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. Lauren Preston, a community leadership major from Canal Winchester, Ohio, was named as one of ACEL’s Outstanding Seniors for 2023.
Read about Lauren’s Ohio State experience below.
Why did you choose your major?
I chose my major because I knew I wanted to one day work in the field of agriculture. My experience in 4-H really shaped my career aspirations, specifically my county’s FCS educator Shannon Carter. I was a member of our Fashion and Nutrition Board and Shannon led the club. While I was in the State Healthy Living program Theresa Ferrari and Carol Smathers also made a huge impact on my major decision. These experiences led me to have a passion for nutrition and for educating youth and adults. Through my time at OSU, I learned I could achieve my goals by working for Extensions or with Non-profits which I hope to do one day.
Why did you choose to attend Ohio State?
Attending Ohio State was a dream I have had since I was a little girl. My grandfather and mother were both OSU graduates. Growing up my mom worked for ENR as a career counselor so as a family we would always attend different OSU events or football games. In high school, I attended OSU Stone Lab and took aquatic biology and oceanography. I loved those classes and the professors. I knew Ohio State was the school for me.
What classes did you enjoy the most?
The classes I took in the ACEL department were definitely my favorite ones. The most memorable class I had was my kinesiology class which I took as part of my youth development minor. I worked at a Nursing home for a couple of weeks and evaluated the residents on their mobility. I also had an opportunity to analyze a youth’s development. This class was super engaging and it was very different than any class I have ever taken.
What student organizations have you been involved in and what roles did you hold within those organizations?
During my time at OSU, I was a part of Collegiate 4-H at the Newark branch and in Columbus. It was great to connect with fellow 4-Hers from across the state all at OSU. I really enjoyed doing community service projects with the group. I was also a part of the OSU Club Gymnastics Team.
What internships did you complete and what were your responsibilities/projects as an intern? How were they impactful in figuring out your career path?
I worked at OSU LiFEsports at the summer camp as a Chalk Talk Leader and I worked in hiring and recruitment. I gained a lot of experience working with youth in this role and I learned how to complete lesson plans. I also worked for OSU Farm to School. I have worked for OSU Farm to School for about two years and I have helped work on numerous grants and research studies. My favorite research study was during Spring of 2022, where I taught a gardening curriculum to a Head Start Site in Columbus and Circleville. I have loved getting to see the two different sides of extension work through these positions.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
I’m not sure yet but I plan to go back for my master’s!
What stands out as your best college memory?
My favorite college memory was going to all the football games. Being in and around the stadium was such an amazing feeling.
What advice would you give to the freshman version of yourself?
Everything will work out in the end