Industry in the News


STEM Programs Appear in Schools

Agriculture Center Assists Farmers, Others


4 Tips to Telling Your Farm’s Story

Women in Ag Conference Returns


Knipp Farms preserving history and farmland as an Ohio Century Farm

Hunger in the Delta


Young Ag Professionals recognized

Williams Working Toward Future Ag Career


NAFTA Talks Have Ohio Valley Pork Producers Nervous

Hurricane Maria Wiped Away Around 80% of Puerto Rico’s Agricultural Industry

Alumni Spotlight: Katy Wuthrick Mumaw, ’07

Katy Wuthrick Mumaw graduated from Ohio State with a degree in agricultural communication in 2007. After eight years with the National FFA Organization, Katy now works as a reporter for Farm and Dairy in Northeastern Ohio.

[ACEL]: Hello Katy! You majored in agricultural communication. Why did you select that major?
I was always interested in pursuing a career in agriculture, but my strengths in high school were in social sciences and English. When I discovered a degree that combined my passion with my skills I was hooked.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Going to Ohio State was always a dream of mine, as my parents are both alumni. I chose Ohio State because of the reputation and caring staff.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My education opened my eyes to all the possibilities in agricultural communications Because of my education, I continue to share the story of agriculture.

How were you involved outside of the classroom?
I was involved in the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Saddle and Sirloin Club and Sigma Alpha. I also worked in the Ohio State Extension Business Office.

Did you have a faculty or staff member that was influential to your time at Ohio State?
Dr. Mark Tucker showed me the power of inclusion. He ensured each member of the class was valued for what they brought to the table. Kelly Newlon opened my eyes to different cultures and concepts. I traveled to the Czech Republic with her and several other students during my time at Ohio State and I am still amazed at what I learned and the growth I experienced while abroad.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
I have so many wonderful memories. One that sticks out is serving food at the Farm Science Review with Saddle and Sirloin — it was hot, it was fun and inside jokes kept us smiling.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I worked as an education specialist for the National FFA Organization.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My involvement in the development, launch and marketing of the National FFA Organization’s website in 2015.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Never stop learning and care deeply. Care about other people, care about your work, care about your influence on others.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated a passion in me to ask questions. ACEL instilled in me the value of diversity of thought and the power of a 360 perspective.

CFAES Top Ten Seniors in 2007

At an Ohio State game my senior year – 2006.

O-H-I-O with coworkers.

Czech Republic study abroad in 2005.

Alumni Spotlight: Jane Schmucker, ’89

Jane Schmucker graduated with a degree in agricultural communication in 1989. She currently farms and had a 28-year career as an Ohio newspaper reporter and copy editor.

[ACEL]: Hi Jane!! Why did you select your major?
[Schmucker]: I remember my sixth-grade self sprawled crosswise in a living room armchair, working on my entry for the Young Authors’ Conference that was to be held at the College of Wooster. My grandpa walked by and asked if I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I replied no, that they don’t make any money.

Indeed, communications jobs in general tend to pay far less than many fields. However, they can be the most interesting work of all. I credit Ohio State with helping me get started in a nearly 28-year newspaper career that kept me in the black while allowing me to get so many views of daily life in Ohio that I never would have seen otherwise. And I got to write about those events for Ohio newspapers as one of the state’s many reporters and editors working daily to compile a first draft of our state’s history.

As a newspaper reporter, I have been to crime scenes and society parties, farms and factories, the smallest of village council meetings and presidential press conferences. At entertainment events where almost everyone in the hall had taken off work and bought an admission ticket, I was getting paid to not only be there but often to get some behind-the-scenes access that the rest of the crowd didn’t have.

As a copy editor, I often felt lucky to have a job that on a good day was essentially being paid to read the newspaper. And on the hottest July days when I was headed to an air-conditioned newsroom to read while the folks at home were throwing around small bales of straw in a hot mow, copy editing seemed like the cat’s meow.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I transferred to Ohio State as a sophomore after a year and a half at Goshen College in northern Indiana. Goshen was a small, church-affiliated school that was a family tradition. Ohio State offered far more opportunities and was a much better fit for me – as well as being far less costly. It seemed almost like an extension of 4-H and FFA, both of which I loved.

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

Ohio State encouraged internships and I had several public relations internships as a student there:

  • AGRICULTURAL RELATIONS COUNCIL, Washington, D.C., industry group intern, 1989.
  • WHITE CASTLE, Columbus, Ohio, public relations intern in corporate headquarters, 1988.
  • OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY EXTENSION, Columbus, Ohio, news service intern, 1988.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?

