Seven ACEL Buckeyes graduate during Autumn Commencement


Congratulations to the seven ACEL Buckeyes who completed degrees with us during Autumn Semester 2021.

Master of Education
Doris Huffman

Master of Science
Treg Brown
Frances Foos

Bachelor of Science
Agricultural Communication
Amber Bergman
Kelsey Decker
Abbey Werstler

Community Leadership
Ally McCurdy

News Release: Landaverde receives University’s Presidential Fellowship

Rafael Landaverde, graduate associate and doctoral student in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) at the Ohio State University, has received the University’s Presidential Fellowship.

The Presidential Fellowship recognizes outstanding scholarly accomplishments and potential graduate students entering the final phase of their dissertation research or terminal degree project. It provides financial support so the candidate can devote one year of full-time study to the completion of the dissertation or degree project.

“Rafael has worked extremely hard as a doctoral student in our department and is deserving of this prestigious award,” said Dr. Shannon Washburn, professor and chair of ACEL. “As he enters his final phase of his education, this award will allow Rafael to focus on the completion of his dissertation project that explores how to strengthen the post-harvest capacities among small-scale farmers in rural Central America.”

His research project could have a substantial effect on the future adoption of technologies that will in turn make a large impact on the lives of small-scale famers in low- and middle-income countries.

Landaverde is a graduate of Texas Tech University where he earned a masters in agricultural education and is also a graduate of Zamorano University in Honduras with a bachelor’s degree in environment and development.

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




Alumni Spotlight: Matt Elsass ’12

Matthew Elsass is a 2012 agricultural and extension education graduate who grew up in Anna, Ohio. He now lives in Sidney, Ohio. and is an agricultural educator at Marion Local High School in Maria Stein, Ohio. 

We asked Matthew to share with us what it is like to be an agricultural educator and his answers are below.

Candid headshot from hat day during FFA Week.

[ACEL]: Why did you choose to major in agricultural and extension education (now called agriscience education) as a college student?
[Elsass]: I was pulled into agricultural education by watching my own ag teachers interact with other teachers at contests, conferences, conventions, camp, etc. I saw the strong connection between them and saw what a rich professional network looks like. While in college, I developed a passion for consumer education and trying to help shrink the knowledge gap between the producer and the consumer.  

Tell us about your current job as an agricultural educator and responsibilities associated with the job?
I currently teach agricultural science courses at Marion Local High School in Maria Stein, Ohio. I teach agronomy, livestock science, AFNR, food science, agricultural business and conservation science courses. I am also the Marion Local FFA advisor as well, aiding our student leaders in planning and implementing programming to promote agriculture in our community. 

I love taking students to visit local businesses and talk to industry professionals. Many of them don’t realize the amount of agricultural industry in the community!

What is your favorite part of the job?
One of the things I like most in my job is getting to share new experiences with students! Things like watching an FFA member attend FFA camp for the first time, an officer pulling off their first major event, or having them cross the stage at the State FFA Convention all bring a smile to my face. Whether they happen in or out of the classroom, they never lose their appeal. 

Interacting with younger students is a satisfying part of my job, especially when those educational moments are led by ag science students of mine.

Did you hold any other jobs between graduation and your current job?
As a newly minted graduate, I spent a month long-term subbing in the Ridgemont High School science department. After that, I spent the first 3 years of my teaching career at Greeneview High School in Jamestown, Ohio.   

How did majoring in agricultural and extension education help prepare you for your career?
The agricultural education major (now called agriscience education) at Ohio State was crucial in helping me understand what the teaching profession entails. They were open about its hardships along with its rewards. The advisors did a good job harboring a group mentality among our classmates, just like you encounter in the ag teaching profession amongst other ag science teachers. 

As a student, what internships or other involvement were you a part of?
As a student at Ohio State, I was a member of the Agricultural Education Society (AES) and Farmhouse-ATZ Fraternity. Surrounding myself with individuals with a passion for agriculture and education was vital in helping me develop the skills to exceed in my chosen career and to practice the professionalism necessary in a school setting. I was also a student manager in the audio/video department at the Ohio Union for over two years. It was amazing meeting everyone from Bobby Knight to Nick Offerman while helping setup and do sound checks for various events. AV might seem like a strange choice for an agricultural education major, but every shift was unique. I was able to practice my people skills helping clients of the union and learn technical skills that have proven useful in the classroom. Also, my bosses were amazing!  


Attending community events with my family is one way that I share the experience of being an ag teacher. My kids are always excited to see “Daddy’s students”!

How are you involved in your community outside of your job responsibilities?
I am a member of the Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators (OAAE). I am also an Anna FFA Alumni member, Ohio FFA Alumni member and parishioner at Sacred Heart of Jesus church in McCartyville, OH. With Sacred Heart, I have been a CYO Basketball coach in the past. 

Why should someone reading this consider a career in agricultural education?
Anyone that enjoys helping others find their passion in life and guiding them toward a life of fulfillment and community service should consider becoming an agricultural educator.




Collins-Warfield awarded AGGRS

Amy Collins-Warfield was recently awarded the Alumni Grants for Graduate Research and Scholarship also known as AGGRS. This program provides small grants up to $5,000 to support the research and scholarship of doctoral or terminal master’s degree candidates for their dissertations or thesis.  

This annual competition takes place during autumn semester and is tied to financial need. Awards are made on the merit of the proposal, which must be for work that is essential to the dissertation or thesis. 

Congratulations Amy!