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Alumni Spotlight: Rose Smith, ’06

[ACEL]: Hi Rose! Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?
[Smith]: I knew I wanted to be involved in informal agricultural education, educating the general public about where their food comes from. I didn’t know if that meant working in the United States or overseas, but I did know that majoring in agricultural education would prepare me best for my future career.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
It’s the best! My high school guidance counselor encouraged me attend Ohio State knowing I wanted to teach agriculture, but not necessarily in the classroom. I attended classes at OSU-Lima for the first two years of my education, as they were offering evening classes locally in Bellefontaine. This was perfect as it allowed me to work full time during the day and attend small classes in the evening. Once it was time to focus on my major, it was an easy transition to main campus.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My education at Ohio State opened my eyes to what a huge need there is for educating consumers on the food supply and food systems. I have worked in the organic industry for over six years now and the desire for people to know how their food is raised is higher now than ever before.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
My favorite job was working at the RPAC. It had just opened when I began working there. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet such a diverse group of students and I still run into my former boss on a regular basis, mainly when tailgating before football games!

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? 
I really enjoyed the “Block” set up, spending large chunks of time with some of my closest college friends, knowing we were all working on the same thing was interesting.

Some of my other favorite classroom memories happened because my brother and I had the same major, and he was only a few quarters ahead of me, so occasionally we would have classes together. Those classes were always more challenging because we were fairly competitive with each other on anything where there could be the slightest bit of competition, so I would always try a little harder in those classes. He would also make me buy the book, saying we would “share it”… I never saw those books again.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career? 
There are a few that stand out, but Dr. Susie Whittington probably made the largest impact on me. She has a super power of knowing the special skills of each student and where they would fit best once leaving college. She has the great ability of encouraging students just when they need it most and nudging them in the right direction. She was a big part of me getting my first job after college. Just recently, I was visiting with her at a wedding, discussing women doing jobs that historically were held my men. Though I already knew it, it was an amazing reminder of what a trail blazer she is, leading the way for woman to teach agriculture in a variety of formats.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
What a hard question! There are so many, but one that is coming to mind is the 2002 Ohio State vs. Michigan Game. The game was obviously amazing and unbelievable. Digital cameras weren’t in full swing yet, and everyone was still using film cameras. I remember walking to the CVS on the corner of High and Lane to drop my film off the next day and there was a pile of film several feet tall that had been turned in to be developed. The girl behind the counter looked at me, with this look of panic on her face and firmly said, “It’s going to be a longer than an hour”. It was just the reminder of what a historic this had happened the day before. It was exciting being a part of it.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I worked as an Outreach Educator at COSI. I traveled to elementary schools putting on an assembly of a specific topic, then spent the rest of the day working with smaller classes doing hands on science experiments. The most valuable thing I got from working there was a strong ability to be independent. It was me and a box truck full of science equipment traveling all over Ohio and the surrounding states. Plus, who wouldn’t love a job where it was normal to shoot off a rocket any given day?

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
After COSI, I worked for just about a year at FFA Camp Muskingum. A job opportunity became available working in the organic industry in Bellefontaine, so I moved back home. I worked for two different organic certification agencies, Global Organic Alliance and Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association, before landing what has become my dream job at Organic Valley. As a regional pool manager, I work with a dairy farmers that are currently organic and shipping milk with Organic Valley, as well as the farmers that are in transition to organic production. Organic Valley is a farmer-owned cooperative, and it is an honor to work with organic farmers who are working hard to keep their families farming by producing organic products.

During your career, have you received any awards or honors? 
It isn’t an official award or honor, but I am the first female regional pool manager that works remotely for Organic Valley. Since I was hired there have been three additional women hired. There was a lot of discussion on how farmers would handle having a woman as their manager, but it has turned out just fine. I had been working at Organic Valley for about a month when I stopped at a farm to take a farmer out to lunch. While we were eating he said, “You know this is no job for a woman”. I had no idea how to respond. Since then, I have formed a great relationship with him and he has actually told me, “They hired the right woman for this job”, which is a huge complement.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I love being able to offer farmers a market for their milk. I remember one spring day about two years ago, when I was going through the contract we complete with farmers when they join the co-op. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day, so we sat at the picnic table in his yard and completed the paperwork. I will never forget the happiness the farmer was showing, as this meant he could be a full time farmer and no longer needed to work at his factory job. Though there are really tough parts of this job, it is always a highlight when I get to offer a contact to a farmer!

What advice would you give to a current student?
Pay attention in class! There have been so many times that I need to do something in my current career, and I remember vaguely some teacher talking about this sometime in college, but I wasn’t really paying close attention. My life would be a lot easier now if I wasn’t going back to relearn all of those things. A perfect example, I remember mildly paying attention when we learned about calculating dry matter in a feed ration, thinking I would never need to know how to do this. I calculate dry matter for farmers almost weekly now. I should have paid attention.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? 
My professors knew I had no intention of teaching in the classroom, but knew that the skills taught in the agricultural education major would be incredibly useful in informal education as well. This showed me that education isn’t a cookie cutter approach and that education is about life skills and not just grades on a paper.