  • Reporter, copy editor, and a layout editor for the Lantern
  • Reporter for the Agri-Naturalist
  • Towers honorary
  • Secretary of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Student Council
  • Co-chair of the annual Agriculture and Natural Resources recognition banquet
  • Attended national conventions of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow
  • Representative of the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Student Council

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
Journalism classes, especially the reporting classes and classes related to work on the Lantern.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career? How?
In the summer of 1988, after only two quarters at Ohio State as an agricultural communication major, Ohio State University Extension allowed me to work as an unpaid writing intern. My experiences there were a huge help to me in deciding that this was what I wanted to do. Credit for helping a very young and totally inexperienced college student write news releases that actually got published in Ohio newspapers, goes to Stan Ernst, a longtime Ohio State extension worker who is to be inducted this fall into the Farm Science Review Hall of Fame. He and the others in the extension communications department did so much to help teach me even though they were in the midst of one of their busiest summers ever – 1988 was the year of the drought, which led to many media calls and extra work for them.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My first quarter at Ohio State was Winter 1988. I went to Ohio State with the idea that this would just be a trial quarter and I could return to Goshen College that spring and not be out of sequence in the nursing program that I was studying there. When I signed up for classes, I wanted to make sure that I’d get as complete a view as I could of both Ohio State and agricultural communication in that first quarter. The agricultural communication department allowed me to sign up for the Agri-Naturalist course, a 400-level course as I recall, even though I had not yet even had Journalism 101. The feature story that I wrote that winter – my first feature story ever – was chosen as the centerpiece of that quarter’s Agri-Naturalist. I was hooked!

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
Education and agriculture reporter at the Chillicothe Gazette, in Chillicothe, Ohio.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?

  • THE BLADE, Toledo, Ohio, 1995-2017. Left in late July to work on my family’s farm after years as a copy editor on the universal desk. Over the years, a reporter covering at various times business, agriculture, regional news, breaking news.
  • THE VINDICATOR, Youngstown, Ohio, 1994-1995. Business reporter.
  • USA TODAY, Arlington, Va., 1994. Rewrite desk reporter through Gannett’s loaner program.
  • CHILLICOTHE GAZETTE, Chillicothe, Ohio. 1989-1994. Education, agriculture reporter.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those?
Top writing awards from the North American Agricultural Journalists, Ohio Associated Press, Gannett, and Ohio Newspaper Women’s Association contests. Judge of NAAJ contests.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I’ve always been thrilled to hear that someone learned about something that was useful to them from an article that I wrote.

I remember covering the Little International for the Lantern on and asking one of the horse showmanship contestants why he had entered the competition. He said he was not an agriculture major and had never done anything like that before but he had read about it in the Lantern and thought it sounded fun. I had written that preview story that he had read some weeks earlier when the Saddle and Sirloin Club had announced plans for that year’s Little I!

Many years later I wrote an article for The Blade about the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which provides low-income seniors with vouchers for locally grown produce. The program was fairly new at the time and back then newspapers seldom printed phone numbers in articles of that type. When I arrived in the newsroom the next morning, my voice mail was completely full and every telephone on the regional desk was ringing – all with callers wanting the phone number for the office where they might sign up for this program. I probably answered 100 calls myself that day and my co-workers answered dozens and dozens more. The newspaper never printed another article about that program without prominently featuring phone numbers for the coordinating offices. On one hand, it was a complete failure of newspaper style to not have printed detailed signup information with that story. On the other hand, it was gratifying to see that so many people were reading what I wrote and learning about something that they had never heard of before that could make a difference in their lives.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Get as many professional internships as you can. Make use of every summer, Christmas break, and spring break by taking on internships in your chosen field – even if they are short or unpaid.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
The College of Agriculture encouraged students to get paid internships and awarded college credit for them. If the final report was turned in during the fall quarter, professors counted it as a fall internship so the student didn’t need to pay for summer credit hours – even if most of the internship was during the summer. I really appreciated those accommodations and thought professors in the College of Agriculture had a very realistic view of the costs and time pressures that students were up against. Many of them had come from farms themselves. The School of Journalism was not nearly as accommodating – only wanting to award credit for internships that were unpaid as I recall. I was glad to be a College of Agriculture student.


At the Alpha Zeta Spring Formal in 1988 with date Tim Eppley.


Chillicothe Gazette, home of Jane’s first job after graduation from Ohio State.


Chillicothe Gazette staff in the early 1990’s.


Home of Jane’s current position, the Toledo Blade offices.

The Toledo Blade staff in 2016.



I covered the Farm Science Review some years for The Blade and for the Chillicothe Gazette. As a student at Ohio State, I worked in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Student Council trailer selling coffee and doughnuts and such. I attended the review with the Smithville FFA and before that with my parents.

Remember that Alpha Zeta spring formal picture from 1988? What happens at Ohio State doesn’t always stay at Ohio State. We both thought we escaped free and clear, but in 2013 — 25 years after that college date party — we got locked up for life, err married.

