Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Ryan J. Schmiesing ’95, ’98 MS, ’02 PhD

Ryan J. Schmiesing is a three time graduate of our department, completing his BS, MS and PhD degrees in agricultural education in 1995, 1998 and 2002, respectively. Following graduation, he served as an extension agent for 4-H Youth Development in Darke County, Ohio. Schmiesing currently serves as the vice provost for strategic planning and implementation at the Office of Academic Affairs at the Ohio State University.

Why did you chose to major in agricultural education for your undergraduate and graduate degrees?
I found, after some searching, the agricultural education provided me the greatest opportunity to explore my interests and passions.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
The breath of what Ohio State offers provides for so many options; that was especially important for someone who did not know exactly what he wanted to pursue at that time.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
Pursuing a degree in agricultural education with an emphasis in extension education provided me with a strong foundation that I was able to immediately put to work. As I progressed in my undergraduate degree program and then on to my graduate degrees, I knew that I wanted to remain engaged in community and higher education. I have always felt that we have a responsibility, in higher education, to further engage our communities and individuals.

As a student, how were you involved on campus?
I was a member of the Agricultural Education Society; member of Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity where I served as president; member of the Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) where I served as chief justice; and served as chair of the Agricultural Recognition Banquet in 1995.

What class did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
As an undergraduate, I enjoyed methods of teaching agriculture with Dr. Jamie Cano; I think it was the first time that I felt I could really apply what I was learning.  In graduate school, I most enjoyed the research series taught in the department – it was there that I had the great fortune of learning from some of the very best faculty!

Name a faculty member who impacted your education and/or career.
Dale Safrit had a very significant impact on my education and career.  While I only had one course as an undergraduate student with Dale, he pushed me in that course and then subsequently was involved in my masters and PhD program very significantly.  Always pushing and encouraging me to do the unexpected!

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
There are too many!  My favorite memories are around different activities or events…trips to National FFA Convention, preparing for the Ag Recognition Banquet, and fraternity functions.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
Extension Agent, 4-H Youth Development in Darke County Ohio.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career and what were your responsibilities in those positions?
Ohio State University (1996-2007)
Extension Agent, Program Coordinator, Program Director, Extension Specialist, Interim Regional Director, and Co-Interim State 4-H Leader.

United State Department of Agriculture (2007-2009)
National Program Leader, 4-H Mission Mandates

Ohio Commission on Service and Volunteerism (2009-2011)
Director of Programs, AmeriCorps State

Ohio State University (2011- current)
Director, Marketing and Communications; Assistant Dean; and currently Vice Provost

During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
I have received the Achievement in Service Award and the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of 4-H Youth Development.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My leadership role in the design, construction, and opening of the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Center, the universities first LEED certified building.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Get to know the faculty that teach your courses. And, take advantage of opportunities the university offers, but don’t over commit yourself!

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
In the classroom and in student organizations, I gained self-confidence to clearly articulate a position, share information or represent an idea or concept.  These skills have been invaluable to me as I progress in my career.



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