneca Co Jr Fair Swine Committee member.  I did receive a Volunteer of the Year Award from the Seneca County Jr. Fair for the committee work, as well as Honorary State FFA Degree and am an Old Fort FFA Honorary Member.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I would have to say my career highlight is the continuation of networking that occurs.  As I built my career experience, new opportunities came my way.  I have found that with each career change I made I still am drawing on the experiences from the previous positions and utilizing the networks that I have that extend back to my college days.  So, it’s not a specific project or outcome that I worked on as much as it is simply the satisfaction that I am still growing, learning and contributing to what ever the current situation or task is at hand.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Build your network and stay connected with those individuals. Gain valuable career experience through internships and part-time jobs . . . as you never know when that experience really will come in handy.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
Enjoy what you do and do what you enjoy.  You have to have a passion for what you do, then it never feels like work! The classes, activities, career advise, exposure to many aspects of the agricultural industry; this all helped me to gain the knowledge and experience I needed in the area of communications. Then, through various positions, I was able to find my passion in what I was doing.




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.