Alumni Spotlight: Gary Bauer, ’73

Gary W. Bauer graduate from Ohio State in 1973 with a master’s degree in agricultural education. He is a retired Ohio State extension educator, a position which he held for 23 years and also spent 15 years teaching agricultural education. He also served as a Huron County Commissioner for 12 years. Bauer now is currently engaged in his family’s Christmas tree farm in Norwalk, Ohio.

Why did you select your major?
An animal science major seemed a good fit having grown up in a rural area and having worked on my grandparent’s general livestock and crops farm. Agriculture education provided an opportunity to stay in touch with my rural roots without a production enterprise and allowed me to impact youth in a positive way.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University? 
A spring field trip as an eighth grader to the Ohio Historical Museum which was located at 15thand High left a lasting impression of the long walk to the library imbedded in my memory.  Hopalong Cassidy helped with the decision, too.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path? 
Once in the agriculture education curriculum, it determined my career in education and since I was not bound by paradigms that limited programs to male participants and production agriculture I could develop a broad teaching curriculum which could include female students and such revolutionary concepts as teaching horticulture.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I participated in University 4-H, intramural softball, and served as Smith Hall dormitory treasurer for two years.  I also attended a great variety of sporting events.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
Some of my favorites included criminology with Dr. Dinitz; animal science with Dr. Tyznek; meat lab with Dr. Cahill; and swine production with Dr. Wilson. Criminology was one favorite because there was so much interesting material to learn.  Dr. Warmbrod taught me a lot about research methods.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education? 
Dr. Bender pushed me hard to obtain my Master’s Degree; Dr. Wolfe helped me secure my first teaching job; and Dr. Boucher was very influential in providing ideas and thoughts to expand my teaching experience.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State? 
My favorite memory is being locked inside Ohio Stadium with the person who later became my wife.  This happened during May Day activities in 1964.  It is a story best told in person.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State? 
My first job was teaching agriculture science at Sunbury Big Walnut High School in Sunbury, Ohio.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career? I have taught in the Big Walnut Local School System, Monroeville Local School System, Ohio State University Extension with associate professor status, and for Huron County as a county commissioner.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors?
Yes there have been awards and honors: NVATA Outstanding Young Teacher; Advisor to the Top FFA Chapter in Ohio 9 of 11 years (1967–77); Advisor to the National Winner BOAC Chapter Award; Honorary State FFA Degree; Honorary American FFA Degree; NACAA Achievement Award; Citizen of the Year presented by the Sandusky Register; 45 year 4-H Advisor; Regional Public Relations Chairman NACAA; State Public Relations Chairman OACAA. I have also had the opportunity to serve on the Bowling Green State University Firelands College Advisory Board, as a member and as president served ex officio status on the BGSU Board of Trustees. I have also served and am serving on numerous community oriented boards and committees.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?  
A favorite career highlight has been seeing students, 4-H members, and other young people with whom I have worked set goals, work diligently and achieve those goals. I have had numerous state and national FFA degree recipients plus state and national finalists and winners in a variety of areas.

What advice would you give to a current student? 
My advice would be to set your goals and get to work.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?  
The professors previously listed cultivated the ideas, methods, and information I needed to become an agriculture science teacher who stepped into the classroom with the confidence to not only  teach students but to help them become productive, successful citizens with leadership skills and knowledge to succeed in their chosen career paths.

Alumni Spotlight: Sabrina Stalder, ’04

Sabrina Stalder graduated in 2004 with a degree in agricultural education. Following graduation, she returned to her hometown of Athens, Ohio and worked with the Athens City School District to create an agricultural education program, which she still leads today!

[ACEL]: Hi Sabrina!Why did you select your major?
[Stalder]: I selected agricultural education after a local high school agriculture teacher kept encouraging me to join the profession.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
When I applied to college I knew I wanted to go into agriculture and since there were only two schools in the state that offered it, my options were limited. Ultimately I chose The Ohio State University because it was a state school and it had a great reputation.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My education at Ohio State gave me much of the knowledge and skills that I would need to go out and begin a career in agriculture education.

How were you involved as a student?
I was a member of Alpha Sigma Upsilon, Agricultural Education Society, where I was selected to co-chair Scarlet and Gray Ag Day, Collegiate 4-H and worked for Curriculum Materials Services.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
My favorite classes included: rural sociology, one of which we studied Amish culture, the agricultural education “BLOCK”, and building structures and construction in agriculture. It’s hard to pick a favorite from that list because I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a vast amount in each of these classes.

Did you have a professor who was especially important to you as a student?
Dr. Jamie Cano had a huge impact on my education and my career because he was the first Ohio State professor I met, which was during our county fair a couple weeks before I began as freshman. When I arrived at Ohio State, I realized that Dr. Cano was also my academic advisor. When it came time to pick a location to do my student teaching, I was worried because I had never been in agriculture classes in high school because our school didn’t offer them. Dr. Cano helped me select a newer chapter that would help me gain knowledge about the agriculture and FFA programs, as well as give me background knowledge about how they started a new program.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
The friendships I made and continue to have because of my time at Ohio State. I also loved hearing the Orton Hall chimes as I walked across The Oval. Those chimes remind me of all the great memories I have at OSU!

