Seven ACEL students participate in global education programs

Students of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership (ACEL) spent time studying abroad during Ohio State’s spring and summer breaks. While students participated in programs in multiple countries, they all spent time learning about the unique role agriculture plays in communities across the globe.  

Aubrey Hoying, Kelsie Mannasmith, Koren Truance and Macie Wrachford participated in the England/Scotland: Agricultural and Environmental Communications program which spent about two weeks in May learning about prominent English agricultural issues and the ways through which mass media communicate with and educate the public about these issues. 

Hoying said it was interesting to see how similar, but different, agriculture is around the world. “While I was in the U.K. we visited different agriculture settings and experienced how their agriculture industry works. Each site we visited had a different type of agriculture to present – sheep, dairy, equine, crops, manure management, and more.” 

Students learned how British media both differ from and resemble U.S. media in their coverage of a wide range of social and technical issues associated with food and agriculture, including land use, foot and mouth disease, organic food production, local food systems and dairy cattle diseases. 

Dr. Emily Buck, professor of agricultural communication, and Dr. Annie Specht, associate professor of agricultural communication, led the program. Hoying, Mannasmith and Wrachford are agricultural communication majors. Truance majors in agriscience education. 

Three ACEL students participated in educational abroad programs in Costa Rica during Ohio State’s spring break in March. Lauren Mellott traveled to the Central American country as part of the Sustainable Service-Learning program, while Lindsey Okuley and Rachael Billups were in country with Alpha Zeta Partners for a program that focuses on the impact of leadership and system’s thinking in creating change in agriculture and the environment. 

While in Costa Rica, Mellott learned agriculture is complex in other countries. “This experience was a reminder that the production of agricultural goods isn’t always as simplified or easy for developing countries when compared to the United States.”  

Mellott is a senior studying agriscience education. Okuley and Billups graduated with a B.S. in agricultural communication in May. 

Drs. Mary Rodriguez, associate professor of community leadership, and Jera Niewoehner-Green, assistant professor of community leadership, serve as advisors of Alpha Zeta Partners and led the group on their global program. 

“Our college has always had a robust global education program, and ACEL faculty lead a number of these programs that allow our students to view the variety of culture, landscape, agriculture, leadership and community outside of the United States,” said Dr. Shannon Washburn, professor and chair of ACEL. “While our opportunity for student international travel was halted by the pandemic, these seven students have set an example to their classmates the importance of cross-cultural learning.”  

This was the first summer these global programs have traveled since before the global pandemic begin in 2020. While the England/Scotland program travels in odd years, many programs, including the two programs to Costa Rica, travel annually. The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) offers a variety of global education programs that provide students the opportunity to enhance their understanding of the world. To see all the programs offered, visit 

ACEL prepares communicators, educators and leaders in the food, agricultural, and environmental sciences to integrate research-based learning, practice and engagement, in ways that will advance positive changes that strengthen individuals, families and communities. For more information on the undergraduate and graduate academic programs and research available in ACEL, please visit 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *