“Kasey Miller: Involved College Student and Business Owner”

By Megan Maurer
agricultural communication student

“I’m always dancing; I’m addicted to Red Bull; I love to bake.” These are the words of one unique individual. She is your average college student; she has hobbies; she goes to class; she completes her course work; she participates in multiple extracurricular activities. But one thing sets Kasey Miller apart from the rest of the students within The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; she is also a business owner.

“A typical day this semester would be waking up at 6:30 to commute to campus for my 8 am class…Then I have a little bit of break in between classes and try to work on homework and client communication, and making sure my calendar is up to date and I’m not missing any appointments I had scheduled with potential clients. Then I’ll go to my next class, and once that is over on most days I would head to either a cheer practice or tumbling practice where I have to supervise. Or while they were in season, I had games during the week. Depending on the day or time the sunset I would typically have pictures scheduled for after whatever I had going on with cheer. …So running from one thing to another was really all I did. And thrown in throughout would be meetings and events.”

Kasey is currently a junior studying agricultural communication at The Ohio State University.  As an agricultural communication student, Kasey not only studies photography and its’ role in agriculture, but coursework also includes publication design, web design and journalism and their roles in agriculture, which all benefit Kasey’s goals within her business. She is a newly activated member of Sigma Alpha, a professional agricultural sorority within CFAES, and is an active member in Ohio State’s Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow club. She commutes to the Columbus campus from her hometown of Pataskala, which calls for a lot of early mornings and late nights.

“She’s very organized,” said Dr. Emily Buck, professor of Agricultural Communication at Ohio State, “I mean she is always professional, that’s the thing about Kasey. She’s got like a sweet, bubbly personality, but she always gets stuff done and cares about how things are done.”

Not only is she actively involved through Ohio State, but Kasey also participates in volunteering at the Columbus Metropolitan Libraries and is an assistant coach for her high school’s cheerleading team, all on top of running her successful photography business.

“When I was really young I swore I was going to be a wedding dress designer and my original dream for college was to go to New York City and go to FIT for fashion merchandising,”

During her senior year of high school, Kasey struggled to figure out her path in life. She has always been a creative person with even bigger dreams, and she was always crafting small business-like ways to make herself some money, including when she exhibited pigs through 4-H.

Kasey Beth Photography was established in 2017, and specializes in wedding and senior photography across the state of Ohio. The business is booming and its success can be credited to Kasey’s time spent on learning the ins and outs of photography. Just this last October she shot over 30 sessions and three weddings.

Throughout her photography career, Kasey has collaborated with vendors and her team of fifteen seniors to create a styled photoshoot that helps promote her senior clientele. The team includes seniors from various high schools surrounding Pataskala, and they are responsible for promoting Kasey Beth Photography on social media once a month in order to receive money back through referrals. Along with the styled shoots, Kasey works along with other photographers throughout Ohio as a second photographer in for various events and weddings.

“I think that is one of the reasons I was able to take off so successfully,” Kasey said when asked about investing into her business. “…I was willing to invest into myself and the business so it could thrive.”

Kasey spent all the money she had saved through 4-H to invest in a professional camera and equipment, online photography courses and workshop after workshop so she could gain knowledge from industry professionals and leaders. Not only did Kasey invest her own time and money into getting her business off the ground, but her parents were also a big factor in the success of Kasey Beth Photography.

“My Dad came from nothing and has built an incredibly successful business all on his own. He instilled an entrepreneurial spirit in me from a very young age and fostered my desire to be my own boss.”

Kasey always lends a hand to others, even with her demanding lifestyle. “Kasey is my mentor that I look up to everyday within my own business,” said Makayla Petersen, new photographer and agricultural communication student within CFAES, “Her work reflects the time she has spent into becoming an amazing photographer.”

With such a busy, hectic lifestyle it is difficult for Kasey to balance everything; she even commented on her inability to distinguish between working time and down time. Considering her array of extracurricular activities and constant increase in number of photo shoots, balancing college life with business life is something Kasey is working to improve on.

“I’m always trying to improve different areas of my business…the main thing I am looking to work on right now would be to improve client communication and turnaround time for clients.”

Kasey’s next big goal in life is to become a full time photographer right out of college. While that might not be a realistic outcome, Kasey plans to keep growing and improving where she can. She plans to continue her busy hobbies such as coaching cheer, but she hopes her business will consistently bloom through college and into the real world.

“I have doubled profits the past two years and hope to do the same for 2020 and would be at a goal I feel is good enough to live on once I graduate.”

