ACEL Distinguished Senior: Lea Kimley

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/

“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.

Lea and friends.

At Stonehenge during the CFAES Agricultural and Environmental Communications study abroad trip to England and Scotland.

Working with a friend and coworker in the NCBA booth.

With friends, cheering on the Buckeyes.

Preparing to cheer on the Buckeyes during a home football game.

ACEL Distinguished Senior: Taylor Orr

Taylor Orr is a senior studying agriscience education with a minor in production agriculture from Frazeysburg, Ohio.

Orr chose to study agriscience education so that she could spread her love of agriculture to others, just as her mentors did for her.

“I want to be able to educate and inspire the growing minds of the variety of agriculture around them,” said Orr.

Ohio State was the right spot for her to pursue this dream, because of her love for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL).

In its second year, the Distinguished Senior Award recognizes top students in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership. This year, Orr is one of 10 students to be selected by faculty for the honor.

Of her nomination as an ACEL Distinguished Senior, agriscience education faculty noted that Orr “finds opportunities to participate in professional development within agricultural education as she prepares for her future as an ag teacher and has been an active student within the major and an excellent student role model for her peers.”

In the classroom, Orr excelled in her classes, maintaining high academic achievements. She enjoyed the agriscience education and production agriculture classes she had with her fellow agriscience education majors, as well as the study abroad courses she has that focused on human and animal interactions.

“This major (agriscience education) allows you to try a little of everything. As a future educator, this allows you to be a jack of all trades,” she said. “I have found that this major allowed me to look into different fields, such as meat science and welding. Agriscience education allows you to see agriculture in all of its different forms and then gives you the tools to teach it to others.”

Outside of the classroom, she completed an internship with the Ohio FFA Foundation that focused on the Teach Ag Campaign, which promoted the agricultural education profession to junior high and high school students at a variety of events and through various programming.

“This internship helped to reassure me of my passion for agriculture in the classroom and the ways that it impacts the world around us,” she said.

Orr also completed a 14-week student teaching experience with Ridgewood High School and Ridgewood FFA Chapter in West Lafayette, Ohio. She worked with cooperating educator Mrs. Sue Davis to learn about day-to-day experiences of an agricultural educator.

When asked about a favorite memory, like many others who have had the experiences, Orr said her time abroad with CFAES Education Abroad programs.

“I absolutely loved the opportunity to explore and learn about agriculture in other countries. Both of my experiences truly were eye-opening and allowed me to grow not only as a student but as a future educator,” she said.

Following graduation, Orr will be pursuing a career as a high school agricultural educator.

In Venice, Italy with the CFAES Human and Animal Interactions study abroad program in 2019.

At the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland with the CFAES Human and Animal Interactions study abroad program in 2018.

Taylor traveled to Italy with the CFAES Human and Animal Interactions study abroad program in 2019.

At a sheep farm in Ireland with the CFAES Human and Animal Interactions study abroad program in 2018.

A road side stop on the way to Florence, Italy during the CFAES Human and Animal Interactions study abroad in 2019.

ACEL Distinguished Senior: Meredith Oglesby

Meredith Oglesby is a senior studying agricultural communication from Hillsboro, Ohio.

As a junior in high school, Oglesby was a member of the Ohio Youth Capital Challenge where she had the chance to implement a community garden at the Highland County Homeless Shelter in her hometown of Hillsboro.

Throughout the project she hand the chance to interact with residents who didn’t know about gardening or agriculture and weren’t eating the vegetables they had grown in their gardens. Olgesby worked with her county Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) educator and started hosting cooking demonstrations where residents were shown how to cook the vegetables and were provided with recipes. By the end of the summer, Oglesby saw the residents taking care of the garden without assistance from the program and enjoying the fresh produce.

When it came time for her to choose a major in college, she knew she has always enjoyed reading and writing, but she also thought about her experience with the garden and knew that communication was important, especially in agriculture.

“I had become interested in food security and hunger so I thought agricultural communication would allow me to combine a lot of things I liked to do,” said Oglesby. “I also looked at the sheet that the college has with potential jobs associated with the majors and the agricultural communication jobs sounded like fun!”