Stollar Experiences Brazil Through AZP

Written by: Marlee Stollar
agricultural communication

Stollar with her fellow classmates in Brazil.

Through the organization Alpha Zeta Partners, I had the amazing opportunity to travel to Brazil for six weeks in January-February 2018. This trip was not your typical study abroad, I feel as though because of it I have learned so much about the country. I was forced to step out of my comfort zone on this trip, and as a result of that, I believe I am a more open-minded individual.

I learned the most about myself and about the country through the homestay I experienced in Brazil. Though I could only spend four days with them, my host family greatly impacted me. Whether it was swimming with my host-sister Beatriz, singing Bruno Mars with my host-mom or eating breakfast with my host-dad, every second was a learning experience. My family and I had a deal, I would help to improve their English and they would teach me some Portuguese and how to Samba (a Brazilian style of dance). I loved learning more about their fun and outgoing culture, it didn’t matter to me if my host family didn’t always understand me. I learned to step outside of my comfort zone that weekend and was welcomed by a kind and loving family. My experiences with my host family taught me more about Brazilian culture, Portuguese and made me see life from a new perspective.

On another note, I cannot express how much I learned about agriculture on this trip. Our group went on countless tours, from seeing meat-processing plants to visiting a seed genetics company, the opportunity to learn was always present. My favorite tour was the field day we visited at Syngenta. I enjoyed seeing the field plots and learning more about agronomy in general. It was very interesting to go through the different stations as if we all were Brazilian farmers attending that field day. I especially enjoyed just seeing how Brazilian agriculture directly connected to U.S. agriculture. This idea reinforced to me how important agriculture is in every country and the important role it plays. Global agriculture is now a subject I am much more interested in and excited to learn more about due to my experiences on this trip. Through Alpha Zeta Partners I learned an abundance about Brazilian agriculture and how it impacts the United States.

Before going on this study abroad, I believed Brazil would impact me in some way, but did not truly anticipate how this impact would take place. Now I can say that I have become a more open-minded, educated and cultured individual. My experience in Brazil challenged me, and taught me that sometimes it is these challenges that cause the greatest influence on an individual. I would like to thank CFAES and Alpha Zeta Partners for causing me to learn enough for a lifetime in only six weeks.


Marlee with her Brazilian host family.


AZP students learning about Brazilian Agriculture.



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Alumni Spotlight: Ken Parrott ’89


Ken Parrott lives in Lexington, Ohio and is currently the agricultural education teacher at Northmor High School in Northern Morrow county.

Why did you select your major or graduate program?
Back in the 1980’s you could dual major so my degree was ag education/animal science. I originally wanted to be a veterinarian, but my family background of education, especially in ag education, rubbed off on me.  My family is full of teachers and my grandfather, Ralph Howard, was a key part of starting FFA in Ohio serving as both executive secretary and Sstate advisor in the infancy of Ohio FFA.  My active involvement in the FFA in high school influenced me to become an ag teacher.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Several reasons influenced my decision.  My father was a graduate of Ohio State.  The rest of my older siblings all went to Muskingum, but knowing that I wanted to pursue a degree in agriculture made Ohio State an easy choice.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your career path?
I had some great professors and great experiences at the Ohio State University in both the ag education and animal sciences departments.  But, when this new guy named Dr. Jamie Cano arrived to the Department of Agricultural Education and I had a few classes with him, I knew that I was making a right choice in my career decision.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was very involved in the Alpha Gamma Sigma fraternity, Agriculture Education Society and Saddle and Sirloin. My first year and a half of college I worked on the slaughter floor at the OSU Meat Lab and then the last couple of years I lived and worked at the Sheep Center and worked for Ron Guenther.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
That is a tough one cause I had so many great instructors in both ag education and animal science.  My love for livestock made many of my animal courses some of my favorites. Anyone that ever had Dr. Tyznik for any nutrition classes could never forget his presence and influence.  I always enjoyed my advanced animal science classes with Dr. Steve Baertsche.  I had some memorable experiences with Dr. Lowel Hedges in the ag ed department and I had the nicest advisor in the world, Dr. Jan Henderson.  But without a doubt, the professor that influenced me the most and I enjoyed thoroughly attending his classes was Dr. Jamie Cano.

