Caleb Hickman is a senior studying agriscience education from Mount Vernon, Ohio.
Hickman holds a passion for aiding youth from rural areas and he knew a major in agriscience education would open countless doors to help guide the next generation of agriculturalists.
With several alumni of The Ohio State University in his family, he knew of the opportunities he would be provided as a Buckeye which ultimately led to his decision to attend Ohio State.
“I was born a Buckeye,” said Hickman. “My family instilled a passion in me for the scarlet and gray.”
In its second year, the Distinguished Senior Award recognizes top students in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership. This year, Hickman is one of 10 students to be selected by faculty for the honor.
Of his nomination as an ACEL Distinguished Senior, agriscience education faculty shared that “Caleb has been and involved and committed ASE student. He has been active in organizations at the department and university levels while maintaining an excellent academic record, strong work ethic and overall positive contribution to the program and his peers.”
Hickman has been very active in student life, participating in ten student organizations and serving on several executive teams. He was a member of FarmHouse Fraternity – ATZ Chapter, Bucket and Dipper Junior Class Honorary, Romophos Sophomore Class Honorary, Stadium Scholarship Program, Fabulous Unique Neighborhood Hall Council, Agricultural Education Society, Buckeye library Leadership, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Community Commitment. He also served as a senator for Undergraduate Student Government.
Although he participated in student organizations, his academics were always a top priority and led him to new passions.
“In the future, I plan on helping rural communities understand the complexities of living in a diverse world. This interest was sparked after taking a course titled Toward Cultural Proficiency, which was taught by Dr. Susie Whittington,” said Hickman. “She taught us how to help others understand an array of identities, cultural differences and ways of life. I found my passion for enhancing rural communities and aiding them in understanding an array of diverse backgrounds.”
“I loved classes that challenged me to my breaking point. Teaching methods with Dr. Kitchel and experiential learning with Dr. Bowling were two classes that pushed me to my limits,” he said.
He shared that in the teaching methods course, students were taught how to handle positive criticism, but more importantly the perspective that every child has a different set of needs, and it is up to the teacher to meet those needs.
“My experiential learning course, at times, made me exceedingly angry because I was passionate about the topics that were discussed in her course,” he said. “Positive youth development plays an essential role in children’s lives, but it is a challenging concept to comprehend. For myself, this topic hit exceedingly close to home, but I am a better person because of this course.”
Hickman also found time to complete a two-year internship with Guthridge, a construction company that provided him with resources on how to communicate trade school to his future students.
“College is not for everyone, and that is okay,” Hickman said. “Gutridge provided me with talents in disciplines that I have yet mastered, and I will be a better agriscience educator because of my time spent with them.”
He also completed 14 weeks of student teaching at Big Walnut High School with the Big Walnut-Delaware Area Career Center FFA Chapter.
“Student teaching provided me with an excellent opportunity to learn from an experienced educator that cares about enhancing the future of agricultural science education,” said Hickman. “Mr. Stimmell has become a mentor that I look forward to working with in the future. I am thankful for the time spent in this classroom and I cannot wait to see what the students of the Big Walnut FFA Chapter achieve next.”
She also recently completed 14 weeks of student teaching with Marion Local High School and the Marion Local FFA Chapter.
“Agriscience education is the first step in ensuring that the future of agriculture is going to continue to flourish. Becoming an educator is more than teaching in the classroom; it is becoming a community member that has a passion for bettering the lives of children outside of school,” Hickman said.
“Agriscience education and its parameters are vastly growing, and we must work together to bridge the gap between urban and rural youth. In my opinion, agriscience education is the solution, and that is why one should consider my major at Ohio State.”
Hickman also had a few parting words for underclassmen at Ohio State. “College is filled with ups and downs but embrace each opportunity and learn from the failures. It is up to you to change your mindset to eliminate the word failure because failure is only possible when you declare it. If you have the chance to try again, do it, but never stop trying to reach your fullest potential.”
Following graduation, Hickman will be attending the University of Kentucky’s graduate program in community leadership and development. He looks forward to becoming a high school agricultural educator following graduate school.