Both of Oglesby’s parents attended Ohio State, her dad graduating from a degree in the Department of Agricultural Education (now the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership),  so she grew up as a Buckeye.

“When I was nine my mom brought me to my first Ohio State football game and I remember walking in the stadium and seeing the student section, watching script Ohio and being excited when we won the game,” said Oglesby. “After the game I looked at my mom and I said ‘I want to go here!’ And from the age of nine I had my heart set on being a Buckeye. I had no idea what I wanted to do or what college even was at that point, but I was like ‘this place is amazing.’”

Many years later as a senior in high school, she visited the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and found that she still loved the atmosphere and everything CFAES had to offer, including the agricultural communication major.

“I didn’t apply to any other schools which in hindsight probably wasn’t the best idea, but this is where I wanted to be,” said Oglesby.

More than 12 years after her decision to attend Ohio State as a nine-year-old at Ohio Stadium, Oglesby has been selected as an ACEL Distinguished Senior. She is one of 10 students selected by faculty from the Department for the honor.

As a student at Ohio State, Oglesby has been a member of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT), serving as a CFAES Student Council representative, treasurer and secretary, Alpha Zeta Partners, where she was the Class 20 chronicler and the 2018-2019 chronicler, served as a CFAES Ambassador, participated in Buckeyethon for two years, Bucket and Dipper Junior Class Honorary, the CFAES Celebration of Students Banquet Planning Committee and was a member of the Ohio State Fair Junior Fairboard.

Education abroad programs were also a highlight of Oglesby’s college experience, as she participated in four programs. She traveled to Nicaragua in 2016 with other CFAES first year students, Australia, Brazil for six weeks with Alpha Zeta Partners and England and Scotland with the agricultural and environmental communications program.

During her senior year, she also completed a research project with Dr. Emily Buck designed to determine how the departments in one midwestern college of agricultural and environmental sciences are engaging with students. She also served as the editor of the AgriNaturalist, the annual student publication of the agricultural communication major.

In the classroom, Olgesby found the publication design and production course taught by Dr. Annie Specht to be her favorite, because she was encouraged to be creative through creating brand guides and graphics.

“I had never even heard of the Adobe Creative Cloud before her class,” she said. “This class proved to me I picked the right major.”

Agricultural communication students are required to complete two internships for graduation, and Olgesby did that and more. Completing internships with the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio State Extension Highland County, Ohio Association of Foodbanks, Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net and Ohio State’s Sustainability Institute, she has gained real world experience that will prepare her for career in the agricultural communication industry.

“Through my internships, specifically with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks and the Sustainability Institute, I realized the importance of effectively communicating research, data, and science,” she said. “I gained insight into how policy and communication take a systems approach in providing individuals with greater access to food. I began to understand how research and data are used to illustrate the need for agricultural and food programs in the state of Ohio.”

This internship experience, along with her time at the Sustainability Institute, solidified her decision to apply for graduate school after graduation to learn more about the impact research can have and how to effectively communicate science and research.

When asked if she has a favorite memory from throughout the past four years, Oglesby said it was hard for her to choose just one because she has loved being a student at Ohio State, but selected the opportunities to study abroad and travel the world as some of her top.

“My favorite memory from being a Buckeye is having the opportunity to study abroad in Australia. It was something I had on bucket list for years and I know that if I would have just traveled to Australia (as a vacation), I would have never have gotten to experience everything I did on my Ohio State study abroad,” she said. “My favorite moment was spending three days snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, seeing the sea turtles, clownfish and coral. I was basically living a real-life version of Finding Nemo and it is something I will never forget.”

Olgesby will begin her next chapter in the fall at the University of Florida, where she will be attending graduate school to study agricultural communication with a focus in food security and nonprofit studies. After graduate school, she hopes to obtain a communication job working for a nonprofit organization with a focus on food insecurity and agriculture.

Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.

With friends at an Ohio State football game.

Meredith during a visit to the Ohio Union.

Oglesby with Marlee Stollar, a best friend she met through her publication design and production course.

