ACEL presents at Ohio Extension Annual Conference

Our department was represented very well with current graduate students and faculty at the 2019 OSU Extension Annual Conference that was held Dec. 16 – 18 at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Columbus.

Students and faculty who presented posters include:
Callie Eberhart and Dr. Jera Niewoehner-Green (Ohio 4-H Extension Professionals’ Perceptions of Youth with Disabilities); Dr. Jerold Thomas and Dr. Scott Scheer (Publishing Your Extension Work in the Journal of Extension)and Margo Long (You ARE a Computational Thinker)

Students and faculty who presented papers include:
Brad Bergefurd (Jumpstart your Professional Development with International Teaching and Learning Opportunities); Dr. Jerold Thomas, Dr. Scott Scheer and Dr. Keith Smith (Key Trends Affecting Extension and How We can Remain Relevant); Alisha Barton (What to do When You Can’t Control the Weather: Complete Wellness for the Extension Professional); Alisha Barton (Inspiring Kids’ Confidence in the Kitchen); Danae Wolfe (Messaging Matters: Tell Better Stories, Create Deeper Connection); Christy Clary (Mobile App Development for 4-H and Extension Programs); Dr. Dee Jepsen (How Accessible are Your Events and Programs for People with Disabilities); Alisha Barton; (How to Survive Your First Two Years in Extension); Alisha Barton; and Danae Wolfe (Become a PowerPoint Power User)

Students who led an ignite session include:
Danae Wolfe (Storytelling as Easy as PIE)


2019 Autumn Semester Graduates

Congratulations to the 11 ACEL Buckeyes who received their degrees during Ohio State’s Autumn Semester Commencement Ceremony.

Four students graduated with a master of science in agricultural communication, education, and leadership. All of these students were enrolled in our online master of science program.

Seven undergraduates received their bachelor of science degrees in agricultural communication or community leadership.

We wish each of these Buckeyes the best of luck in their next adventure!


Birkhimer named Ohio “Turn the Key” recipient

Congratulations to agriscience education alum Nathan Birkhimir ’15, who was named as the Ohio recipient of the Teachers Turn the Key scholarship to attend the 2019 National Association of Agricultural Educators’ Annual Conference in Anaheim, California.

The Teachers Turn the Key professional development program focuses on providing early-career ag teachers with the tools and support they need to grow and flourish in the profession. Participants are challenged to improve their teaching and classroom management, develop time management skills, and immerse themselves in professional development activities that will support their professional goals.

Congratulations Nathan!

ACEL alumni receive awards an NAE4-H annual conference

Congratulations to several of our ACEL alumni who received national awards at the annual National Association of Extension 4-H Agents (NAE4-HA) during their annual conference in November.

In the service awards, Beth Simeral Boomershine ’01 MS was the recipient of a Distinguished Service Award and Kayla Oberstadt ’14 MS and Kiersten Heckel ’11 each received an Achievement in Service Award.






In the communicator awards, Amanda Raines ’17 was awarded top entry in the “educational piece – team” and Jamie McConnell ’12 MS received the top award in the “radio program.”


Laryssa Lackman Hook ’97 MS was recognized for 25 years of service as a 4-H educator.


Congratulations to these ACEL Buckeyes and all other Ohio 4-H extension educators who received recognition at the annual NAE4-HA conference.

ACEL Nutshell – December 4, 2019

*Items in bold are new

December 4 – Last day of Autumn Semester
December 4 – CFAES Breakfast, 7:30am-10am, Kottman Hall Lobby
December 4 – Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow Meeting, 6pm, Room 211AA
December 5 – Reading Day
December 6, 9-12 – Finals Week
April 9 – CFAES Celebration of Students Banquet
April 14 – ACEL Annual Banquet

On our Website
News Release: Ritter completes internship with GC2 Ministries
Giving Tuesday
Oglesby completes internship with Ohio Association of Foodbanks

On our Blog
News Release: Cunningham completes internship with The Annex of Marion
Giving TuesdayNews Release: Leeper completes internship with Ohio State Extension
Burger awarded American FFA Degree
News Release: Beach completes internship with Hancock County Agricultural Society
News Release: Augustine completes internship with Ohio State ATI
News Release: Matthews completes internship with American Farm Bureau Federation
Varney completes MS project defense