Dr. Cano had the biggest influence on me. He was brand new to Ohio State and was trying hard to make an impression. He recognized a talent of teaching in me and pushed me hard to excel. His instruction greatly influenced who I am today.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State
There are a lot of them and it would be hard to picked my favorite. Probably most of stories I share revolve around my experiences with Alpha Gamma Sigma. We had a lot of fun back then and I experienced college with a lot of great people.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
When I graduated in 1989, ag teaching openings at the time were pretty scarce.  I took the first job I interviewed for and that was a teaching position at Lincolnview High School near Van Wert, Ohio. A year later I moved closer to home at Highland High School. The following year, my home school, Northmor High School, called me home and I have been here for the last twenty-seven years.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I have been fortunate to helped a lot of students achieve their FFA dreams.  I have coached many successful FFA teams at the state level as well.  I have also been blessed to have my own three kids in my program and without a doubt, my son Zach winning the State FFA Sheep Proficiency Award has to be right up there as one of my favorite career highlights.

What advice would you give to a current student?
Take advantage of ALL that Ohio State has to offer.  Your education is important but the university experience is just as important. Get involved in as many things as you can handle whether it be the greek system or student clubs and organizations.

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Alumni Spotlight: Amy Miller ’99

Amy Miller is currently a State NFIP Coordinator in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated in 1999 with her bachelors in agricultural education.

[ACEL]: Why did you select your major or graduate program?
[Miller]: I’m a little bit country and a little bit rock-n-roll.  My undergraduate degree is in Agricultural Education and my graduate degree is in City and Regional Planning.  My programs were selected because I enjoy working on complex issues, finding solutions and improving the quality of life for citizens.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I chose to attend The Ohio State University due to the friendly atmosphere that permeates throughout campus, the plethora of quality academic curriculum that will endure throughout one’s college and professional career, and the outstanding football program.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My degree in Agricultural Education influenced my career path to work with various stakeholders regarding the preservation of agriculture.  My studies enabled me to take a complex issue and simplify into a message regarding the value of agriculture on the community.

What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?
I was involved in Campus Crusade for Christ, Collegiate 4-H, and City and Regional Planning Student Association.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I enjoyed my City and Regional Planning classes.  My favorite was Planning Places with People in Mind.  This class focuses on the relationship between the built environment and humans and the importance of environmental design geared towards its inhabitants.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education/career?
Dr. Scott Scheer had the biggest impact on my education and career while a student at The Ohio State University.   He was authentic, approachable, trustworthy and fun.  Whenever I needed to talk to someone, he was always there to listen and offer advice.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
My favorite memory was Ohio State beating the TTUN and rushing the field in 1998 to celebrate the victory.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first job was the Farmland Preservation Coordinator at the Wayne County Planning Department.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career and what were your responsibilities in those positions?
My first job was Wayne County Ohio, Farmland Preservation Coordinator working with landowners to permanently preserve farmland throughout the county.  After moving to Nashville, Tennessee, I worked for the Local Planning Assistance Office as a Regional Planner assisting 6 communities with development proposals and enforcing subdivision and zoning regulations.  After this experience, I worked as a Budget Analyst for the State of Tennessee analyzing budgets for various agencies in regards to revenue and expenditure forecasts.  My current job is the State of Tennessee National Flood Insurance Program Coordinator.  I support 400 communities with floodplain regulation interpretation, enforcement issues and statewide training.

During your career, honors or awards have you been presented?
During my career, I coordinated 62 grant applications from Wayne County landowners in 2002, for the Ohio Agricultural Easement Purchase Program which was the most in the state and was a tremendous honor to work with each applicant.  In addition, I worked with Rails to Trails of Wayne County to secure an ODOT grant of $2.1 million to construction a 6.75 mile rails-to-trails project.  Under my leadership, Tennessee became the 2nd in the nation to initiate the Certified Floodplain Surveyor program, certifying surveyors in FEMA Elevation Certificate preparation and Letter of Map Changes.

Outside of your career, are you involved in any organizations or activities in your community?
I am a volunteer at the Tennessee Prison for Women.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight was in 2001, attempting a 0.25% sales tax increase to fund a local Purchase of Development Rights Program in Wayne County, Ohio.  The program would allow farmers to voluntarily sell an agricultural easement on their property and have the land remain in agricultural production in perpetuity.  Although the initiative failed, we had a great public awareness campaign and continued interest in preserving local farmland that exists today.

What advice would you give to a current student?
What you do will not get you up in the morning.  Why you do it is what will keep you going.  Emotion is the key.

What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
The Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership cultivated in me adaptability.  Whether in my career or life, I have to have flexibility in handling change, being able to juggle multiple demands and adapt to new ideas with innovative approaches.

Bowling hired as assistant professor of agriscience education

The Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) at The Ohio State University is pleased to share that Dr. Amanda Bowling has accepted a position with our department as an assistant professor in agriscience education. For the past year, Bowling has served as a visiting assistant professor in the Department.