ACEL Distinguished Senior: Elizabeth Landis

Elizabeth Landis is a senior studying agriscience education from Anna, Ohio.

Landis chose the major of agriscience education because she wanted to make sure future middle school and high school students had the opportunity to be educated about their food and have the option to pursue a career in agriculture if they desired.

She decided to choose Ohio State in hopes that the University, the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) would provide her with the opportunities, challenges and relations that would prepare her to be the best educator.

“Being a Buckeye has fulfilled all the hopes I had as an incoming freshman,” said Landis.

In its second year, the Distinguished Senior Award recognizes top students in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership. This year, Landis is one of 10 students to be selected by faculty for the honor.

Of her nomination as an ACEL Distinguished Senior, agriscience education faculty noted that Landis has been a “servant leader, who maintains excellent academic standing, has completed several internships and is a positive role model for ASE students.”

As a student at Ohio State, Landis was involved with both Alpha Zeta Partners (AZP) and Agricultural Education Society (AES) of which she served as president in 2019 among a number of other roles throughout her four years in the organization, such as education and outreach chair, programming chair and secretary. She also represented the agriscience education on the ACEL Alumni Board for two years. For AZP, she was the Class 19 chronicler and scribe.

Landis completed several internships, including the Teach Ag Ohio agriscience education internship program as a freshman. “This experience gave me a lot of exposure to agricultural educators and insight to what a career in agricultural education would be like,” said Landis.

She also completed internships with Harvest Land Cooperative as a field technician, Ohio Soybean Council and Grow Next Gen, which gave her exposure to production agriculture on the producer and consumer side, and Beck’s Hybrids as an Ohio sales intern.

“My experiences with Harvest Land Cooperative, Ohio Soybean Council and Grow Next Gen made me realize that I enjoy being the link between producers and consumers. Sales is just like education. You work with people, communicate new information and help them make decisions.”

She also recently completed 14 weeks of student teaching with Marion Local High School and the Marion Local FFA Chapter.

In the classroom, Landis enjoyed the classes that she was able to take with her fellow agriscience education majors. “Learning and bonding with peers who have similar aspirations and passions was a great experience!” She also noted that she enjoyed her biology and agricultural communication classes, where a lot of the content was centered around current issues in our world, like global warming and antibiotic resistance.

Landis shared that the agriscience education major at Ohio State will prepare you for a career where you help students succeed every day and show them the opportunities that exist within agriculture.

“Being a Buckeye will prepare you to take on new challenges and strive to make yourself better every day so you can be a role model for your future students.”

When asked what memory stands out as her favorite, it involved football Saturdays in Columbus. “Making breakfast with my friends on football Saturdays and cheering on the Buckeyes together.”

Following graduation, Landis plans to teach agricultural education in a high school agriculture program.

Orientation for Dunn Sports and Wellness Scholars during her first week of college, with her cousin Sarah, a food science major.

Participating in CFAES Olympics with Agricultural Education Society.

CFAES Celebration of Students banquet committee.

With the 2019 ASE Block at FFA Camp Muskingum.

ACEL Distinguished Senior: Trent Baldwin

Trent Baldwin is a senior studying community leadership with a focus in community and extension education from Salinas, California.

Baldwin transferred to Ohio State from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo where he was majoring in agricultural business. While at Cal Poly, he knew he wanted to pursue a career in youth development and extension education, which was not available there, so he decided to make the move to Ohio.

“I visited Ohio State for a conference and immediately fell in love with the university and campus,” said Baldwin. “Coming from a much different setting than Columbus, it was exciting to move to a city with so much to explore.”

In its second year, the Distinguished Senior Award recognizes top students in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership. This year, Baldwin is one of 10 students to be selected by faculty for the honor.

Of his nomination as an ACEL Distinguished Senior, faculty noted that “Trent has been engaged in activities outside of the classroom, from helping to lead camp counselor workshops to participating in national 4-H organization events. He also has maintained a strong academic standing throughout his undergraduate career.”

