Where Are They Now? Adam Marx


Adam Marx graduated from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences in 2005 with a degree in agricultural education, and then again in 2008 with a master’s degree in agricultural education. Find out more about Adam Marx in our Q & A below:

Adam Marx, wife Bethany, and daughter Everly Ann

Adam Marx, wife Bethany, and daughter Everly Ann

Leah: Where your career has taken you since graduating?

Adam: In 2014, I finished my Ph.D. in Agricultural Education at the University of Missouri and now work as a teacher educator at North Dakota State University. Prior to pursuing my doctorate, I taught school-based agricultural education at Cory-Rawson Schools in Rawson, Ohio during four great years. In between those two experiences, my wife and I lived in central Wisconsin for a couple of years where I worked as a farm lender primarily serving dairy farm enterprises. Ultimately, I decided the classroom was where I belonged and wanted to work at the collegiate level.


L: What is your current role in your career now?

A: As a teacher educator and assistant professor in agricultural education I have the great privilege of helping prepare future high school teachers. I say privilege because my daily teaching and scholarship provide me the opportunity to work with some of the best people in the business. Plus, I advise people toward their dream career!


L: Do you have any advice to prospective or current students?

A: Be decisive but flexible. That may seem counterintuitive, but leave room in your life and career aspirations for alternative influences. Always work toward clear goals and don’t forget to look in the periphery at times. You just never know what kind of cool addition to your life you might experience if you leave your blinders on.


L: What fun or interesting facts would you like to share about you and your family, or even your pets?

A: My wife Bethany and I just added to our family with our firstborn. We have a daughter, Everly Ann, born on July 11, 2016. She brings much joy to our life. We have a lab/sheltie cross dog name Paisley and we recently lost our 11-year-old golden retriever, Porter. We live at the western edge of Minnesota lakes country, so the landscape around our property is beautiful with some rolling hills, trees, and of course many bodies of water. We live in a log home on 40 acres, which keeps us quite busy.


L: Any hobbies?

A: I run and CrossFit, which has drastically been cut back since we had our baby. I also enjoy woodworking and many projects, small or large, around our home.


Meet the Faculty: Mary Rodriguez

Assistant professor of community leadership, Mary Rodriguez tells us a little bit about herself for this week’s “Meet the Faculty”:

“I am originally from Texas and living in the MidWest for the first time! I did my undergrad at Texas A&M (2008) and my masters (2010) and PhD (2015) at University of Florida. In between my Masters and PhD, I served in the U.S. Peace Corps from 2010-2012 in Cameroon, West Africa! I loved my time there as an agro-forestry volunteer where I worked with women’s groups and taught at an agricultural technical school. I lived in a village in the North region of Cameroon that had no running water, sometimes had electricity, and spotty cell service.

“I am currently an Assistant Professor of Community Leadership here in the department. I hope to bring more of the community (development) perspective to leadership, Ag education, extension, and communication. I am passionate about learning about people’s food security status in order to work with them to help build more resilient communities. Currently, I am excited to start working with a local Somali Refugee community to learn more about their food security!

“In my personal life, I love to take hikes and walks with my dogs and explore new places! I have a tremendous passion for traveling and learning more about people’s cultures and ways of life! Actually, I am writing this from South Africa where I have gotten to spend the last week or so and looking forward to another week learning more about the various cultures in SA!

“I am a first generation America. My mother is from Columbia and my father from Nicaragua. I spoke Spanish as my first language and then learned English in school. I learned French and a local tribal language during my time in the Peace Corps and consider myself fluent in English & Spanish and conversational/ semi-fluent in French (I need more practice!). I have nearly forgotten all of the tribal language… no one else speaks it! My favorite food is probably pizza, however, I love good Mexican food as well! The most odd thing I have ever eaten was python in Cameroon.“

Where Are They Now? Laura Ringler


From Columbus, Ohio →  Blacksburg, Virginia → Carey, Ohio → Plymouth, Ohio, Laura Ringler has followed her passion for agricultural education. A 2007 graduate

Joe and Laura Ringler

Joe and Laura Ringler

in agricultural education from The Ohio State University, Laura spent the next two years at Virginia Tech earning her master’s in agricultural and extension education. After completing her graduate degree, Laura spent a year teaching at Carey High School, thereafter moving into her current position in 2010 as the agricultural educator at Plymouth High School.

