Lea Kimley is a senior studying agricultural communication from South Charleston, Ohio.
Growing up on a hog farm, Lea watched her family and other farmers mold to the changes in the world around them. She knew she wanted to purse a degree in agricultural communication in order to create a platform for her to speak out for an industry that has taught her so much.
And how did she end up at Ohio State? She grew up always wanting to be a Buckeye, but once she looked into agricultural communication programs at other colleges and universities, she realized the uniqueness of Ohio State’s program.
“[At Ohio State] we are able to learn vital communication skills, but at the same time our curriculum allows us to learn more about agriculture,” said Kimley.
This year, Kimley has been named one of 10 students selected by faculty as recipients of the ACEL Distinguished Senior Award. This award recognizes top students in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL).
As a student, Kimley has been involved in the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) student organization, where she has served as president, social chair, education chair and leadership co-chair. She is also a member of Sigma Alpha, a professional agricultural sorority and served as their recruitment chair.
In the classroom she really enjoyed the public relations course and the publication design and production course, of which she became an undergraduate teaching assistant.
Kimley’s resume is also full of internship experiences, six to be exact. She completed internships with Herdmark Media, Ohio State Extension’s Agricultural and Natural Resources, Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net, Ohio Beef Council/Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Shift•ology and the Wendt Group/showpig.com.
“I was fortunate to complete six internships during my undergraduate career. As a result, I interned for a variety of companies that taught me an array of skills for my future career. Each internship helped me learn more about what kind of worker I am and what environments I thrive (and don’t thrive) in,” said Kimley, “However, through each real-world experience I learned that no matter where my career path leads me, I hope to continue to advocate for agriculture.”
As her time at Ohio State came to an abrupt close in March with the closure of Ohio State’s physical campus and move to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kimley shared that she will remember her friendships the most.
“While I may no longer be able to live so close to these amazing people, I know I will continuously cross paths with many as future peers, colleagues and friends within the industry,” she said.
And as for her time at Ohio State and a student in ACEL, “I have grown close with my peers as well as advisors because of the inclusive ACEL community. My favorite part about being an Ohio State agricultural communication major is that I never felt like just a number, the staff genuinely cares about the students.”
Following her graduation from Ohio State, Lea will begin as the digital marketing and community manager with The Wendt Group.