Dr. Annie Specht graduated in 2008 with her bachelors degree in agricultural communication. She went onto complete a master’s degree in agricultural and extension education, while working as a graduate teaching assistant, in 2010. Specht is now an assistant professor of agricultural communication in the our department
[ACEL]: Hello Dr. Specht! Why did you choose to major in agricultural communication?
[Specht]: As a kid, I’d always loved words, and I dreamed of being a writer or journalist. I was editor of my high school magazine and discovered a passion for feature writing and graphic design. At the same time, I was helping my parents on our small dairy farm, taking part in 4-H, and traveling around the country on the Ohio 4-H dairy judging team. I wanted to find a college major that combined my interest in writing and design with my background in agriculture, and I found it in the agricultural communication program at Ohio State!
Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Though my parents will tell you otherwise, I really didn’t have a choice of where to go to college. The Ohio State University is a family tradition: I’m a fourth-generation OSU graduate on my mother’s side, and a third-generation Buckeye on my father’s. My parents met in the dairy science program. My sister and brother both have degrees from Ohio State. I grew up going to football games at the ‘Shoe. By the time my older sister was a student, I knew exactly where I wanted to go to school.
How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My undergraduate education helped me learn a lot about what I wanted to do professionally. My news writing classes taught me that I was never meant to be a hard-news reporter, and my design classes taught me that graphic design was both a potential career path and a creative outlet I enjoyed. I was an Honors student, so I had to complete a research project, which led to my interest in research and, eventually, graduate school at Ohio State and Texas A&M University.
What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was a member of Buckeye Dairy Club, Student-Alumni Council, the Ohio State Makio yearbook staff, and Ohio State University Ambassadors. I competed as a member of the Ohio State Dairy Judging Team. I was also linked into the 101st class of Sphinx Senior Class Honorary and studied abroad through the English department.
What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
My favorite classes were always the design courses, or other classes where I got to flex my creative muscles. The AGRCOMM capstone, the AgriNaturalist course, was probably my very favorite, because you got to create something from scratch and see and hold the finished product at the end.
What professor had an impact on your education?
Dr. Emily Buck joined the ACEL faculty during my junior year of college, and she was assigned as my Honors research advisor. She encouraged me to continue my education – I completed a master of science degree at Ohio State with Dr. Buck as my advisor – and to eventually join the academic profession. We now work together in the AGRCOMM program, and she has been a continual support and source of inspiration in my career in higher education.
What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
I stuck around for an extra two years of graduate school, so it’s hard to choose among six years’ worth of memories! I’d have to say my favorite memory was Linking Day for Sphinx. My sister was in Columbus to defend her graduate thesis, and she took me out for coffee that Friday morning before I reported for a campus tour. I was ambushed by a group of students in caps and gowns, who read a list of my accomplishments in Starbucks while my sister laughed at me. My linking year was also the centennial year for Sphinx, so my class was treated to a black-tie celebration attended by tried Links and campus luminaries. It was an amazing weekend!
What was your first job following your education at Ohio State and what other positions have you held throughout your career??
After I graduated with my B.S. and B.A. from Ohio State, I enrolled as a Master’s program in ACEL and worked as a graduate teaching assistant. I taught recitations for what is now AGRCOMM 2367.
After leaving Ohio State, I completed a Ph.D. program at Texas A&M University, where I was a graduate teaching and research assistant. I taught and TA’d courses from graphic design and feature writing to public relations and television production. I then worked for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as an assistant professor, where I taught courses in public speaking and PR, before returning to Ohio State. Now I teach several of our print production courses, including the AGRCOMM capstone; advise undergraduate and graduate students; and serve as the undergraduate program coordinator for our major.
As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
The highlight of my teaching career came in my second year at Ohio State, when one of our graduating seniors invited me to the CFAES Recognition Banquet as her mentor. My favorite part of my job is helping students achieve their dreams, and being recognized as someone who helped do just that meant the world to me.
What advice would you give to a current student?
My advice to current students is to try something that makes you a little bit afraid. If you’ve never traveled before, study abroad. Take (a few!) classes that don’t have anything to do with your major, just to learn something new. Join a campus organization that doesn’t cater specifically to CFAES students. College is one of the few times in life that we get to test ourselves in a safe environment, and I think students should take advantage of the opportunities Ohio State offers.
What did ACEL cultivate in you?
ACEL cultivated in me a passion for teaching and research, two things I never anticipated doing as a career.