As a student at Ohio State, Baldwin immediately got involved on campus. He has served as treasurer of Ohio State’s chapter of Cultivating Change, a national foundation whose purpose is to value and elevate LGBTQ agriculturists through advocacy, education, and community, service coordinator for Pi Lambda Phi, and an events chair for Collegiate 4-H. He has also been involved with Social Change with the Office of Student Life that brings together the communities of Ohio State and the State of Ohio through community-driven, multi-disciplinary programs to empower the local community.

Baldwin has completed internships with both the Licking County and Ashtabula County extension offices, where he assisted with the 4-H programs during the summer.

“It was an incredible and formative experience, and it taught me a lot about the work involved in youth development, not only with the individual child but with the whole community,” said Baldwin. “These internships helped me understand more about the experience of being an extension professional.”

Noting that his time with the Ashtabula County Extension Office was one of his best college memories, Baldwin said he came from a different background than Ashtabula County, but was embraced by the community and learned a lot from his experiences.

He also enjoyed the real-world experiences that several of his community leadership major courses offered, including the Teaching Methods in Non-formal Environments (Community Leadership 5330) and Prevention and Youth Development Through Sport, Recreation and Play (Social Work 2110).

“Having the experiences to develop my own lesson plans and design my own programs has been exciting,” he said.

Following completion of his undergraduate degree, Baldwin plans to pursue a master’s degree in social work.

“The community leadership major has so many potential career paths that it can prepare you for, and covers a variety of relevant information that anyone going into community work or development should know, such as leadership and educational theory, program design and more,” he said.




Baldwin on The Oval with the Non-formal Methods of Teaching course conducting tours of Ohio State’s campus.

Baldwin (far right) with OSU Mountaineers at Spruce Knob, the highest point in West Virginia.

With his Pi Lambda Phi fraternity brothers.

Congratulations Trent and we wish you the best in your next endeavor! Thank you for letting ACEL be a part of your college experiences!

Faculty Spotlight: Jeff King

Dr. Jeff King is an associate professor for the community leadership program in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL). 

King received his B.S. in Agricultural Education and his Ph.D. in Extension Education from The Ohio State University. 

Dr. King has conducted research in leadership development, emotional intelligence and leadership, as well as organizational development for extension education. He also instructs the professional leadership ethics course (COMLDR 5430) offered in our department. 

In addition to his role as a professor, Dr. King is also a co-director of the OSU Leadership Center. He facilitates workshops covering topics that range from ethics and leadership to professional development. 

We are grateful to have Dr. King in our department! 


Ohio State’s ACEL presents more than $75,000 in undergraduate scholarships

The Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) recently announced more than $75,000 in scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students.

Scholarships recipients were selected by the faculty of the department based on the applicants dedication to the industry, demonstrated involvement in the department and academic achievements.

Agricultural Education Scholarship: Hayley Black, Leslie Burger, Madeline Elfrink, Sofia Hoelscher, Allyson Irwin, Colleen Kreais, Jasmine Mabry, Allyson McCurdy, Macee Mercure, Alexa Rednour, Kendra Risner, Kayla Ritter, Matthew Roth, Katie Stokes, Loryn Wright and Rose Zeedyk.

Albert B. Davis Agricultural Scholarship Fund: Kristin Winstanley

Alice Lucile Russel Scholarship Fund: Haley Back

Bailey S&W Scholarship: Madisen Morlock and Robert Selvey

Bill Zipf 4-H Memorial Scholarship: Carley Coppler

Birkenholz Leadership Award: Elizabeth Strine

Clyde and Crystal Beougher Scholarship in Agricultural Education: Sean Fitzsimmons

Ivor Jones Endowed Scholarship Fund: Nicole McMullen

Earl and Wilma McMunn Agricultural Communication Scholarship: Rachael Billups, Allison Bourne, Mallary Caudill, Alexis Elliott, Joanna Frankenberg, Christina Gaerke, Sarah Galavich, Chareasa Jeffries, Danielle Leeper, Hannah Martin, Megan Maurer, Lindsay Okuley, Abby Schellin, Haley Schmersal, Bethany Starlin, Linnea Stephens, Macel Stowers, Kamala Sweeney, Rhiann Travis, Abigail Werstler, Emily Wilson, Alexis Wooten and Breanna Yonley