This past year was a big year for Laura as she was awarded the New Outstanding Career and Technical Education Teacher for Ohio Association of Career and Technical Education in July.

In regard to advice for students, Laura cautions that life and college goes fast, so get involved. She says, “You will make friendships and memories that will last a lifetime..you might even find your future husband on the OSU Soil Judging Team too!”

Laura and husband Joe met while judging soils for Ohio State and they now enjoy growing and producing their own produce, with over 300 different varieties of plants in their landscaping.


Laura Ringler, husband Joe, and dog Annie

Laura Ringler, husband Joe, and dog Annie

Where Are They Now? Matt Reese


Anyone involved in agriculture is familiar with the name Ed Johnson. Ohio State alum Matt Reese said that a visit from Ed Johnson to the Reese family’s Christmas tree farm that Matt worked at as a high schooler, was what inspired him to get into agricultural communication. Little did Matt know that just a few short years after meeting Ed Johnson, he would be working for Ed at “Ohio’s Country Journal.”

While an undergrad in agricultural communication, Matt Reese worked for several years as the photo editor for the “Lantern.” With a position at The Ohio State University’s student-published newspaper, Matt was allowed the opportunity to be an “agvocate” before that was ever a thing. After spending his years in college spreading awareness of agriculture through both his relationships at the “Lantern” and performing with the OSU Men’s Glee Club, Matt graduated in 1999 only to then earn his master’s in agricultural education.

With one quarter left of classes before graduation, Matt landed his dream job as the assistant editor of “Ohio’s Country Journal.” Matt now serves as the editor. Matt divulged that the job has allowed him to develop a huge number of friendships and professional relationship with some of the best people in the world — Ohio’s farmers and agribusiness professionals.

As the editor, Matt oversees the editorial content of “Ohio’s Country Journal,” as well as posting daily content on their website. With a small staff, Matt says that he does a little bit of everything, including video work and occasional radio interviews, although he mostly focuses his energy and attention on writing, content development, and photography.

Talking about his job, Matt also admits, “I have also gained in depth knowledge on an incredibly broad array of issues impacting and impacted by the world’s most important industry and vocation: agriculture. It is so humbling and rewarding to play even my small role in such an important and vital endeavor. I believe one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind is the set of miracles that take place as a matter of course in the regular cycles required for agriculture to produce products deemed valuable by society. What an honor it is to be able to serve such an industry!”

When asked to give advice to prospective or current students, Matt was a wealth of information. Below is a list of Matt’s Top 12 Pieces of Advice:

  1. Figure out what you are good at and what you are not so good at, then capitalize on your strengths and strengthen your weaknesses. Success is a combination of maximizing your strengths, but also understanding what you are not so good at and either improving or relying on others in those areas.
  2. Be extremely careful about feeling like you deserve anything. You don’t. No one owes you anything. The second you start to feel entitled to something is the second that you need to realize that you don’t deserve it. Think about that and remember it — that applies to EVERYTHING.
  3. Do not make decisions based upon fear, selfishness or a feeling of entitlement, but instead upon doing what is right by God and others. Doing this is not easy, but extremely worthwhile long term (even if it doesn’t seem like it short term).
  4. Celebrate and enjoy what you have relentlessly instead of wishing for what you do not have. But, at the same time, relentlessly set goals to make yourself better at serving others.
  5. Get off your phone and learn how to read people and interact face to face. This will give you an automatic advantage in nearly every professional interpersonal situation.
  6. Learn to manage your time, your actions, and your words based on a clear set of personal priorities. My suggested priorities in order: God, spouse, children, extended family, work, everything else, self.
  7. Take care of your health through moderation and exercise. The days you do not break a sweat should be a rarity.
  8. Don’t drink too much pop.
  9. Being kind and forgiving others is really a favor to yourself.
  10. Make sure your heroes deserve to be your heroes (they often don’t)
  11. Network and make friends everywhere you go and in everything you do.
  12. Every career is ultimately about people.
Matt Reese with daughter Campbell

Matt Reese with daughter Campbell

Where Are They Now? Jenny Wensink


Although Jenny Wensink now calls herself a Falcon, as serves as a faculty member at Bowling Green State University, she will always be a Buckeye. Graduating from Ohio State in 2006 with a degree in agricultural communication, Jenny started her career working as a sales and marketing communications specialist for Select Sires Inc., writing press releases and working on design and content for their customer newsletter.