In the News
Abbey Averill `03, alum, Ashtabula County Ag Day recognized at national levelStar Beacon

Winter drop in/ craft event
Tuesday, December 10, 12:30-1:30pm, 250A Agricultural Administration (Columbus)
Friday, December 13, 12:30-1:30pm, 126 Research Services (Wooster)
Come join Graduate Education Coordinator, Kayla Arnold, and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education, Gary Pierzynski, for holiday themed crafts, snacks, and warm drinks! We will have crafting supplies available, all you need to do is show up. If you can’t make the entire time, we also encourage you to stop in and grab some snacks as your schedule permits.

Report your Internship
If you’re completing an internship – for credit or not for credit – you are asked to complete the linked form to share your internship with the CFAES Office of Career Development. Complete this form.

End of semester stress?
CFAES has an embedded clinical counselor who works primarily with students in our college: David L. Wirt, M.Ed., LPCC-S. David is available for new and returning CFAES students by calling 614-292-5766. Please mention when calling you are a student in CFAES and want to schedule with him. If you have questions, you may email Dave at . More information about counseling at CFAES is located at and at

Food Pantry in Ag Admin and Kottman – Open to all students
Are you in need of extra support?

  • Food Pantries located in Ag Admin 250 and Kottman 210
  • Free to all Ohio State students, Mon-Fri 9am-5pm
  • No appointment necessary
  • Shelf stable foods, snacks, toiletries, and other essentials
  • Just ask for a “cup of tea” at the front desk

2020 Celebration of Students Program Award Application/Nomination Forms Available
Applications and nominations are now open for awards presented at the 2020 Celebration of Students Program on April 9. Complete information is available at Nominations and applications are due Monday, February 10, 2020 by 5:00 p.m.

Student Awards:

  • Jill A. Pfister Outstanding First-Year Student Scholarship – open for student organizations to nominate those first-year students (freshmen or transfer) who have made meaningful contributions to a student club or organization.
  • Ray A. Miller Council Scholarship – open to members of the CFAES Student Council (student organization representatives or academic major delegates) who have demonstrated leadership in their contributions to Council and other campus organizations.
  • Internship Awards – one award is offered in each CFAES academic units, including ATI. Eligible to students who have completed at least a 10-week internship experience during Spring, 2019, Summer, 2019, or Autumn, 2019.
  • Outstanding Student Employee – open to all undergraduate students who work for CFAES academic units, OARDC, or OSU Extension. Up to two awards are presented.

Student Organization Awards:

  • New Activity Award – recognizes a new project within a CFAES student organization – see the application form for additional details.
  • Student Organization Excellence Awards – recognizes notable accomplishments of CFAES student organizations (including SENR and ATI) in the following areas:
    • (1) leadership/professional development
    • (2) community engagement
    • (3) collaboration
    • (4) active citizenship
    • (5) supporting the mission of CFAES
  • Student Organization of the Year Award – recognizes one student organization that excels in at least three of the five areas previously mentioned.

Faculty/Staff Awards

  • Outstanding Service to Students – students can nominate CFAES faculty and staff who particularly support students or student organizations.
  • Outstanding Undergraduate Academic Mentor – students can nominate their academic advisor/mentor (either a faculty or staff member) for their excellence in serving students.

If you have questions, contact Dr. Marilyn Trefz at or 614-915-1150.

Follow us on Social Media
We’re active on social media! Follow the accounts listed below:
Undergraduate Program
Manager Accounts
Facebook Facebook
Twitter Twitter
Agricultural Education Society
Meetings will resume in January for Spring Semester 2020.

Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow will meet on the following dates in Room 211 of Agricultural Administration at 6pm.

  • December 4
Michigan State University – PhD Assistantship
The Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University is pleased to announce an open PhD assistantship in Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Education. Priority will be given to applications received prior to January 3rd and the position will remain open until filled. If you have any questions, please email or call (517) 355-0102.