In five years, Kasey sees herself as a married woman, hopefully working as a full time wedding photographer. Her wish is to be doing between fifteen and twenty weddings a year, and she is definitely on track to reach this objective. No matter how her business works out, Kasey is going to be content as long as she is living a happy and healthy.


This feature story was written by Megan Maurer, an agricultural communication student enrolled in the Agricultural Communication 2531 course during the 2019 Autumn Semester. Dr. Joy Rumble instructed the course.

“Breaking stereotypes and building community”

Camila Manriquez checks the water levels in an infiltrometer, a device that measures rate of water infiltration, to use for data collection in a plot of corn.
Photo credit: Cassandra Brown

By Haley Schmersal
agricultural communication student

What do you think of when you hear the word lab?

Most people picture a scientist working alone in a white coat and goggles dealing with extreme chemicals and complicated formulas on a chalkboard. While that may be the case in some labs, that is far from accurate when it comes to the Weed Ecology Lab at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC).

The OARDC Weed Lab, or OWL for short, is a place where researchers like to get their hands dirty. On a cool fall afternoon, you can find several members of the lab deep in a row of corn wearing rubber boots, baseball caps, and gloves carrying on lively conversations while collecting data for a project. While the research project may only belong to one member of the group, there are always others ready to help, even people from other labs.

This is just one of many ways the OWL lab is different from what people may expect. In the Weed Lab, researchers mainly study common types of weeds, various weed control methods, and how these weeds can impact crops in Ohio. With such dense subject matter, it’s easy to picture this as a boring job. However, the members of the lab would disagree.

The OARDC Weed Lab creates a sense of community that helps its employees flourish. This is accomplished through hands-on research, learning experiences and a healthy dose of fun. Between mentors with over two decades of experience and the occasional birthday celebration, there is never a dull moment for the researchers and assistants in the lab.

When it comes to research, the OWLs do things differently than most would expect. Teamwork is a key aspect of every day at the lab. Whether it’s something as simple as a how to format their data or as complicated as designing a new experiment, lab members are always working together and bouncing ideas off each other.

Each member of the lab has their own specializations and interests, which is beneficial for both themselves and the group. If one person is not as knowledgeable in an area, they are more than likely able to find someone who is an expert just a few doors down. In turn, this leads to people learning from one another.

Cathy Herms, Research Assistant 2 and two-decade employee said they all work together because it helps ensure the quality of the data, it keeps people motivated, and it helps people learn from one another.

Some researchers even get to work with local farmers who allow them to test different types of weed control on their properties. This gives researchers a chance to see how what they are doing can have an impact on others. Many times, the friendships with the farmers and families that they have met last beyond the length of the project.

Even with a heavy workload, employees in the lab make time for fun, friends, and food.

“In my opinion, food brings people together,” said Herms.

If an employee has a birthday, it’s going to be celebrated. During lunch time, you can find the OWLs gathered around a long table in their conference room with the scent of a homemade potluck and laughter filling the air. Lunch is also accompanied by a birthday dessert, usually consisting of Herms’ homemade brownies and ice cream.

“One thing I’ve been told is that we have more parties, birthdays, and stuff than any other lab on the campus,” said Dr. Douglas Doohan, Professor of Horticulture and Crop Science.

This type of interaction is important to everyone in the lab because it is one extra step that makes them feel appreciated and builds their sense of belonging. It also gives them the opportunity to converse with one another outside of work topics and build close relationships.

Allison Robinson, Research Assistant 2, joined the OARDC Weed Lab four years ago. When she first started working there, she was embarrassed to speak English because it was not her first language. Because of the welcoming atmosphere and the encouragement of others, Robinson eventually became more confident in herself and became close with others in the lab. She even met her husband, Ben Robinson, who also works in the lab.

“Personally, and professionally both I’ve grown a lot,” said Robinson.

But why do people become so close to one another and grow in the Weed Lab? It could be because they are required to spend so much time together. However, the people that work there know that it is due to much more than that.

Not only do the OWLs spend time together in the lab, they also spend time together outside of the lab. This is a rare feature when it comes to a workplace, and something that helps contribute to the sense of community that can be found in the lab. It also brings the employees closer together and helps them get to know each other better.

“They [The employees] don’t feel bad about coming to work in the morning,” said Doohan.

Being part of the OWLs is more like being part of a family. Everyone strives to make each other feel valuable and included, which is key in such a high paced environment. They also share the same general goals and values, something that many places lack.