Three years later in 2010, Jenny came back to Ohio State and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences where she served the college in a fundraising capacity. She managed a portfolio of alumni and friends who supported Ohio State through gifts of $1,000 up to $250,000. A year later, in 2011, Jenny transitioned into a similar role at Bowling Green State University.

Starting off as assistant director of annual giving, Jenny planned reunion events and fundraising efforts while also managing a portfolio of lead annual donors.  Five years later and Jenny is still at BGSU, although she is now in the position of director of annual giving. This position has Jenny managing the overall annual giving strategy for the 170,000 living BGSU alumni. This includes managing direct mail, their phon-a-thon, and online giving channels, while also coordinating the faculty and staff giving campaign, and overseeing stewardship of annual giving programs. Although her present role doesn’t require her to be involved in the agricultural industry, Jenny says that her degree certainly prepared her well for her career. In addition to being the director of annual giving at BGSU, Jenny is currently working toward a master’s degree in public administration and should finish in 2017.

As for advice to students, Jenny says, “If you are lucky enough to receive scholarships, take a moment to learn about the people who donated those funds. In my work at Ohio State and now at BGSU, I have a better understanding of how much private giving impacts the college experience and my hope is that all students learn more about philanthropy on campus and how they can become philanthropists in their own way.”

Jenny’s husband Mark is also a CFAES grad and is an equipment salesman for Wood County Implement, a John Deere dealership. The Wensinks have two children – Emery is 5 and Beau is 1.  Outside of family time, Jenny loves CrossFit, running, reading, and of course watching college football-Go Bucks!

Jenny Wensink today.

Where Are They Now? Curtis Niedermier


In 2003, with no agricultural background, and majoring in construction systems management, Ohio State freshman Curtis Niedermier could have never dreamed he’d graduate with a degree in agricultural communication. Always wanting to be a writer, Curtis found out that the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences not only offered construction systems management as a major, but also agricultural communication. Although he switched majors, Curtis was in the honors program so he was still able to stay on track and graduate in 4 years.

Following graduation in 2007, Curtis moved to Benton, Kentucky to work for FLW (Fishing League Worldwide), the largest tournament fishing organization in the world. Just two weeks after receiving his OSU diploma, Curtis was associate editor for FLW’s print publications. He moved up in ranks first to managing editor of their magazine, to his position now as editor-in-chief for FLW Bass Fishing magazine and the FLW website. Taking up a lot of his time is managing a staff of eight, in addition to a lot of freelance contributors, and covering a couple hundred bass fishing tournaments each year, which has him traveling all over the country. He also works on producing a lot of how-to content and features, as FLW’s magazine is one of the leaders in the fishing industry and their website is one of the most heavily trafficked in the fishing industry.

Advising agricultural communication students to “be diverse in what you can do,” Curtis practices what he preaches. His job requires him to be able to write, edit, do on-camera video work, manage a lot of logistics, understand social media, and in general have a wide-ranging skill set.

Over the years Curtis has done freelance writing for Outdoor Life, Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, and other publications. He also self-published/co-authored a book called Walleye Trolling with Captain Ross Robertson from Toledo, Ohio. They started shipping books in 2013 and have since sold out. The book is filled with how-to-catch tips, techniques, and other information regarding walleye.

Outside of work, Curtis enjoys spending time outdoors. This summer Curtis and wife Andrea bought a house on 18 acres where Curtis says he is “currently figuring out what kind of trees I have.” He is very interested in learning new ways to use the land- from gardening to foraging nuts and fruit to sawing lumber to conserving wildlife habitat. With natural springs and rolling hills, Curtis says their new home and land has more potential than he has time.

Although Curtis’ job takes him all over the country, he enjoys time at home with his wife and daughter Rainey Grace, as well as bird hunting with his Vizsla dog Alberdeen, and fishing.

“Enjoy what you do, otherwise you’ll hate everyday.”

-Curtis Niedermier

Meet the Faculty: Mary Kivel

Loving to travel and hike, one of the newest faces to the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) is Mary Kivel. The graduate and eLearning coordinator for ACEL, Mary works primarily with graduate students and helps with the eLearning within the department.