MSU offers the opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary department and to become an integral member of our AFNR Education team, contributing to impactful scholarship and teaching. In addition, the assistantship includes paid tuition, health insurance, and a stipend. Additional Information

College of Charleston – graduate assistantships
The Graduate Program in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at the College of Charleston is currently accepting applications for Fall 2020. There are two graduate assistant positions available as part of the Sustainable Agriculturel initiative. The thesis or internship tracks and interdisciplinary curriculum offers students the tools and skills needed to pursue a career in the environmental field.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Program Coordinator, Lucy Davis ( I have attached some informational documents pertaining to our program that you are encouraged to share with students. For more information, please direct students to our website: Additional information is available here and here.

North Dakota State University – Agricultural Education Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantship Position (M.S. or Ph.D.)
The Agricultural Education program at North Dakota State University is seeking a graduate assistant at the doctoral (PhD) level (MS/PhD combined also considered). For this position we seek a motivated individual interested in the preparation of agricultural educators from pre-service through current educators in all formal and informal educational settings. Additional information.

This individual will join Agricultural Education and Teacher Education faculty in the preparation of pre-service teachers, induction teachers, Extension educators, and Extension audiences. The selected individual will:

  • Develop new and join present efforts to recruit students to the Agricultural Education degree programs at the undergraduate and graduate levels in the multistate region.
  • Lead and co-teach across specialty teaching methods and general educator preparation coursework.
  • Work with the North Dakota Teacher Induction Program which serves 1-3 year Ag Ed and FACS teachers.
  • Co-advise undergraduate students
  • Assist with expanding distance delivery options of Agricultural Education coursework
  • Assist with the North Dakota Teach Ag committee responsibilities
  • Work with Extension audiences on educational methods and program evaluation
  • Assist with data management and monitoring
  • Conduct collaborative and independent research
  • Complete other duties as assigned

Salary and Benefits

  • This is a 9-month, .50 graduate teaching assistantship (20 hrs/wk). Additional guaranteed funding will support summer salary above the core assistantship stipend. The preferred start date is August 2020. The assistantship includes a full tuition waiver. Up to four years of funding will be provided for doctoral-seeking candidates.

New Graduate Education Webpage
The CFAES Graduate Education website is now live! This site serves as a central resource for graduate students, housing information about upcoming events, news, and funding opportunities. We encourage you to check back regularly to stay up to date: If you have ideas or suggestions for resources to add to the webpage, please send them to CFAES Graduate Education Coordinator, Kayla Arnold.1065.

College Scholarship Application for the 2020-2021 academic year – Priority Deadline: February 15, 2020
All students in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences are encouraged to fill out the College Scholarship Application for the 2020-21 academic year.

You will only need to fill out one application to be eligible for scholarships from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, School of Environment and Natural Resources, and ATI/Wooster. The priority deadline for completing the application is February 15, 2020.

The simple on-line form requires you to write a short 300 word essay, list of present and previous work experience, involvement in extracurricular activities, provide details about involvement in groups. Students in the School of Environment and Natural Resources will only need to complete this application for 2020-21 as the supplemental questions are within this application. Applicants who have participated in 4-H regardless of University/College, Campus, or major are to complete this application and the additional supplemental questions when you check “Yes” on the involvement in 4-H.

FAFSA Now Available for Next Year – Start Filling Out Now!
The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the University Special Scholarships Application and the CFAES Scholarship Application for the 2020-2021 academic year are now available.
What you need to do now:

  • File the FAFSA today at or on the myStudentAid app. The 2020-2021 FAFSA requires income information from your 2018 tax returns. Learn more at
  • Follow the FAFSA prompts and use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to directly import tax return information into the FAFSA.
  • Complete the University Special Scholarships Application. For more information visit
  • Complete the CFAES Scholarship Application. For more information visit

Make it a priority. The 2020-2021 Ohio State priority date for the FAFSA and the University Special Scholarships Application is February 1, 2020. The CFAES Scholarship Application priority date is February 15, 2020.

