2023 Outstanding Senior: Bethany Starlin

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. Bethany Starlin, an agricultural communication major from Logan, Ohio, was named as one of ACEL’s Outstanding Seniors for 2023.

Read about Bethany’s Ohio State experience below.

Why did you choose your major? 

When choosing my major I appreciated the flexibility I knew a degree in agricultural communication would give me. Communicators are needed everywhere and the opportunity to combine that belief with my interest in the technical side of the agriculture industry will allow me to be a valuable piece to the teams I encompass throughout my career.   

Why did you choose to attend Ohio State? 

Growing up on a small, family farm in southeast Ohio, I knew that my future was focused around the agricultural industry. With two older sisters who graduated from Ohio State and raved about their experiences, it was the only option in my eyes. A world-class education paired with countless on-campus opportunities and real-world experiences that prepare students for life after graduation makes CFAES the obvious answer. I knew that Ohio State would bless me with both personal and professional growth experiences that would carry me far into the next chapter after college. Being a Buckeye is a family tradition and one that I couldn’t be more proud of.  

What classes did you enjoy the most? 

The best thing about my degree program was the opportunity to learn under extremely knowledgeable and caring professors. Dr. Cara Lawson helped hone in my writing skills, Dr. Annie Specht taught me so much about design, and Tom Stewart was a great encourager throughout it all. Although just a few examples, I firmly believe each class was valuable thanks to the individuals who taught it.  

What student organizations have you been involved in and what roles did you hold within those organizations?

In my early years at Ohio State, I was extremely involved in Ohio FFA where I served as both the State Vice President and State President. This involvement opened the door to membership in many professional agriculture-focused organizations like the Ohio Soybean Council, Ohio Ag Council, Ohio Farm Bureau, and the American Soybean Association. While on campus, I became involved with several student organizations with primarily involvement in the Agribusiness Club and the Agricultural Systems Management Club. These organizations have served as fantastic networking opportunities and have opened the door for many memorable experiences to take place like meeting with industry professionals and several travel opportunities.  

What internships did you complete and what were your responsibilities/projects as an intern? How were they impactful in figuring out your career path? 

Throughout my time at Ohio State I’ve been fortunate to complete a variety of internship experiences that were vital in understanding what I wanted to do post-graduation. As a research intern with the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology through the World Food Prize, I conducted research on the role gender differences play in agricultural extension efforts in rural, western Kenya. As the Ohio FFA News Reporter for Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net, I applied the skills I learned in the classroom to write a monthly news column covering current Ohio FFA events. As a marketing intern with The Ohio State University Leadership Center, I gained understanding of the role social media plays in marketing. As the communications intern with Aimpoint Research, I’ve learned the ins and outs of service-based product marketing and the importance of streamlining communication with clients through social media. Finally, as a product management intern for Trimble Agriculture, I discovered a passion for the precision agriculture side of the industry, ultimately leading me to my full-time placement after graduation. Internships were arguably the most important piece to my college education and I’m thankful for the support Ohio State provided in securing those opportunities.  

What do you plan to do after graduation?  

After graduation I’ll be joining Trimble Agriculture as an Applications Engineer within their Rotational Development Program. I look forward to applying the skills gained during my agricultural communication coursework to my career in precision agriculture.  Combining my passion for advocacy and communication while leveraging my academic accomplishments in both the sciences and mathematics will hopefully afford me the opportunity to pursue effective progres in bettering the precision agriculture technologies available to farmers worldwide.  

What stands out as your best college memory? 

The last four years have been filled with many amazing memories. However, like I’m sure many others will agree, nothing quite compares to the experience of being in the Shoe each Saturday for Buckeye football. Our college experience was disrupted greatly by the pandemic and I will never forget the feeling of returning to the Shoe for the first time in the fall of 2021 — a sign of hope and light at the end of a long, dark tunnel.  

What advice would you give to the freshman version of yourself? 

These will without a doubt be the best four years of your life so far…but the best is still yet to come. Let these four years be filled with memories, new experiences, friendship, and discovery, but also let these four years serve as a foundation for the life ahead of you. This is your opportunity to become exactly who you want to be! 

Anything else you want to add

I couldn’t be prouder to be a soon graduate of this university and college. Ohio State has been my favorite chapter yet and I’m so thankful for the way it has prepared me for what’s next. As always, how firm thy friendship.  

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