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
After graduation I moved back to Athens County, where I worked with the principal, superintendent, school board and several community members in order to start an agriculture education program at Athens High School, my alma mater.

Tell us about any awards you’ve received during your career.
I was the 2009 Athens Soil and Water Conservation District Conservation Educator of the Year.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
There are two! One was the very first box of FFA jackets we received and the look on my students’ faces when they first put them on. To be honest, I was a little envious. The second one was when we had our tenth annual FFA Banquet and seeing how far our chapter had come in ten years and how many student lives have been impacted by our program.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Enjoy every moment of being a student at The Ohio State University.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
The ACEL faculty and staff helped me acquire not only the knowledge and skills that I needed to leave college and start a career, but also the confidence that I could do something I had never done before. I also knew those same faculty and staff would support me throughout my career.

Scarlet and Gray Ag Day

Alpha Sigma Upsilon Banquet


Collegiate 4-H Banquet


CFAES Outstanding Senior Recognition Event


2004 CFAES Recognition Banquet

Alumni Spotlight: Katherine Terrell Dickson, ’15

Katherine Terrell Dickson graduated from Ohio State in 2015 with a degree in agriscience education. She is employed as the agriscience educator for middle and high school students for Gallipolis City Schools.

[ACEL]: Hello Katherine! Why did you select to major in agriscience education?
[Dickson]: I knew in high school that I wanted to be an agriculture science teacher. My agriculture science teacher made learning fun! It just wasn’t a pen and pencil type class, and I wanted to provide those experiences to students to discover the world around them, by learning by doing.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I chose Ohio State because of the attention to detail when I took my visit. The faculty made me feel welcome and already part of the Buckeye family.

How were you involved outside of the classroom?
During my time at Ohio State, I was a member of Agricultural Education Society and worked in the ACEL office.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
The classes that I enjoyed most during my time at Ohio State were the ones where we were doing something with our hands! I took a greenhouse management class, and got to experience plants throughout different climate regions. I also enjoyed teaching methods with Dr. Susie Whittington. Dr. Whittington taught the class in a way where we didn’t even realize we were learning and implementing ways that we would soon be teaching to our future students.

Do you have a faculty member, or two, that were made an impact on your time at Ohio State?
There were many professors that had an impact on me during and post Ohio State. The two that stand out the most are Dr. Susie Whittington and Dr. Jamie Cano. They both made it possible to experience the real teaching career while still at Ohio State and took special interest in helping everyone succeed. From studying abroad with Dr. Cano and developing communities in Honduras, and connecting with local FFA members at the Farm Science Review with Dr. Whittington, no one else can parallel .

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My favorite Ohio State memory would be the entire BLOCK experience. There is nothing more memorable than making memories of all kinds and having life long friends with the people you spend a whole semester with day in and day out. We still continue making memories through our personal and professional lives.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I began working for Gallipolis City Schools as an agriscience educator in 2015.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight is the formation of our middle school agriculture program. Exposing youth to agriculture sooner is a win! The students get to experience the FFA side, as well as develop skilled provided in and out of the class that set them apart from the rest of their peers.

What advice would you give to a current student?
My best advice for all agriscience education majors: There is a method to the madness. Trust it, it works!

And finally, what did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated ambition in me! THE ambition to to try new things, and not be afraid of the outcome and the ambition to get out of the comfort zone.

Ms. Terrell with two of her Gallipolis FFA members.


Harvesting at the Ohio State Farm Science Review as part of her ASM course for agriscience education students.


With Mr. Birkhimer as first year teachers at National FFA Convention.


Working at the Gallia County Junior Fair.

With classmates and Honduran friends during the 2014 study abroad trip to Choluteca, Honduras, Central America.

Working a shift in the Agricultural Education Society food stand at Farm Science Review.


OHIO with classmates turned colleagues and friends.

Alumni Spotlight: Dave Stiles, ’78, ’83 MS

David Stiles is a two-time graduate of Ohio State in agricultural education, receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1978 and returning for his master’s degree in 1983. His early career took him to a variety of positions, but he has been teaching agricultural education at Indian Valley High School since 1986 and he has been serving as an adjunct professor in agribusiness at Kent State University – Tuscarawas since 2016.


[ACEL]: Hi Dave! Tell us why you selected to major in agricultural education at Ohio State.
I decided when I was a sophomore in high school that I either wanted to become a “Vo-Ag” teacher or a 4-H Extension agent.  I had always enjoyed working with other kids and an “ag ed” degree would enable me to fulfill that.