“We all have the same kind of passion for learning and research,” said Herms.

Herms and Doohan have both been a part of the OARDC Weed Lab family for over twenty years, so they are essentially experts in what they do. They serve as mentors for the graduate students and guide them through any problems they may have, science related or not.

“I love working and mentoring with the grad students…” said Herms.

With years of experience under their belts, Doohan and Herms know how to most effectively lead their team. They know how to listen to people’s opinions and give them constructive feedback. They also take the time to get to know everyone personally and include everyone in the lab, even part time assistants.

At the end of the day, researchers at the OARDC Weed Ecology Lab know that they can come to work, have a good day, and do their best. When they walk through the door each morning, they know that they will be greeted with a bright smile and a warm welcome.

While the research may seem daunting at times, it can be accomplished each day by using teamwork and a combination of everyone’s strengths. The motivation for this goes back to the fact that team members know that they are valued and that they belong. This feeling is achieved through acceptance, guidance and the occasional birthday celebration.


This feature story was written by Haley Schmersal, an agricultural communication student enrolled in the Agricultural Communication 2531 course during the 2019 Autumn Semester. Dr. Joy Rumble instructed the course.

Oglesby to attend graduate school at University of Florida

Congratulations to 2020 agricultural communication graduate Meredith Oglesby, who will be continuing her education this fall at the University of Florida.

Meredith will be pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural education and communication with a specialization in communication. She will be a teaching assistant in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication,

Best of luck Meredith! We can’t wait to see you succeed in graduate school!

“Hope for a Healthy Lake”

By Abby David
community leadership student

Imagine that it’s a sweltering day in the middle of August. You’re an ambitious athlete training for a marathon, so you decide to go on a run — a 20 mile run.

Beads of sweat run down your back as you approach mile 5, and without a water bottle at hand, you rely only on the water fountains found along the path you’re running. With relief, you spot a water fountain and seek to take a swig, only to see it is covered with a black trash bag. Thinking it was broken, you shrug and keep on running.

Parched from nearly 15 miles of running in the heat, you find another water fountain covered in a black trash bag. At this point, nothing else is on your mind but water, so you tear a hole in the bag and take a drink.

Although your intense thirst was quenched, you realized later than you had ingested water filled with toxins produced by a harmful algal bloom in Lake Erie.

This situation happened in 2014 to Dr. Jason Huntley, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Toledo, during the Toledo water crisis. Lake Erie has been affected by harmful algal blooms for decades, causing health issues, green water and upset residents. Nutrient runoff and warming waters exacerbate the algal blooms and, with no intervention, the blooms are expected to become worse.

Fight Bacteria with Bacteria
Huntley said the algal bloom in 2014 happened to be located over the intake crib, causing the toxicity to reach dangerous levels. He was one of nearly half a million residents that was unable to use or consume any tap water for three days for the fear of liver issues, neurotoxicity, gastrointestinal distress and skin lesions. After long enough exposure, the toxins could even cause liver cancer.

Huntley, being a curious scientist and a caring citizen of Toledo, was inspired to study this photosynthesizing bacteria and develop solutions for the health and livelihood of the city’s people, as well as to understand its effects. Knowing that the algae production itself couldn’t be stopped, he decided to look at the situation from another angle.

“If you can’t stop nutrients going into Lake Erie, if you can’t really stop the harmful algal blooms — which we can’t — and they’re going to produce the toxin, what if there’s other bacteria in the lake that could use this as an energy source?” said Huntley.

Huntley said that the toxin is made up of amino acids that form energy in organisms. This fact sparked his idea to search for a bacteria in the lake that evolved to use this toxin as an energy source. Huntley’s search was successful.

“We’ve isolated them, we’ve shown that they can actually eat the toxin, and they break it up into non-toxic products,” said Huntley.

Huntley’s hope is to give the isolated bacteria to water treatment plants once enough studies have been conducted. The bacteria would be placed in sand filters and would remove the toxins as the water seeps through the sand. Before this can be done, however, the bacteria needs to be proven as safe. Huntley said that a solution will be available eventually.

“Science takes time and you have to prove things and reprove things and come at it from a second way,” said Huntley. “We’re working to a solution.”

Beyond the Tap
Of course, the safety of tap water is a major priority, but the algae affects citizens’ livelihoods, too. The Lake Erie Western Basin is known for its many attractions — amusement parks, water parks and, of course, the lake. Tourism is what feeds this area, and a healthy lake is essential for some businesses to stay afloat.