“We are thrilled to be able to retain Dr. Bowling in a tenure-track position,” said Dr. Tracy Kitchel, professor and chair of ACEL. “She continues to have a strong teaching record and is developing a solid research program by collaborating both on campus and across institutions. The faculty’s support of this change is evidence of Dr. Bowling’s ability to demonstrate how she can positively contribute to our department and its students.”

In her new role, Bowling will hold a 75% teaching 25% research position.  She will be responsible for teaching undergraduate and graduate data analysis course, teaching in the teacher preparation program, supervise student teachers, advise undergraduate and graduate students and conduct research in the area of positive youth development. Bowling will begin this position on September 1, 2018.

“This past year, it has been a privilege to be a part of The Ohio State University faculty,” said Bowling. “I am excited to continue to work with the outstanding students, faculty, and staff in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership and the agriscience education program.”

Bowling received a bachelor, master and doctoral degree in agricultural education from the University of Missouri. Previously, she worked as a high school agricultural educator in Missouri.

The agriscience education major at Ohio State prepares its students you to acquire a license to teach agricultural science in secondary high schools in Ohio and across the country, with extensive training in agricultural science, educational psychology, instructional methods, and youth development.

ACEL has been cultivating agricultural educators for more than 100 years. The department was founded after the passage of the Smith-Hughes Act in 1917 that federally funded vocational agriculture programs across the country to train the teachers for these programs. Since the beginning focus on agriculture teacher preparation, the department has expanded its mission to include Extension education, agricultural communication and community leadership.

For additional information on the agriscience education major, visit or call 614.247.6358.

Dr. Amanda Bowling

Alumni Spotlight: Haley Duff ’16


[ACEL]: Hi Haley! Tell us how you decided to major in community leadership.
[Duff]: I started at Ohio State as a zoology major, and realized my interests were not in the science behind it all, but in connecting with people and sharing my passion for zoos, wildlife, and the environment. I searched all over Ohio State for a new major that would allow me to still graduate on time, help me grow as a person, and have supportive, caring faculty and staff. I never imagined I would find myself in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, but ACEL and community leadership were a perfect fit.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Even growing up in Arizona, being a Buckeye was my college dream. When it came time for college visits and applying, Ohio State was it, no question.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career so far?
My education at Ohio State has influenced my choice of career path by allowing me to pursue multiple avenues and passions at once. When ACEL required an internship, capstone credit, and minor, I had to test the waters of different fields and I found out what I liked and was good at, and what was not interesting to me. My career path is definitely still in formation but I definitely attribute where I am now, and have been, to those experiences.

What were you involved on campus as a student?
At Ohio State I worked a campus job at EspressOH at the Ohio Union, and was involved in a few student organizations. One being my sorority, Tau Beta Sigma- a band oriented sorority, and the Nonprofit Immersion Program.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I enjoyed many of my leadership classes that involved a lot of self-discovery and professional development. These have given me a huge leg up in interviews and the workplace on a personal level and working with teams. One of my all time favorite classes I took was for my zoology minor, a class called ‘dynamics of dinosaurs’ where we studied dinosaur fossils and physiology. That class and professor helped me realize I didn’t have to be in a lab doing science, but could translate the hard work of scientists to accessible information to help others understand natural history and ecology. And the fossils were so cool!

Did you have a faculty member or professor that had an impact on you during your time at Ohio State?
So many of the faculty in staff in ACEL impacted my education. They were supportive and found solutions to problems with credits and scheduling where others might have not. Emily Wickham, Dr. Birkenholz, Dr. King, and Dr. Chris Igodan made a lasting impression of what a mentor and leader should do for their students.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
One of my favorite memories from my time at Ohio State was going down to New Orleans with some friends to watch the Buckeyes beat Alabama at the Sugar Bowl!

What was your first job after you graduated?
My first job after graduating was  in Orlando, Florida working at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! I did two successive internships there and loved every second of it.

Since graduating, even though it was just a few years ago, where have you worked?
Following my internships with Disney, I worked at the Cincinnati Zoo through AmeriCorps. Now, I live in Washington DC and work full-time for the African Wildlife Foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses on wildlife conservation, land and habitat protection, community empowerment and economic development throughout the continent of Africa.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight so far was my internship in conservation education at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. I loved interacting with guests who didn’t realize our park is an accredited zoo and sharing conservation messages and the animals with them. To go along with the theme of the park, I also got to dress like a “wilderness explorer” from the movie “Up” every day, which was so much fun.

What advice would you give to a current student?
I would tell a current student to take as many opportunities to work on a team, network, and see Columbus as they can. It can be easy to stay in and study and do homework, or even stick to a small social group, but being able to collaborate and network and have interesting, productive conversations with other is not just a useful skill but can be fun and open new doors!

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
The Department and classes I took cultivated in me what it means to be a leader and care for your team. I had mentors and professors who cared for my well-being and education, which I in turn cared more for the people around me as well, and have carried that value through the past year since graduating.

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