[ACEL]: Hi Whitney! Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?
When I first went to college, I majored in animal sciences with the intention of pursuing a veterinary degree. Soon after I began classes, I realized vet school was not in my future, but I still enjoyed the livestock industry. During my first year at OSU, I also served as an Ohio FFA officer. This experience led to an interest in teaching at the high school level. After this year of service, I added the Agricultural Education major and am so grateful that I did!
Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
I chose OSU because of its outstanding College of Food, Agricultural & Environmental Sciences. I knew that I wanted to pursue a degree and career in agriculture, and this was a natural fit in Ohio.
How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
My professors were instrumental in developing my passion for agricultural education. Their personal relationships with their students are impressive, and I was fortunate to have great professional relationships with the ACEL professors. They pushed me to be my best, while also helping me to find where I am most talented.
What were you involved in as an Ohio State student?:
I was involved in a variety of student organizations such as Saddle & Sirloin, Ag Ed Society, Towers Agricultural Honorary, and Buckeye Dairy Club. I was a CFAES Ambassador, and was a co-chair for the CFAES Banquet. I worked for Dr. Eastridge with research, and also worked with OSU Extension with the Ohio State Fair Skillathons. Finally, I had the opportunity to intern with Elanco Animal Health and The Maschhoffs, Inc., which were both outstanding experiences. While in Grad School, I was a member of the ACEL Graduate Student Association. I was also a TA for Dr. Lichtensteiger, which was another incredible experience.
What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State?
I really enjoyed my animal sciences and agricultural education classes. My favorite class was Dr. Whittington’s methods class. This was one of the most influential classes for me as a teacher. I use so much of what I learned in that class today in the classroom.
What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?
Dr. Cano and Dr. Whittington were both influential in my education and career. Dr. Cano was the person that encouraged me to attend grad school and pursue a teaching career rather than an industry career. Dr. Whittington was my master’s advisor, and taught me a great deal about classroom teaching and research. I use what I learned today in my classroom!
What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
Two memories come to mind. The first is the CFAES Banquet that I helped co-chair. It was a great experience to plan it, and was even better to watch it all come together. The second memory is working with Dr. Lichtensteiger as a TA. He is extremely intelligent, and I learned a great deal from him that I continue to use today in my classroom and in life.
What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
My first full time job is the same job that I have today! I am an agriculture instructor & FFA advisor at Anthony Wayne High School, a satellite of Penta Career Center.
Have you worked with any other organizations to promote agricultural education?
My full time job is through Penta Career Center. I am also fortunate to serve as a network leader for GrowNextGen, which is a special project of Ohio Soybean Council.
During your career, have you received any awards or honors?
I recently received the Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators (OAAE) Agriscience Teacher of the Year. I will also receive the Region IV National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Agriscience Teacher of the Year award this December in Nashville. In 2014, I was awarded the Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE) Outstanding Agriculture teacher award. We have had the honor of hosting the Ohio Secretary of Education to our program two times, and I also had the honor of traveling to Honduras with Dr. Cano and other agriculture teachers/students in 2015. Another unique opportunity that I had was giving a testimony to the Ohio House of Representatives Agriculture & Rural Development Committee as an Ohio Agriculture teacher.
As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
My favorite career highlight by far is seeing students succeed, reach goals, and find their passions. It is truly an honor to teach students on a daily basis, and the opportunity to see them find and pursue their passions is incredible!
What advice would you give to a current student?
Get involved, pursue a variety of internships, and stay focused!
What did ACEL cultivate in you? How?
ACEL cultivated a passion in me for quality research, effective teaching, and service learning. My master’s experience taught me how to conduct quality research. My undergrad experience combined with my graduate work taught me how to be an effective teacher in the classroom. My experiences in the block, Honduras, and as a TA showed me the importance of service learning.