ACEL alumni board announces 2021 awards

The alumni board of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) at The Ohio State University is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2021 ACEL Alumni Awards.

One mission of the alumni board is to recognize department alumni for the outstanding work they are doing in their careers and communities. This mission is accomplished through the annual awards program. For 2021, seven alumni have been selected for mentor to students, young alumni, and distinguished alumni awards.

“The nominations were overflowing in 2021 and we know there are ACEL alumni truly making a difference in our communities,” said Nicole Volk ‘16, ACEL alumni board president for 2021. “I wish we could have awarded all our nominees as award, because each one is truly deserving of the honor.”

Dr. Brooke Beam and Allison Ryan were presented the Young Alumni Award. This award is given to an alum under the age of 34 who has demonstrated professional and/or personal service achievements worthy of recognition.

Dr. Brooke Beam is a three-time alum of the ACEL department graduating with her bachelor, masters, and doctorate degrees in agricultural communication, graduating in 2012, 2014, and 2017, respectively. She currently serves as the agricultural and natural resources/community development educator with Ohio State Extension in Highland County. Beam incorporates technology, hands-on demonstrations, and videos to keep her community engaged. She also owns and operates a grain farm in Clinton County.

Allison Ryan is a 2008 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communication. She is the director of marketing and communications at MVP Dairy LLC in Celina, Ohio. Ryan uses her extensive dairy background and agricultural communication degree to promote Ohio’s dairy community and share farming experiences with consumers.

The Mentor to Students Award, which recognizes alumni who have been mentors in facilitating the growth and future of Ohio State students, was presented to Susan Farr and Abbey VanTyne.

Susan Farr graduated with a degree in agricultural education in 1992. She taught high school agricultural education and served as an FFA advisor for several years before serving as the director of the Help Me Grow project with the Paulding County Board of Developmental Disabilities. She now works as an intervention specialist with the Vantage Career Center in Van Wert, Ohio.

Abbey VanTyne is a two-time graduate of ACEL, completing a bachelor’s degree in agriscience education in 2016 and a master’s degree in agricultural communication, education, and leadership in 2021. Since 2016 she has been an agricultural educator with Norwayne High School and has willingly hosted Ohio State’s agriscience education students for their early field experience and student teaching requirements.

Dr. Corey Cockerill, Dr. Stacy Gartin, and Bruce Zimmer were recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award, which recognizes the professional achievements and personal service achievements of ACEL alumni.

Dr. Corey Cockerill earned a bachelor in agricultural communication in 2000. She also obtained a master’s degree in rural sociology and a doctorate degree in environmental sociology policy and communication from Ohio State. Cockerill is an associate professor of communication arts and agricultural communication at Wilmington College. Before her position at Wilmington, she was an electronic communications manager for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

Dr. Stacy Gartin completed his master’s and doctorate degrees in agricultural education from Ohio State. Gartin has been a faculty member of West Virginia University’s Agricultural and Extension Education Unit since 1984 serving as chairman from 1992-1996 and 2002-2009. Before joining the WVU faculty, he was a visiting assistant professor at Purdue University and a vocational agricultural teacher at a high school in Colorado.

Bruce Zimmer earned a master’s degree in agricultural and extension education from Ohio State in 1988. Zimmer’s career with Ohio State Extension spans more than 30 years. Since 2016, he has served as the 4-H and youth development educator in Washington County. From 1989-2016 he worked as an educator in Monroe County.

The ACEL Alumni Awards are typically presented at the department’s annual banquet, which did not take place in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The recipients will be recognized at an event in 2022.

The ACEL alumni board comprised of 12 alumni members, three from each program area and three at-large positions, as well as one student from each program area. The mission of the board is to connect alumni to current ACEL students, connect alumni with each other, and to recognize the alumni for the outstanding work they are doing in their careers and communities.

If you have witnessed an ACEL alum doing extraordinary work, consider nominating them for an ACEL Alumni Award. Nomination forms for the 2022 ACEL Alumni Awards are now available and are open until January 31, 2022. Visit our website to learn more at