The Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) has named 12 students to the 2023 class of ACEL Outstanding Seniors. These students were selected by the faculty and staff of the department for their excellence both in and out of the classroom. Leah Winchell, an agriscience education major from Creston, Ohio, was named as one of ACEL’s Outstanding Seniors for 2023.
Read about Leah’s Ohio State experience below.
Why did you choose to attend Ohio State?
I chose to attend Ohio State because they had a combined degree program, I was able to take agricultural related courses along with my education courses. I also chose to attend Ohio State because I had the opportunity to attend the Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster, close to home, to earn my Associates of Science.
What classes did you enjoy the most?
The classes I enjoyed the most were my teaching methods classes. Finally, being able to put all the theory, psychology, and content knowledge into practice was great! Building off of those teaching method courses would be my ASE Internship or student teaching. It is a great feeling to be able to put what I have learned over the past 3.5 years into practice and seeing first-hand how students respond to what I am teaching.
What student organizations have you been involved in (locally and nationally) and what roles did you hold within those organizations (if applicable)? How were these organizations beneficial to your collegiate experience?
- Ag Ed Society-, I was banquet chair. Ag ed. Society allowed me to be engaged with my cohort outside of the classroom and build deeper friendships with them.
- Delight Ministries- I was surrounded by Godly women who constantly were building each other up and serving His Kingdom. Living on my own in Columbus my junior year, it was a great comfort to have this community of women just a phone call away.
What internships did you complete and what were your responsibilities/projects as an intern? How were they impactful in figuring out your career path?
During the summers of my college career, I did my best to find jobs that would expand my content knowledge. I had jobs in greenhouses, mechanics, agronomy, animal nutrition, and on farms. I also would take classes offered by the Wayne County extension office. I attended a beef and dairy artificial insemination class on spring break and a small grains/ crops class last summer. There was always something that I fell in love with in each of these jobs, they helped strengthen my decision to go into agricultural education and teach about all of these topics.
What do you plan to do after graduation? (If you don’t have anything planned yet, THAT IS TOTALLY OK!!!!!)
After graduation I plan to teach agriculture in some capacity. My goal is to be an ag teacher and FFA advisor in the classroom in my area. If I’m not able to find a teaching position close to home, I would like to work for extension or an industry job where I will be able to educate the community about agriculture.
What stands out as your best college memory?
My best college memory would be in the fall semester of this year. Most of the seniors in ag ed traveled to FFA Camp Muskingum in October for 2 days. On the way there more of us were car sick than not and we couldn’t help but laugh at ourselves once we got there. We stayed in the State Officer Cabin, and for those that don’t know this is a huge deal! State Officers are basically celebrities. While at FFA Camp we taught lessons, played games, and built friendships while engaging with special needs learners. These learners were amazing, hilarious and so much fun to be around! After the teaching was over and we were all back in the cabin, there were some memories made that I will never forget. I definitely got to know my cohort on a deeper level after this trip. The best part was right before we were about to leave. Dr. Filson kept notes about the funny comments we said throughout the trip and when she read them, we had to guess who said them.
What advice would you give to the freshman version of yourself?
I would tell freshman Leah that college is harder than high school and it is okay to not be involved in as much. It is okay to call your mom multiple times a day when you are living on your own, even if it is to ask to see your dog. It is okay that you don’t like to party, you will make friends that feel the same way and you will go pet puppies instead. Go to new places, but always go with a friend. It is okay to outgrow your hometown friends, college is where you grow into who you are meant to be.