James J. Kreglow Agricultural Education Scholarship: Hayley Milliron

Jo and Warren Weiler Scholarship Fund in Agricultural Education: Paige Schaffter

John Hancock Klippart Memorial Fund for Agriculture: Kiersten Wright

Leo L. Rummell Endowed Scholarship Fund: Stacey Butler, Ethan Keller and Sydney Wilson

Lindsay Hill Memorial Scholarship: Kolt Buchenroth and Courtney Heiser

Ohio Agribusiness Association Ag Communication Scholarship: Samantha Augustine and Madison Layman

Ohio Agribusiness Association Ag Education Scholarship: Troy Elwer

Ohio Farm Bureau Federation Agricultural Education Scholarship: Milan Pozderac

Pat R. and M. Susie Whittington Undergraduate Teacher Education Scholarship: Brenna Loxley

Ralph E. Bender Scholarship: Gabrielle Adiar, Maryellen Bliss and Ashley Garlick

Roger W. LeValley, D.D.S. Agricultural Education Endowment: Chloe Wilson

Ruth and S.N. McIntosh Memorial Scholarship: Madison Allman, Anthony Garner, Deja Reid and Jacob Shuman

Stephen Brock Memorial Scholarship: Danielle Schneider

The Carl E. Pickering Memorial Scholarship: Olivia Coppler

The Sue and Walt Bailey Annual Scholarship: Olivia Pflaumer

Undergraduate students in ACEL study agricultural communication, agriscience education or community leadership. These three bachelor of science degrees prepare students working with youth and adults of age to promote agriculture and positive change in communities.

Students in the agricultural communication, education, and leadership graduate program may specialize in agricultural communication, agricultural education, community and extension education, international development or leadership. The graduate program offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science, Master of Education, and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D) degrees. The Ph.D. prepares students for careers as administrators, specialists, university faculty, and researchers.

For additional information on undergraduate or graduate programs in the areas of agricultural communication, education and leadership, or to make a financial contribution to the scholarship program, visit


Graduate Student Spotlight: Alyssa Rockers

Alyssa Rockers is a current Ph.D. student in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership where she is studying agricultural communication.  

She is from Carthage, Missouri and received her B.S. in general agriculture/communications from Missouri State University. Alyssa went on to receive her M.S. in agricultural communication from Oklahoma State University.  

When asked why she chose to pursue her Ph.D. at ACEL she shared that “The ACEL faculty provide me unique support and opportunities to learn and grow.” 

She added, “I love agricultural communication and teaching/researching the discipline. I have a passion for knowledge and learning.”

Q&A with Dr. Shannon Washburn

Dr. Shannon Washburn will be joining ACEL as the department chair on July 1, 2020. To get to know him better, our students submitted questions and below are his answers.

Some questions are fun, while others are more serious! Thank you to our ACEL graduate and undergraduate students for submitting questions!

[ACEL student]: What plans do you have to get to know the students?
[Dr. Washburn]: Getting to know students, staff and faculty is my biggest priority for the first few months in the position. To meet students, I hope to be able to attend as many of the student organization meetings as possible and I always have an open door policy. I would also like to schedule small group appointments with students throughout my first year to share a brown bag lunch, grab coffee or ice cream and just chat.

What are your thoughts about starting a leadership role in a time of crisis like this?It definitely isn’t ideal to start a new leadership role at a new (to me) university during a global health pandemic and it certainly is presenting some challenges to my planning for relocation, but I know we will get through those challenges. In many ways though, the time when leadership is needed most is when times are difficult and I have been so impressed with the leadership I’ve witnessed from afar from University and CFAES leaders as well as the outstanding team in ACEL. Times like what we’re experiencing now really help you see what people are really made of and I’m tremendously impressed with the way ACEL faculty, staff and student leaders have stepped up in this time of crisis. I know we will learn much from these experiences and I look forward to using those lessons to help our department think about how our innovations and responses to COVID-19 can introduce lasting changes to “who” ACEL becomes moving forward.