At that time, attending Ohio State was the only option unless you went out of state, and I could start out at the Lima campus and live at home my first two years.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
Essentially solidified it.  During my freshman year, my father had the opportunity to expand the farming operation to include me into the operation full-time, but we decided that I would possibly be better off finishing college first. Wise choice (especially on my father’s foresight) as had we expanded at that time we most likely would have lost the entire farming operation during the agricultural recession in the 1980’s.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student outside of the classroom:
Agricultural Education Society my junior and senior years, OSU Lima Men’s Choral my freshman and sophomore years. I also worked at Kroger’s on 12th Avenue in Columbus during my junior and senior years – it was an eye-opening experience for an old “farm boy”.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why? 
It would be easier to list which classes I enjoyed the least: any math class (I only reached Math 116!) and livestock Anatomy which was supposed to be an elective for “non-vet” majors, but I think I was the only “non-vet” student in the class!

Favorite classes would have to have been Agricultural Education 330 (teaching methods with “LH”), Agricultural Economics 310, Welding with Dr. Gleem and Papriton, and most of the other agricultural education and agricultural economics classes that I took.

Share with us a faculty or staff member that had an impact on your time at Ohio State.
Number one would have to be Dr. John Starling.  Dr. Starling served as my state supervisor when I started teaching, in addition to teaching the record keeping/accounting (FBPA) course at Ohio State.  When I left teaching (the first time), Dr. Starling was persistent in seeing that I returned to teaching, as that “was what I should be doing” in his words. Others that have had a major influence in my teaching career include: Dr. Kirby Barrick, Dr. LH Newcomb, and, Dr. Joe Gleem.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
The “Auglaize County Home for Wayward Boys”, a large 9-bedroom house on 19th street that held numerous “social events” throughout the years.  Picture Animal House. Enough said.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
Teaching “production agriculture” at St. Marys Memorial High School.

Share with us other places you have worked throughout your career.
1978-1982: Vo-Ag teacher at St. Marys Memorial; 1982-83:  Agricultural Techniques of Tomorrow (Farm Management Consultant.) 1983-1984:  FBPA Instructor at Penta County Adult Education.  1984-1986; Commodities Broker, Office Manager for FGL Commodities, Fairmont Indiana; 1986 – present:  Agricultural Education Teacher at Indian Valley High School, Gnadenhutten.  2016-present:  Agribusiness Adjunct Professor at Kent State University-Tuscarawas.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors?
Honorary American FFA Degree, National FFA Association, 2016
Outstanding Educators Award, 2012, Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau Association
Ohio Outstanding Teacher in Agricultural Education, 2009, Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators
Honorary State FFA Degree, 2009, Ohio FFA Association
Region I (National Finalist) Outstanding Teacher in Community Service, 2006, Association for Career and Technical Education
Ohio Outstanding Teacher in Community Service, 2006, Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education
Outstanding Program in Agricultural Education, 2000, Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators
National Models of Innovation Finalist – Chapter Development, 2001, National FFA Organization
Ohio Pacesetter Award, 1998, 2000, 2006, Ohio Association for Career and Technical Education
Outstanding Educator Award, 1998, Tuscarawas County Chamber of Commerce
National Finalist:  Models of Innovation – Student Development, 1997, 1998, National FFA Organization
National Winner:  Models of Innovation – Student Development, 1997, National FFA Organization
Outstanding Program in Agricultural Education, District 8, 1994, Ohio Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association
AgriScience Teacher of the Year Finalist, 1992, Ohio Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association
Outstanding Young Teacher, 1982, Ohio Vocational Agricultural Teachers Association

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
Teacher chaperone for the National FFA International Experience Award Winners. I was able to visit and experience the agriculture of Ireland, summer 2017.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Find your passion and stick with it, but don’t be afraid to try other things. It is better to have tried something else and discover it wasn’t your best fit, than to go through life wondering “what if”.  For an agriscience education student starting out: When it is all said and done, the only thing that will matter to your students is not how much you knew, but that they knew you cared.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
Reinforced social skills, confidence, and a positive attitude.


Mr. David Stiles receives the Honorary American FFA Degree at the 2016 National FFA Convention from Sydney Snider, Eastern Region Vice President and Ohio State agricultural communication student.



Alumni Spotlight: Benjamin Donaker ’07


Ben Donaker graduated from Ohio State with a degree in agricultural communication in 2007. Since graduating 10 years ago, he has worked for Nestle USA in a variety of sales roles, with honors at all levels. He is currently an area business coordinator covering multiple states.

[ACEL]:Why did you select agricultural communication as your major?
I chose agricultural communications because I wanted to bridge the gap between science and application of that science. To help those that needed help understanding how efficient their operation could be regardless of size and how new technologies could be utilized from family farms to mega farms.