For the five years prior to becoming a member of  ACEL, Mary worked with graduate students in the College of Pharmacy. Prior to working at Ohio State, Mary worked at the high school level as an English teacher in Arizona, putting her English degree she earned as an undergraduate at Ohio State to good use. She has also previously worked on outreach programs with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks.

Day-to-day, Mary helps graduate students in a variety of facets, ranging from helping them apply to the program, to assisting them in orientation, to the minute nitty-gritty daily struggles graduate students might have. As for the eLearning, Mary helps with the online master’s program along with the eLearning that the department has for the face-to-face courses.

She advises students not to be afraid to ask questions. Mary says that within the department there is always someone to help. To contact Mary about any graduate questions within the department of ACEL, email kivel.1@osu.edu.


Where Are They Now? Dan Toland


Dan Toland, a 2005 agricultural communication graduate, took the agricultural world by storm as he introduced and implemented the use of social media to promote and enhance agriculture.

Now a Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity alum, Dan spent time in college honing his communication skills as the editor of the AgriNaturalist and as an intern as a correspondent for Farm World newspaper.

Dan and wife Stephanie cheering on the Buckeys

Dan and wife Stephanie cheering on the Buckeyes

After working at a sportswear company in Wooster, OH in the role of sales, service, and graphic design following graduation, Dan landed a job at Ohio Farm Bureau Federation in 2007. At OFBF Dan was the website editor while also writing for the Buckeye Farm News and Our Ohio publications.

At the time when social media was emerging as a big driving force in the communication world, Dan was assigned the role of taking it on at OFBF. Making head-turning moves, Dan created a social media platform for OFBF that caught the attention of organizations across the country. The impact and presence that OFBF had in the digital world due to Dan’s adept attention to their social media was groundbreaking for an agricultural organization to do.

Realizing that having farmers tell their own stories was the most effective way to get a message across, Dan posted a guide for farmers to use social media for “agvocacy” on Ohio Farm Bureau’s website. This “guide” bolstered Dan’s expertise and he soon found himself traveling all over Ohio conducting training for farmers and agribusiness professionals to use social media as an effective form of their communication and agricultural advocacy.

Calls from various publications and other organizations around the country started pouring in, all asking Dan the same question- “How was agriculture applying social media?” Dan became a featured speaker, presenter, and trainer at conferences both national and international. He was invited to speak not only on behalf of the agricultural industry, but oftentimes solely because of his grasp on social media as a whole. These successes helped him transition into the role of director of digital strategy for Ohio Farm Bureau, at the same time becoming involved with the AgChat Foundation.

Today, Dan’s professional career has led him to a position as an account manager for Wilt Public Relations, which is a small startup, full-scale public relations, marketing, and communications firm based in Springfield, Ohio. Specializing in biosciences, the company helps clients in the agriculture, energy and environment, and health and wellness sectors with any and all of their communication needs.

Dan is thankful for a very progressive, trusting and flexible boss, who allows him to have a very good work-life balance. Dan works out of my home office in Findlay, Ohio, 60-75 percent of the time, while also making regular trips to the Springfield office as well as client visits and such.

“In addition to account management, you could also say that I’m the office technology nerd. I am a big proponent of taking advantage of today’s technology to enhance work and collaboration, allowing our workforce to work where they want, how they want and always be connected and have everything a their fingertips to get their job done,” says Dan.

For future or current students, Dan says that the opportunities in agriculture are there for the taking. While internships are key in gaining experience, he stressesthe importance of staying humble and applying an attitude of continual learning and improvement.

He advises to view social networks as living, breathing resumes for prospective employers, so it is a smart idea to take a solid inventory and evaluation of how you represent yourself online.

Dan loves spending time with his family, including wife Stephanie, 7-year-old daughter Lily, and 1-year-old son Oliver. A Cleveland sports fanatic, Dan admits the Cleveland Browns have shortened his lifespan, but his loyalty is unyielding, and this loyalty for Cleveland is shown as Dan admitted, “I cried for three days after the Cavs FINALLY brought a championship to Cleveland.” With the Cleveland Indians in the World Series, you can bet that family time in the Toland household is consisting of a lot of baseball-watching.