What does being a Buckeye mean to you?
This is an interesting and challenging question because I’ve spent a total of less than two weeks of my life on the Ohio State campus. As of today what being a Buckeye represents to me is lots of opportunity for learning and growth in an environment with long, deep and rich traditions for excellence and global leadership. Throughout my 22 year career in higher education, the ACEL faculty and students I’ve been able to observe have always been respected for their tradition of excellence, innovation, talent, institutional pride, and their approachable collegiality. I’m thrilled to have a chance to join this incredible family and I look forward to learning so much more about what it means to be a Buckeye.

What is your plan for admitting more graduate students?
The biggest limiting factor associated with growing our graduate student population is our faculty capacity. I believe the most important thing we can do with graduate education to continue to build on our tradition of excellence is to make sure the students we admit receive outstanding experiences and support. There’s a limit to how many students each faculty member can serve while ensuring an excellent education. We have plans in the very near future to add a faculty member with expertise in Agriscience Education and another in Agricultural Communication. This should enable us to add some advising capacity. I also hope to be involved with the graduate program as an advisor for a few students. Beyond that, a great deal of planning and discussion with the graduate faculty team and learning more about the ACEL graduate experience will be necessary to refining longer term plans for growth.

What’re your plans for increasing diversity among ACEL graduate students?Growing diversity in any form will always be a function of continually striving to foster a more inclusive culture. Diverse candidates for any position have a keen sense for whether a place can become a home for them where they can really develop a sense of belonging where their ideas and perspectives are welcome. If we don’t foster such a mentality among current graduate students as well as our staff and faculty, it will be very difficult for our graduate program to reflect the great diversity of our country. Beyond that though, it is critical that we actively recruit for diversity as we hire faculty and staff and as we seek to proactively find the graduate students we want to invite to join the ACEL family. Making diversity a priority in admission and assistantship decisions will help with that as well. Ultimately, whether in ACEL or any other aspect of life, the sooner we recognize that welcoming and valuing diversity is a learned behavior that can be improved upon, the better we will be at doing so.

What’s your life motto or a crucial principle you live by?
My life motto for many years has been “Success isn’t measured by how high you climb, but by how high you bounce when you fall.” While no one enjoys failing, I’ve never struggled with embracing failure as a learning opportunity and a motivation for trying something new. I think that probably comes from growing up on a farm where things rarely go as planned, but that doesn’t mean you stop trying. I think as leaders, communicators and educators working with learners of all ages, we can do a much better job of sharing about lessons learned from failure to help other people realize that failure is part of the human condition and we shouldn’t allow it to be an impediment to taking on challenges.

What made you want to be the next ACEL chair?
This position offered an outstanding opportunity to gain experience in departmental leadership with a ridiculously talented team of faculty and staff in the premier program of its type in the United States. It also presented a new challenge at a time in my career when I was ready for one and at a time in my personal life that a move to another state seemed possible.

If Ohio State and Kansas State ever play in a bowl game, who has your support?
I would love to see that matchup because it would mean my Wildcats have achieved elite status in football and it would be a fun game to watch. While I can’t win with an honest answer to this question, it would be a no lose situation because either the team representing two of my diplomas wins or the team representing my mortgage payment wins!

What will you miss most about Kansas? Kansas State?
The answer to both questions is family. My family roots, my parents and one living grandmother are still in Kansas and my mother-in-law is there as well. Both of my daughters will continue their undergraduate educations at K-State so what I will miss most will be weekday lunches and chats with my girls on campus.

Tell me about your family?
My parents still operate the farm that my maternal great-grandparents established outside of Norton, Kansas (population 2,800) they grow wheat, grain and feed sorghum and registered Shorthorn cattle. My mom is retired from a career as the receptionist for the medical clinic in town and now spends a lot of time trying to keep up with her 92 year old mom. Andi is my wife of almost 23 years and she holds BS and MS degrees from Kansas State in English Education and was a high English teacher when we met. Most recently she has worked in Digital Marketing. She is an amazing baker, a tremendous mom and my best friend and she’s excited to start this new adventure with me. My daughters are Anna – a sophomore at K-State studying English Education with a Theatre minor and Kate – a freshman at K-State studying Music Education and a trumpet player in K-State’s marching band.