What influenced your decision to chose Ohio State for your education?
In high school a FFA state president gave a speech to our FFA seniors and she was enrolling into OSU in agricultural communication. Her speech was centered on new technologies being developed and how she wanted to help get that information to the farmer.

Did your education at Ohio State expose you to opportunities in your career path?
My education prepared me for go-to-market business concepts. Exposure to top notch professors and key leaders throughout central Ohio helped guide my career to a sustainable career development path with the largest food company in the world.

How were you involved outside of the classroom while a student?
While attending OSU I was a member of Alpha Gamma Sigma fraternity. I was employed as a driver then supervisor for the Campus Area Bus System (CABS).  I was also an active member of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT).

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
The best class that I ever attended was agricultural communication 596. This was a public speaking course that was tailored to all students in CFAES. It was a developmental course designed to improve public speaking and speaking on a topic to your peers.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career? How?
I had the privilege of being a student to Mr. Thomas Stewart. Stewart had and still has an impact on my professional development. Stewart showed the students real-life experience tactics and techniques needed outside of the collegiate surroundings. He would take time to speak or listen to any and all students with whatever issues or thoughts they had. He was, and I am sure still is, a great leader of students and great steward for The Ohio State University.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My most memorable moment at Ohio State was my first walk for our apartment to The Shoe. My first OSU football game is something I will never forget. The amount of people congregating towards the stadium was an “aww” moment. The pageantry and rich traditions that flow before, during and after the game is like none other.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
After graduating from OSU, I accepted a position with Kraft Foods as a relief sales representative for the frozen foods direct store delivery model.

Where has your career taken you since that first job?
I have been employed with the same division since I graduated. My department was sold to Nestle USA and I continued working as a relief sales representative until I was promoted to sales representative with my own territory in Southern Ohio. In 2015 I was promoted again to my current role as area business coordinator over multiple states.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? If so, what are those?
With Kraft Foods, I received multiple top honors for highest performing sales representative from 2009 to 2011 at the area, regional and national levels. Those top honors included sales growth year over year, exceeding safety targets and team leadership awards. I have also received awards and special recognition for safety and compliance on a regional level as a coordinator.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
Throughout my career I have been blessed to work for companies that strive to give back to the community. I have participated in many volunteer activities throughout Ohio including coordinating actives with the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, The First Tee, A Kid Again, and The Greater Cleveland Food Bank. We have donated countless hours of volunteer labor to prepare meals for children as well as ice cream to certain events in the surrounding areas. We have built bicycles for children and taught them to ride a bike for the first time as well as donating those bikes to the deserving children within those organizations.

What advice would you give to a current student?
My advice to any current student is simple. Be yourself, do you what you love and are passionate about. Surround yourself with smart and successful individuals and maintain those relationships you have during your collegiate career, you will be surprised how many times you might come in contact with them down the road.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
Some of the most impactful and useful tools I took from ACEL are computer systems. Knowing how to use different software design and formatting programs has been a blessing. But the most cultivating for myself would be personal and professional development. ACEL transformed me into a working professional that my peers and team members respect and count on to perform at my best every day.

Alumni Spotlight: Tom Archer, ’70

Tom Archer came to Ohio State to major in agricultural education and has spent his career educating others about agriculture and working with youth. Tom currently works for Ohio State University Extension as the assistant director for 4-H Youth Development.


[ACEL]: Hi Tom! As an Ohio State student, you majored in agricultural education. Why did you chose that major?
[Archer]: I selected agricultural education as a major because I was not sure what I wanted my career to be, and that major provided the opportunity for flexibility in selecting a wide variety courses.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I selected The Ohio State University for two reasons: (1) I had much contact with Extension and 4-H in my formative years, which were closely aligned with OSU, e.g. I was delegate to the Ohio 4-H Congress on campus in the Fall of 1965; and (2) My high school basketball coach was a native of my home county and a recent graduate and enthusiastic supporter of Ohio State.

Where you involved in any student organizations while a student?
I am a member of Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity.  Also, I was a member of the Agricultural Education Society (vice-president my senior year) and a member of Towers Agricultural Honorary (president my senior year).

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
I enjoyed math and the classes that related to educational research. However, probably the most memorable class that I took when I was a senior was a graduate level ruminant nutrition class taught by Dr. Bill Tyznik. The final in Dr. Tyznik’s class was a three hour, group, oral exam in the basement of his house!  Another memorable class was Classics 222 – Greek Mythology. I cannot remember the name of the professor, but he made each class a “story time”, with engaging and entertaining lectures.