Applications due January 15
Australia: Human Impacts on the Natural Environment– ENR (May 6-29, 2020)
Iceland: Environment and Natural Resources– ENR (June 10-26, 2020)
New Zealand: Sustainable Tourism & Human Impacts on the Environment – ENR (May 6-29, 2020)

Application due February 1
Czech Republic: People, Plant, Profit in Prague – AEDE/EEDS (May 3-29, 2020)

Questions: E-mail Ryan Vonderhaar(.15)

Education Abroad Peer Advising Hours
Where: Ag Admin Rm 100, Education Abroad Office
When: Tuesdays and Thursdays 3:15-5:00 pm; Wednesdays and Fridays 9:30 am-1:20 pm

Looking to go abroad? Already going, but have questions? Come to peer advising hours to talk with other students for advice and help!

Internship Openings
American Farm Bureau – AFBF Summer Internship Program
Cincinnati Reds – Video Productions Intern
Columbus Crew – Corporate Partnerships Intern
Columbus Crew – Video Production Intern
Columbus Crew – Marketing Intern
Columbus Crew – Community Relations & Foundation Intern 
Columbus Crew – Digital Content Intern
Columbus Crew – Social Media Intern
Columbus Crew – Communications Intern
Curion – Events & Sponsorship Coordinator
Dairy Farmers of American –  Marketing Communication Manager
FC Cincinnati – Sponsorship Activation Intern
Heartland Payment Systems – Promising Entrepreneur – Graphic Designer (Intern)
Fossil Rim Wildlife Center – Conservation Education Internship – Texas
Lake County Captains – Marketing & Promotions Intern
Lake Erie Crushers – Graphic Design Internship
Lake Erie Crushers – Radio Broadcast Internship
Lake Erie Crushers – Graphic Design Internship
Lake Erie Crushers – Photography Internship
Lake Erie Crushers – Video Production Internship
Michigan, Dept of Health and Human Services – Communication Intern
NASCAR – NASCAR Diversity Internship Program – Broadcasting and Media Productions 
NASCAR – NASCAR Diversity Internship Program – Social Media
NASCAR – NASCAR Diversity Internship Program – Graphic Design
Pixar – Editorial Intern, Summer 2020
Tracy Aviary – Environmental Education Intern
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center – Education Program Intern
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center – Volunteer Program Intern
WISH – Public Relations Intern
WISH – Event Management and Social Media Intern

Full-Time Openings
Akron Zoo – Graphic Designer
American Soybean Association – State Policy Communications Coordinator 
Arizona State University – Digital Communications Specialist
Certified Horsemanship Association – Advertising Sales Representative
Chabad Columbus –  Volunteer and Event Coordinator
City of Dublin, Ohio – Multimedia Communications Specialist
Dairy Farmers of America – Marketing Communication Manager
Ferris State University – Graphic Designer
Fort Hayes State University – Graphic Designer 
Hearthland Payment Systems – Senior Graphic Design Manager
iHeart Media – Outside Account Executive
Montana FFA Foundation – Director of Development
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association  – Creative Content Manager
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association – Market Research Coordinator
Ohio, Development Services Agency – Communications Specialist
Ohio State, Moritz College of Law – Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations
Ohio State, Academic Affairs – Program Coordinator
Ohio State, Knowlton – Senior Graphic Designer
Ohio State, Mansfield – Coordinator-Student Programs
Ohio State, International Affairs – Coordinator-Study Abroad
OSU Extension, Warren – Program Assistant, 4-H
City of Portland, Texas – Public Information Officer
Purdue University Extension –  Extension Educator – Ag and Natural Resources
Shelby Humane –  Volunteer Coordinator
University of Arkansas – Communications and IT Specialist
University of Cincinnati – Digital Content Specialist
University of Maryland – Coordinator of Recruitment
University of Nebraska – Dean for the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture
University of Nevada, Reno – Graphic Designer and Communications Professional
University of Oklahoma –  Volunteer Coordinator
University of Toledo – Art Director
University of Utah – Coordinator, Marketing & Communications
USDA, Animal and Plant Health Inspection – Visual Information Specialist
US Fish and Wildlife Service – Visual Information Specialist
UT Health San Antonio – Graphics Designer-Intermediate
Utah State University – Recruiter I
West Virginia University – Dean and Director of WVU Extension

List of all agricultural education postings by state

Graduate School Opportunities
Arizona State University
Auburn University
California State – Chico
Cal Poly
Clemson University
Colorado State University
Kansas State University
Louisiana State University
NC State University
Oklahoma State University
Penn State University
Purdue University
Texas A&M University, Commerce
The Ohio State University
Oregon State University
University of Georgia
University of Florida
University of Idaho
University of Minnesota
University of Missouri
University of Virginia Tech
University of Wisconsin – River Falls

Volunteer Opportunities

Check back next week!
If you have information or announcements for ACEL Weekly Update, please email wickham.24@osu.eduACEL Weekly Update is published every Wednesday; deadline for content is Monday at noon.

