[ACEL]: Hi Allison! Why did you select agriculture and extension education as your major?
[Cooper]: I selected a major in Agriculture and Extension Education because extension was a huge part of my life growing up in 4-H and I wanted to give back to my home community in the same ways that molded me into the person I am. I personally feel that 4-H is an amazing program that has so much to offer ANY youth. From livestock to STEM, the opportunities are endless and so many life skills can be gained through hands on learning experiences.
Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I actually started my schooling at another university and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. After some soul searching and realistic planning, I found that The Ohio State University offered a degree in Extension Education and it was all scarlet and gray from there. After graduating with my bachelors, I jumped right back into being a Buckeye to finish my Master of Science.
How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
Being a student at The Ohio State University allowed me to participate in early field experiences and even an internship that only reinforced my decision to become a 4-H Educator.
What were you involved in as an Ohio State student (student organizations, honoraries, campus jobs, Greek life, etc.):
By the time I transferred to Ohio State, I was a Junior so entering into student organizations was a little intimidating as most students had been involved since freshman. However I was welcomed with open arms to a few of the campus student organization groups and really enjoyed getting to meet so many people; some of whom I still keep in contact with today.
What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? What was your favorite and why?
My favorite class while attending The Ohio State University would have been AEE 530.01: Methods of Teaching; Non-Formal with Dr. Susie Whittington. Although this class was geared more toward the classroom education for future Agriculture teachers, it really helped me develop my way of creating a non-formal lesson plan that could be applied to a variety of education environments. The class really made you think into the beyond of what was happening and instead focus on all that could happen and how the educator could prepare. I still use Dr. Whittington’s lesson plan model, although slightly adapted, for my 4-H camp counselors when they plan their teaching activities for our county 4-H Camp.
What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career? How?
I truly think all of my professors in the College of Ag impacted me in some way and gave me the confidence to keep going down the path to extension. Even now, I still see some of them occasionally who still remember me, ask me about my job, and how my life is going. I know I never would have made it through, especially in graduate school, without their support, encouragement, and understanding. I apologize as I’m sure I’ll miss a few, but a huge thank you goes out to Dr. Graham Cochran, Dr. Jeff King, Dr. Scott Scheer, Jerry Thomas, and Dr. Susie Whittington for helping me get where I am today!
What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
One of my favorite memories from my time at Ohio State was attending my first football game in the shoe. My best friend Kelly and I were all dressed up and ready to be a part of the student section. The thrill and excitement was just overwhelming and the atmosphere is something that you have to be part of to truly understand. I’ve been back to many games since but I often find myself wanting to be a part of the student section again and feel that sense of pride to be a Buckeye student. Go Bucks!
What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
After graduating with my bachelors, I received a job as a teller at one of our local financial institutions. It really was a wonderful job that allowed me to continue my studies. The staff at Peoples Saving and Loan really encouraged me to finish my school work and was always willing to work with me as I completed my degree and worked towards a new job.
For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
Once I received my Masters degree, I was hired as the 4-H Youth Development Extension Educator in Crawford County. I have been in that position for almost three years now and I’m excited for many more great years ahead.
What advice would you give to a current student?
My advice to any college student would be to appreciate your time in school and get as much as you can out of every experience. It may not seem like it but the people you meet in college can be a big part of your life in the future. Even now I see fellow classmates, student organization members, my old roomates, and other people from OSU in my line of work and it’s great to already have a networking connection with them. The real world starts all to soon after college and as students we are so busy looking forward that we sometimes forget to take in the here and now. Get involved. Met new friends. Make memories that will last a lifetime.