Brian Edwards, the director of marketing and communications at Lake Erie Shores and Islands, said that the charter fishing industry has seen the most damage.

“They have had to cancel trips or they’ve had to find different areas in the lake to go fishing because of the blooms, so it’s definitely impacted that group the most in this region,” said Edwards.

Luckily, many of the other attractions in the area have not lost business due to the algae. Edwards said that the Lake Erie area has around 11 million visitors every year.

Edwards said that a common misconception is that all of the lake is covered in algae or that all of the algae is toxic, but that isn’t the case. However, the algae is still an eyesore, even if it isn’t toxic.

“If I were to go someplace and saw the bright green algae bloom right there along the shore, absolutely I wouldn’t go in it and absolutely I wouldn’t allow my kids to go in it, I wouldn’t allow my dog to go in it,” said Edwards.

Edwards said that when there is no algae present, visitors can still do all of the activities they want and enjoy the lake as they always have.

Helping Hands
Because Lake Erie affects so many people, Huntley isn’t the only one trying to help: The Ohio State University, Kent State and University of Cincinnati, are just a few of the many universities working towards a solution. In fact, Ohio State even has an island campus that allows students to work with and study the algae up close.

Max Puckett, 18, of Oak Harbor, Ohio, attended Ohio State’s Stone Laboratory on Gibraltar Island in Lake Erie the past two years. There, he collected samples of different kinds of algae and studied it as a part of his Introduction to Biology class, where the curriculum is heavily focused on Cyanobacteria.

Puckett said that his time at Stone Laboratory has been one of his favorite memories and has learned a lot about the algae, given that the island is in the area that suffers from blooms. He hopes that there are solutions to help the lake and reduce the human impact.

These universities come together, too. Huntley said that conferences are held about the algae, where people bounce ideas and solutions off each other. Reducing nutrient runoff is one option to help by making fertilizer more expensive or adding a tax to keep people from using so much. However, these options are not guaranteed to help.

“I mean, it’s easy to sit at college, or me, sit in my office and talk about what we should do, but that’s why you’ll never hear me say that,” said Huntley. “Because life is complicated.”

There is Hope
There is a long way to go before the lake is healthy again, but it is clear that people care and are striving for solutions. It won’t necessarily be easy, but it will be well worth it.

“Yes, there’s hope, but I think it’s going to require some pretty substantial changes,” said Huntley. “People are going to have to buy in.”


This feature story was written by Abby David, a community leadership student enrolled in the Agricultural Communication 2531 course during the 2019 Autumn Semester. Dr. Joy Rumble instructed the course.

ACEL undergraduates present research

Students from the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) presented at undergraduate research forums at The Ohio State University. The University’s Richard J. and Martha D. Denman Undergraduate Research Forum was held on March 3, 2020.

Because of the closure of Ohio State’s physical campus, the Undergraduate Research Forum for the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences was cancelled and the University’s annual Spring Undergraduate Research Festival was moved to a virtual edition from April 14-21, 2020.


Caleb Hickman, a senior studying agriscience education from Mount Vernon, participated in the Denman Undergraduate Research Forum. For his research project, “Exploring the Factors that Influence Post-Secondary Enrollment in Rural Communities,” Hickman was mentored by Dr. Jera Niewoehner-Green, assistant professor of community leadership.


Marlee Stollar, a senior studying agricultural communication from Marietta, participated in the Undergraduate Research Festival. Her research project, “The Impact of Labels and Preconceptions on Ohio State Students’ Food Buying Habits” was presented at the virtual version of the event. She was mentored by Dr. Annie Specht, assistant professor of agricultural communication, and Dr. Amanda Bowling, assistant professor of agriscience education.


Meredith Oglesby, a senior studying agricultural communication from Hillsboro, also participated in the virtual Undergraduate Research Festival. Her research project, “Engaged audiences through social media in colleges of agricultural and environmental sciences,” she was mentored by Dr. Emily Buck, professor of agricultural communication.

“We’re extremely proud of our undergraduate students who have taken the imitative to perform research that will answer questions related to post-secondary enrollment, food purchasing habits and social media usage of colleges of agriculture,” said Dr. Scott Scheer, professor and interim chair of ACEL. “It is clear these students advanced their research skills by putting in many hours as they collected and analyzed data, along with preparing their results for presentation.”

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 academic programs and research available in ACEL, or to donate to student scholarships, please visit acel.osu.edu.