Lily Toland

Lily Toland

Dan with son Oliver

Dan with son Oliver

Where Are They Now: Jared Coppess


“After graduation I spent one year working at Walt Disney World in Orlando,”
-Jared Coppess

Jared Coppess, an agricultural communication graduate in 2003, went to work for Disney World using his skills he gained from his minor in landscape horticulture. He worked for the horticulture department and was responsible for the identification and treatment of plant materials at many of the parks, including the theme park and its designated hotel areas.

After a year spent in Florida, Jared spent some time working at a landscaping company in Greenville, Ohio, and then moved to Indiana where he joined the staff of the Indiana Soybean Alliance and Indiana Corn in Indianapolis. As the state corn checkoff was just beginning, Jared’s role was to promote the program to farmers and the grain industry, as well as lobby at the local, state, and federal levels. Before leaving Indiana to return to Ohio, Jared served as the public affairs director for both the corn and soybean organizations, covering the checkoff programs and membership organizations where he developed several successful programs including an Indiana Policy Forum and the Ohio River Barge Tour.

Today, Jared is the District Administrator for the Darke Soil & Water Conservation District and farms with his dad and brother on the side. Jared says that his current role combines two of his passions- agriculture and conservation. He works with local and state leaders to address conservation needs and issues in Darke County. He enjoys interacting with farmers and students to educate them on practices they can implement to improve their soil health.

When he isn’t in the combine, Jared enjoys watching football and cheering on the Buckeyes with his family. He and wife Annette have 3 children- Graham is in the first grade, Colin is in his second year of preschool, and their youngest, Evelyn, turned one this past spring. Also part of the family is an 8 month old golden retriever named Layla.

Jared Coppess, wife Annette, and their three children: Graham, Colin, and Evelyn

Jared Coppess, wife Annette, and their three children: Graham, Colin, and Evelyn

When asked what advice to students he had, Jared replied- “My advice for students would be to enjoy their time at OSU. The campus, university and ag college have a lot of great things to offer.  Be ready and available to take advantage of them as they come your way. Networking is essential as you move forward in your career, expand your network while in Columbus.  You will be amazed how small the ag community really is once you get into your career. And finally, participate in a study abroad program.  I was fortunate enough to study at Myerscough College for a summer in England.  It was an amazing experience and I made some lifelong friends and memories.  Seek these opportunities out while at OSU!”

Where Are They Now: Melinda Witten


Having worked with Farm Bureau for more than ten years now, agriscience education graduate Melinda Witten still loves her job working within Ohio’s agricultural industry.

As a student at Ohio State, Melinda started her experience with Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF) as a freshman, where she began her interning journey that continued through all four years of her undergraduate studies. Loving the organization, she knew that OFBF was where she wanted to spend her career once she “grew up.”

After graduating in 2007, Melinda spent her first two years post-college as the organization director in northwestern Ohio before transitioning to a new role training county office staff statewide.

Today Melinda still works for Farm Bureau, but her role has changed to the director of leadership programming. Overseeing the Young Ag Professionals and AgriPOWER Leadership Institute programs, Melinda gets to work with young professionals, farmers, and leaders in the ag industry from all across the state. To quote Melinda about her current role, she is enthusiastic and says, “I LOVE IT!”

Having once been a student aspiring to work in the agricultural industry herself, Melinda has advice to students-

“Be open to any and all options. I know that sounds a little odd coming from a person who has only worked for one employer, but I thought I only wanted to be an organization director. Through time, I learned that I needed to be open to opportunities that came my way. Man, I am glad I did. I am in my dream role.”

She also advises students to meet and connect with as many industry leaders as possible, sharing your vision and goals with them. By sharing your passions with them, they will be able to work with you and connect you with the right individuals to help make your visions a reality.

Melinda Witten

Melinda Witten

When she isn’t working for Farm Bureau, Melinda spends her time at home being a farm wife and mother. Meeting her husband in plant biology class at Ohio State, she used the pickup line, “I really like your sweet corn,” referring to the Witten Farm sweatshirt he was wearing. Happily married now with two children, Melinda is now an active part of Witten Farm, and helps to pick produce (including sweet corn) on the nearly 500 acres of produce that is sold in over 22 retail stands throughout Ohio.

Leaving students with one last bit of advice, Melinda says, “Your work ethic and attitude will be the biggest factors in your success. Study really, really hard in college but don’t forget to have a little (a lot!!) of fun while you are there.”