What was your job before getting a PhD?
When I completed my degree in Agricultural Education from K-State, I became a high school ag teacher in Southwest Kansas. After three years in the high school classroom, I had a really unique opportunity to become a full-time instructor in Agricultural Education at K-State while finishing my masters degree. That is where I discovered how much I love working with college students and in the higher education environment.

Are you an early bird or night owl?
I can really be either one, depending on how late I am on completing a project!

Will you teach in addition to being chair?
I’ve had one semester since 1995 when I didn’t teach. My wife can tell you that wasn’t a pretty semester – I missed being in the classroom. I’m excited to continue learning in that way as well with my new position.

What’s your favorite vacation destination?
Anyplace with a beach and fresh seafood.

What’s something you’re really good at – big or small?
I love applying my expertise in agricultural education to international ag development settings and have had awesome opportunities to do so repeatedly in Egypt, Haiti, Ethiopia and Ghana. I am a lifelong student of other cultures and really enjoy meeting people in agriculture from around the world. I’ve traveled enough to know that no matter where you go, there are many more things that make people similar than there are differences, so I find it very easy to connect with people in developing countries.

Do you like to read? What are you reading now?
Kindle is about the third most used app on my phone, but I spend so much of my professional life reading that when I want to read for pleasure it is to escape in fiction. Right now I’m reading the latest in a long series of Agent Pendergast novels by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child. I’m also a huge fan of anything Stephen King and would highly recommend his Dark Tower series, and there isn’t a Jack Reacher book (by Lee Child) that I haven’t read.

Do you have any hobbies?
Andi and I both have a sick obsession with DIY home improvement that really is our only true hobby.

What is your favorite band/musician?
There are too many great bands to have a single favorite. It really depends on my frame of mind whether I listen to James Taylor, Billy Joel, AC/DC, Red Dirt Country, Contemporary Country or pop. My main Pandora Stations are Train, Journey, Plain White T’s or Zac Brown Band.

Do you sing karaoke? Go to song?
I’m not really musically inclined, but in the right mood, I could sing anything Billy Joel, George Strait or Garth Brooks.

Is it pop, soda, or coke?
You’ll find me using pop and soda interchangeably. Coke only comes in red.

What is your favorite kind of food?
I love food of many varieties and think food is one of the most fascinating parts of culture so I enjoy trying lots of new foods. If I had to pick a favorite though, having grown up on a Western Kansas cattle ranch, I would choose steak.

You see someone wearing Ohio State while traveling of out state. What do you say to them?
I’m pretty sure the best way to strike up a conversation with anyone wearing scarlet and gray anywhere in the world would be to simply say “O-H…”

We hope you enjoyed getting to know Dr. Washburn! Now, it’s your turn to answer some of Dr. Washburn’s questions for you. Visit to share some of your favorite spots on campus, the best hidden gems in Ohio and more!


Faculty Spotlight: Emily Buck

Dr. Emily Buck is a professor and academic advisor for the agricultural communication program in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL). 

Buck received her B.S. in Agricultural Communication from The Ohio State University in 2002 and went on to complete her M.S. and (2004) Ph.D. (2006) in Agricultural Communication from University of Florida. 

Dr. Buck has conducted research in multiple areas including visual communication, new communication tools, and communicating agriculture to consumers. 

As a Buckeye, Dr. Buck has taught a number of undergraduate and graduate courses in our department. A few of her courses include visual media in agricultural and natural resources (AGRCOMM 2130), agricultural feature writing (AGRCOMM 5135), and exploring agricultural communication, education, and leadership (COMLDR 1100). 

In addition to her involvement as a professor, Dr. Buck is also a co-director of the OSU Leadership Center and is actively involved in the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) here on campus. We are so glad to have engaged faculty like Dr. Buck in our department!