News Release: Blue attends the Smithfield Foods Explore Seminar

Kalyn Blue with a Smithfield Foods painted pig statue.

Kalyn Blue, an agricultural communication major from Hamler, Ohio, recently attended the Smithfield Foods Explore Seminar in Smithfield, Virginia. During this experience, attendees worked alongside industry leaders to explore real-world protein industry problems utilizing the integration of cross-collaborative teams.

Blue was selected as one of five undergraduate students out of the 25 students to attend this seminar.

“I admire Kalyn’s initiative to apply for this seminar and attend the Smithfield Foods event,” said Dr. Shannon Washburn, professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL). “This experience provided her with opportunities to network with professionals from around the country and gain additional skills and knowledge that will benefit her in her future career.”

At the summit, Blue was able to learn about the company and career opportunities, tour the largest bacon packing plant in the United States, and network with many other students.

“During my time in Smithfield, I learned that there are many career opportunities in the meat industry. I was also put into a group of four other students and formulated a bacon recipe. We worked in groups to truly see how the different teams of Smithfield work together to complete goals,” said Blue.

Blue is a senior at Ohio State and is an active member of the Meat Science Club.

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


ACEL travels to 95th National FFA Convention

At the 95th National FFA Convention the ACEL community had representation at the trade show and had many students recognized on stage.

The Ohio State College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences and its Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership engaged with alumni and many prospective Buckeyes answering their college questions.

During the convention, ACEL shared about the academic programs it offers, while meeting FFA members and advisors from around the United States through social media campaigns using a mini mic.

Students were asked to answer our trivia questions on FFA, Ohio State, and college. Their answers were combined to create Instagram Reels.

During the American Degree Ceremony on Saturday, 25 ACEL students were recipients of the highest honor in the organization.

ACEL was pleased to meet everyone at the annual convention and looks forward to next year.

The Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership is home to more than 300 undergraduate and graduate students who are preparing to become communicators, educators and leaders in our communities through academics, research, extension and outreach.


Alspet and Watkins Named Royal Buckeyes

Homecoming court members are chosen based on their leadership qualities, Buckeye spirit, integrity, and achievement. The court selection process begins with a paper application, based on these application scores and students GPA, individual interviews are offered and conducted. The scores from the application and interview are combined to determine sic members for the court.

The Ohio State ACEL Department was pleased to see four students from our department on the CFAES Wooster Campus Court:
Raegan Alsept, junior, agricultural communication and community leadership
Faith Galavich, sophomore, agriscience education
Laura Scholl, sophomore, agriscience education
Hannah Watkins, sophomore, agricultural communication

Alsept and Watkins were announced as the two Royal Buckeyes for the Wooster campus.

After announced at the coronation ceremony, these two spent the weekend on the Columbus campus participating in the parade, fireworks and were even announced at the Shoe prior to the Ohio State versus Rutgers game.

Both students are deserving of their role and have a big year ahead of them.

Alsept said she hopes to serve students and the community while also raising the morale of Wooster’s campus during her role as a Royal Buckeye.

Being nervous about applying for the court is normal, but Watkins says, “get out of your comfort zone and go for it. This opportunity is like no other, so jump at the chance to apply.”

Current ACEL Buckeyes interested in applying for their campuses Homecoming Court in 2023 should look for application announcements at and in the ACEL Nutshell.

Welcome new ACEL Buckeyes!

On Monday, August 22, 13 new students attended the CFAES/ACEL pre-convocation. These students are first year freshman, transfer students or have transitioned from an Ohio State regional campus to Columbus.

While not all new ACEL Buckeyes were in attendance, we’re glad we got to meet these 13 and wish all new students an easy transition to their time with us!

Rockers hired as assistant professor at TSU

Alyssa Rockers stands in front of a Tennessee State University sign on their campus.


Congratulations to recent graduate Dr. Alyssa Rockers ’22 PhD who has been hired as an assistant professor of agricultural media and communications at Tennessee State University.
Rockers graduated earlier this month with a doctorate in agricultural communication, education, and leadership during our summer commencement ceremony.

Rex works as safari tour guide

Bradi Rex and Mrs. Ramsier in front of the safari bus.

Rex and Ramsier


Bradi Rex, a sophomore studying agriscience education, worked at The Wilds in Cumberland, Ohio as a tour guide.

Rex drove the open air safari bus while giving a fun filled tour about various endangered and extinct in the wild exotic animals. The mission of The Wilds is to lead and inspire by connecting people and wildlife.

She even had a few ACEL faces on a tour this summer, as Mrs. Ramsier, ACEL program coordinator at Ohio State ATI, and Dr. Filson, associate professor of agriscience education, visited with their families.

While students majoring in agriscience education complete their internship requirement through field experiences, many students gain additional educational opportunities like this one to broaden the knowledge about food, agricultural, and environmental sciences.

Kraus defends master’s project

Screenshot of Mary Rodriguez, Jera Niewoehner-Green and Erika Kraus.


Congratulations to Erika Kraus on the successful defense of her master’s project “Addressing Gender Inequality in Morocco through Partnership with a Women’s Cooperative.”

Dr. Jera Niewoehner-Green, assistant professor of community leadership, served as Erika’s advisor. Dr. Mary Rodriguez, associate professor of community leadership, was her committee member.

Congratulations Erika!

Mellott attends AFA institute

Lauren Mellott in front of a field in California.
Lauren Mellott, a junior studying agriscience education, recently attended the Agriculture Future of America (AFA) Crop Science Institute in Sacramento, California.
Mellott was selected from a national pool of applicants to attend. While in California, she had the opportunity to network with a variety of professionals, companies, and young leaders in the industry, as well as experience diversity in crops, ideas and individuals in California and around out country.
A group of AFA participants in front of a field and mountain range in California.
Mellott’s participation in the educational experience will provide her with knowledge and experiences to share in her own agricultural education classroom.

Internship Spotlight: Cluxton interns with Ohio Farm Bureau

Carlie Cluxton stands in front of a photo backdrop with Reagan Feldner.

Cluxton, right, with fellow intern Reagan Feldner

Carlie Cluxton (right), a junior studying agricultural communication, completed an internship with Ohio Farm Bureau as the Ohio State Fair intern.

In her role, Cluxton worked with exhibitors and the Ohio Expo Commission to create the Ohio State Fair Land and Living exhibit. This exhibit educated fair visitors about animal agriculture, food, technology and the environment and the importance of these industries. It also hosted the Join Legislative Agricultural Committee meeting.

News Release: Lawson hired as assistant professor of agricultural communication at Ohio State

Headshot photo of Dr. Cara Lawson

Lawson, 2022

The Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) at The Ohio State University is pleased to share that Dr. Cara Lawson will join our department as an assistant professor in agricultural communication

“I am excited to welcome Dr. Lawson back to Ohio State to be part of our faculty,” said Dr. Shannon Washburn, professor and chair of ACEL. “Her experiences as a professional in the industry, as well as her passion for developing students into great communicators and researchers make her an excellent addition to our department.”

In this new role within the department, Lawson will engage in advancing the agricultural communication program through teaching and research by teaching undergraduate courses in agricultural communication and graduate courses that serve students across our department. She will also serve as an undergraduate academic advisor, work with our faculty and students in Columbus and at Ohio State ATI.

“I am honored and excited to join the faculty at Ohio State and look forward to engaging students and stakeholders in teaching and research opportunities,” said Lawson.

Lawson received a bachelor of science in agricultural education and a master of science in agricultural communication from Ohio State and a doctorate in agricultural communication from Texas Tech University. Most recently she was an instructor of agricultural communication at Oregon State University.

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