All past editions can be found  at

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News Release: Cunningham completes internship with The Annex of Marion

Taylor Cunningham, of Arcadia, recently completed an internship with The Annex of Marion in Marion, Ohio.

During her internship, Cunningham used her communication skills to assist in planning for community events, manage social media platforms and work on website development. She also assisted with Ohio State Marion campus orientations and move-in.

“Our students use their internship experiences to hone their communications skills, network with potential employers, and develop confidence in their abilities,” said Dr. Annie Specht, program manager and associate professor for agricultural communication. “These internships are more than just line items on a resume – they are opportunities for students to prepare themselves for the next phase of their professional lives.”

Cunningham returned to Columbus in August, where she is completing a degree in agricultural communication at The Ohio State University.

The agricultural communication major at Ohio State prepares students to plan, develop, and implement a communication campaign, using visual media, writing and editing. Students study crisis communication, graphic design, marketing, and journalism so they can spread the word about agriculture. To learn more about the agricultural communication major, visit or call 614-247-6358.


Giving Tuesday

On this #GivingTuesday, consider making a donation to the Centennial Fund for the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership. This fund is designed to support student and faculty needs in the areas of agricultural communication, agriscience education and community leadership.

To donate, visit and search for fund 641209.



*Alumni giving a minimum of $75 to any Ohio State fund prior to December 31, 2019 qualify for early access to football tickets.

News Release: Leeper completes internship with Ohio State Extension

Shae Leeper, of Marysville, recently completed an internship with the Delaware County Extension Office in Delaware, Ohio.

During her internship, Leeper used her communication skills to assist in 4-H and Junior Fair event planning and manage social media platforms. She also worked on farm research projects which included video production and editing.

“Our students use their internship experiences to hone their communications skills, network with potential employers, and develop confidence in their abilities,” said Dr. Annie Specht, program manager and associate professor for agricultural communication. “These internships are more than just line items on a resume – they are opportunities for students to prepare themselves for the next phase of their professional lives.”

Leeper returned to Columbus in August, where she is completing a degree in agricultural communication at The Ohio State University.

The agricultural communication major at Ohio State prepares students to plan, develop, and implement a communication campaign, using visual media, writing and editing. Students study crisis communication, graphic design, marketing, and journalism so they can spread the word about agriculture. To learn more about the agricultural communication major, visit or call 614-247-6358.


Burger awarded American FFA Degree

Written by:
Leslie Burger 
community leadership

My FFA experience in one simple word would be incredible.

Every person I have met, every contest I participated in, every chapter event I attended, and every lesson I have learned has had a huge impact on my life. During my time in FFA, I had so many amazing experiences, and I always had fun no matter what I was doing.

When I started my FFA career my freshman year of high school, I made it my goal to one day receive my American Degree. I got most of my inspiration to go for my American Degree from my grandpa. He loved hearing about all of my FFA experiences and he loved seeing the awards I had won, and seeing his face light up when I walked into the kitchen was the best feeling in the world. When he passed away in 2017, it was a hard time for my family. But I knew that he would have wanted to see me accomplish anything I tried, and I wanted to make him proud by receiving my American FFA Degree.

Only 1% of FFA members will receive this degree, and it is a huge honor to be a recipient of this degree, and I am so proud of my hard work and accomplishments. Knowing that my parents and family are so proud of me is an amazing feeling because all I ever want to do is make them proud. The National FFA Organization is just amazing, and I will always be thankful for the time I have spent in this organization. I have wonderful memories that will last a lifetime because of FFA, and I would do it all again.