Did you have a faculty member or professor who was influential to your time at Ohio State and beyond?
Two professor had an influence on my education. Dr. Leon Boucher was always interested in students and he shared so many practical approaches to teaching.  Also, I greatly admire Dr. Robert Warmbrod. I was in the Honors Program Research/ Evaluation class that Dr. Warmbrod and Dr. Boucher taught, plus at least three other related classes taught by Dr. Warmbrod (one at Iowa State when Dr. Warmbrod was a visiting professor). Dr. Warmbrod was a very effective teacher who explained concepts very well in a quiet and purposeful manner. Other professors that were memorable were Gilbert Guiler, Carlton Johnson and David Jenkins.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Meeting and becoming friends and colleagues with many outstanding people are the best general memories of my time as an undergraduate at Ohio State.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first employment was as a vocational agriculture high school teacher at Olentangy High School in Delaware County.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?

  • Assistant Director, 4-H Youth Development (State 4-H Leader), Ohio State University Extension, September 2008 to present
  • Associate Professor, The Ohio State University, Leader, Program Development & Evaluation, Ohio State University Extension, October 2000 to September 2008
  • Associate Professor and Analyst, Long Range Planning, Ohio Cooperative Extension Service, Interim Appointment March through September, 1987
  • Associate Professor, The Ohio State University, County Extension Agent, Chairman and 4-H, Shelby County, Ohio, July 1985 through September 2000
  • Assistant Professor, The Ohio State University, County Extension Agent, Chairman and 4-H, Shelby County, Ohio,  December 1976 through June 1985
  • Organizational Director – Auglaize-Mercer-Shelby Counties, Ohio, Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, July through November 1976
  • Graduate Research Associate, Iowa State University, July 1974 through May 1976
  • Vocational Agriculture Instructor, Olentangy and Delaware Hayes High Schools, July 1970 through June 1974

What awards and honors have you received during your career?

  • 1990, Excellence in 4-H, Ohio State University Extension
  • 1992, Diamond Anniversary Award, Department of Agricultural Education, The Ohio State University
  • 1999, Past President Award, Board of Directors, Journal of Extension
  • 2001, Ohio County Extension Agents’’ Association, 25 Year Service Award
  • 2004, Epsilon Sigma Phi (ESP) Team Teaching Award: “Focus Group Interviews”
  • 2006, Roberta O’Keefe Award for outstanding service to the organization, Ohio Program Evaluators’ Group (OPEG)
  • 2007, Team Teaching Award – First Place, Multi-Disciplinary Team – 5 or More Members, Epsilon Sigma Phi, Extension Service Honorary
  • 2007, State Extension Achievement Award – Faculty & Staff, Over Ten Years of Service, Ohio Association of Extension Professionals
  • 2016 Fairlawn High School Hall of Honor Inductee
  • 2016 Shelby County 4-H Hall of Fame Inductee

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
The best thing that happens as a result of my career is when a former student who was in my classes or youth who was in one of the 4-H teen leadership groups that I advised contacts me and tells me that I provided them a skill that has helped them succeed in their life endeavors.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Advice that I would give to current college students has five dimensions:

  1. Follow through on commitments – if you say you are going to do something, follow-through and do it
  2. Take advantage of every opportunity afforded to you; do as much as you can when you have the opportunities, in school, in work, and in the community – do not waste time and potential
  3. Positively contribute to improvement where every you can – do not criticize without providing a viable alternative to improve
  4. Give credit where credit is due – do not take credit for someone else’s work
  5. Do not forget to recognize those who help make your life better; you cannot say “thank you” too much

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
Probably the best thing that the Department instilled in me was the basics of the teaching-learning process. My career has been education, and that foundation was necessary.

Alumni Spotlight: Laura Stacklin Ringler, ’07


Laura Stacklin Ringler majored in agricultural education at Ohio State. After graduating in 2007, Ringler attended graduate school at the Virginia Tech University and now serves as the agricultural educator and FFA advisor at Plymouth-Shiloh Local Schools. Read more about her time at Ohio State and her future was cultivated in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership.

[ACEL]: Hey Laura! You’re now an agricultural educator, but what initially made you interested in that career and the agricultural education major?
[Ringler]: My passion for agriculture started a long time ago as a youth raising animals in 4-H followed by a wonderful agricultural education and FFA experience at Seneca East High School with Mr. Bryan Crapo. I was honored to serve as our chapter’s FFA President for two years and was a member of several successful and state placing CDE teams. Without my FFA program I would not have obtained valuable life lessons, along with the many leadership roles that I have had the opportunity to hold. I always knew I wanted to be a teacher and my FFA experiences affirmed that agricultural education was the right path for my future. My love for agriculture has continued to grow and my life continues to be enriched with the science behind it and also the great people working within the industry. At Ohio State I was warmly welcomed into the ag world and the rest is history.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I was the ninth child in my family to attend The Ohio State University. I grew up attending graduations on OSU’s campus and visiting siblings and attending the occasional football game. For me, there was no other choice but Ohio State, but instead a back-up acceptance to another Ohio college just in case I didn’t meet Ohio State’s requirements which were becoming more rigorous by the year.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
I was blessed to have Dr. Susie Whittington as a caring professor and Agricultural Education Society professor. Dr. Whittington’s genuine care and concern and passion for teaching are still with me today. She had confidence in me that I did not have in myself. She pushed me to “think outside of the box” and challenged me to continue my education in graduate school introducing me to colleagues who made an assistantship possible. The training I received at both Ohio State and Virginia tech (with Dr. Whittington sitting on my Masters Committee) prepared me to organize, plan and disseminate a quality agricultural education program.

How did you get involved in student life?
While at The Ohio State University I was active in the Agricultural Education Society, Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority, Alpha Zeta Partner Agricultural Honorary, Towers Agricultural Honorary, Sphinx Senior Honorary, Crops and Soils Club, the Ohio State Soil Judging Team, Poultry Science Club, CFAES Banquet Committee, Scarlet and Gray Ag Day, Intramural Athletics, and served as a statistician for the Ohio State Wrestling team.

What were some of your favorite classes?
I enrolled in 27 credit hours (only three required for graduation and three being graduate level hours) my last quarter at Ohio State. My favorite classes were taken during my last quarter because it was coursework that I was able to choose ranging from courses in agricultural law to agricultural economics, and a leadership course with Richard Hollingsworth, Vice President of Student Affairs. One of my favorite courses was teaching methods with Dr. Whittington as she demonstrated quality teaching methods, something that we didn’t always witness in every college level course.

What professors were influential to you?
There are too many to choose. Susie Whittington, Micki Zartman, Garee Earnest, Trina Beebe, Bob Birkenholz, Jamie Cano, Pat Whittington, David Latshaw, Paul Heimberger, Kelly Newlon, Neil Smeck, Pat Rigby and many more all had positive influences on myself and many other students. However it was Dr. Whittington and Mrs. Zartman that I spent the most time with planning activities and events. Both are positive, strong, loving, hardworking and compassionate women, women that I aspire to emulate in my own community.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
The PEOPLE! From meeting the love of my life and the time we spent together on the Ohio State soil judging team together to traveling to Washington D.C. and Brazil with AZP and making memories with friends through various student organizations while bowling, ice skating, attending football games and playing intramural softball.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
The summer after graduation I interned with Ohio Farm Bureau through the Jack Fisher internship working with Nationwide Insurance agents writing insurance curricula. For the next two years I worked as an assistant to the Virginia FFA Executive Secretary while attending graduate school at Virginia Tech. Upon graduation with my masters eegree, I taught agricultural education for one year at Carey High School and am currently in my eighth year of teaching at Plymouth High School.

You’ve been honored with a number of teaching awards. Can you share those?

  • Ohio Association for Career Technical Education Outstanding New Career and Technical Teacher-2016
  • Richland County Extension County Key Leader Appreciation Recognition-2016
  • Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Young Member-2015
  • Franklin B. Walter Award Student Leader Recognition 2013-Levi Myers, 2014-Amy Grube
  • Honorary Chapter FFA Degree: Oak Harbor-2007, Carey-2011, Plymouth-2014
  • National Association of Agricultural Educators Teacher Turn the Key Ohio Recipient-December 2013
  • Ohio Association of Career and Technical Education Pacesetter Award-2012

As of today, what are some of your favorite career highlights?
Being recognized twice as a Franklin B. Walter teacher of leaders is one of my favorite career highlights. It’s not often that the top student in the school is in ag class and when they are with all of the outstanding staff in my school system it was a honor to be honored in front of my administration and schools from five surrounding counties. One former student, Levi Myers is taking his place in the agricultural education classroom this fall. The other former student, Amy Grube is currently applying to medical schools and just completed an internship at St. Jude’s. Keeping in touch with former students and seeing them achieve their goals, get married and start families of their own is the most bittersweet part of this career.

What advice would you give to a current student?
No one can experience everything Ohio State has to offer, the key is to make the most of what you have the opportunity to experience. Get involved, step out of your comfort zone, try new things and embrace new people. You will be able to meet many wonderful people and gain national and international experiences as you develop valuable skills for your future. Most importantly, you will make friendships that will last a lifetime!

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
On a campus of tens of thousands of students ACEL created a comfortable and caring environment. ACEL department members and staff challenged us to get involved and make a difference by joining student organizations and encouraged academic excellence through rigorous coursework. ACEL helped me to think globally through experience in international agriculture and nationally as we provided clean up efforts after hurricane Katrina and traveled to Washington D.C.

Sigma Alpha family.


Soils Judging Team


Mrs. Ringler’s students receiving State FFA degrees.


CFAES Outstanding Senior

OHIO in Brazil with AZP.

With Dr. Whittington at the annual CFAES Recognition Program.

OAAE Outstanding New Teacher

Ms. Stacklin during her student teaching.