Three ACEL alumni named to AgGrad’s 30 Under 30


Three alumni of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) at Ohio State have been named as winners of the 2020 AgGrad 30 Under 30 Awards. Dr. Brooke Beam ’12, ’14 M.S., ’17 Ph.D., Hannah Thompson-Weeman ’11, ’12 M.S. and Jordan Bonham Rasmussen ’16 were three of 30 national award recipients.

Eighteen judges selected winners from peer and self-nominations based on contributions to agriculture, community, strength of innovation and significance of accomplishments. Recipients were placed in six industry categories: production, innovation and technology, entrepreneurship, education and advocacy, agribusiness and sustainability/food security.

“As a department, we are very excited for three of our alumni to have made this national list,” said Dr. Scott Scheer, professor and interim chair of ACEL. “Brooke, Hannah and Jordan were all very active in student organizations and internship experiences, as well as promoting the agriculture industry as students at Ohio State, so it is no surprise they continue to have a positive impact in their current careers.”

Beam was selected as a recipient in the production category. She is the agricultural and natural resources extension educator for Ohio State Extension, Highland County in Hillsboror, Ohio and earned a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in agricultural communication from Ohio State.

Thompson-Weeman was a recipient in the education and advocacy category. She is the vice president of communication for Animal Ag Alliance is Arlington, Virginia and holds a B.S. and M.S. in agricultural communication from Ohio State.

Rasmussen was selected in the agribusiness category. She is a farm marketer for Cargill in Albion, Nebraska and graduated with a B.S. in agricultural communication in 2016.

This awards program was founded by AgGradeto show the future of agriculture is bright and aims at rewarding those making the extra effort to move the agriculture industry forward.

“These 30 individuals are at the forefront of agriculture and will one day be the leaders in agribusiness, innovation and technology, education and advocacy, entrepreneurship, sustainability and production,” says AgGrad Founder Tim Hammerich in a news release.

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 academic programs and research available in ACEL, or to donate to student scholarships, please visit acel.osu.edu.




ACEL Distinguished Senior: Marlee Stollar

Marlee Stollar is a senior studying agricultural communication from Marietta, Ohio.

Stollar grew up helping family with their agritourism farm and was a 4-H member. Both of these programs fueled her passion for agriculture. After being prompted to look into the agricultural communication major by her mom and sister, a student in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership at the time, she visited campus and knew it was the major for her.

As a senior, Stollar was selected by faculty in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and leadership as one of 10 students to be named an ACEL Distinguished Senior.

Stollar has been active in Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, serving as education chair, vice president and now president. She also was a co-chair of the CFAES Celebration of Students Banquet, a member of Towers Agricultural Honorary and their reporter and service chair, along with a sister in Alpha Sigma Upsilon.

She also completed a variety of internships with Congressman Bill Johnson, Ohio State University Extension’s Community Development office, Dairy Farmers of America, Mideast Area Office and Local Matters.

“My Local Matters and Community Development roles have helped me to better realize my passion for helping others,” said Stollar. “I hope to be the communications director of a nonprofit relating to food education and access in the future.”

Education Abroad was also a part of Stollar’s experiences at Ohio State. “I would say my best college memory was going to Brazil with Alpha Zeta partners. Specifically, I really enjoyed staying with my host family. That weekend, my best memory was visiting an agritourism-type lunch place in Brazil and getting ice cream afterwards with my host sister,” she said. She also traveled to England and Scotland with the agricultural and environmental communication program.

In the classroom, Stollar excelled in her agricultural communication courses and found that her favorite courses were both within and outside of her major. However, these courses both confirmed desire to work in nonprofit communications.

“My favorite class in the ACEL department was publication design and production with Dr. Specht,” said Stollar. “I learned so much about the basics of design, which has helped me so much in internships and jobs. One of my favorite parts about the class was learning more about fonts. Fun fact–my favorite font is Avenir!”

“Another class I really enjoyed was in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs, Introduction to Nonprofit Organizations. I learned so much about the importance of nonprofits in our world today, and all of the materials were relevant and interesting. It has also further developed my passion for food access and education,” she said.

When asked why someone should consider the agricultural communication major at Ohio State, Stollar shared “Agricultural communication gives students the tools to succeed in the communication field. You learn to improve your writing, as well as your design and photography skills. The professors are very helpful as well–they are always there to assist you if you need it. I would tell students to choose ag comm to be best prepared for communication in the agricultural industry.”

Following graduation, Stollar will enroll in graduate school at Ohio State where she will work towards a master’s degree in agricultural communication.


Marlee and a jersey cow at the Waterman Ag and Natural Resources Laboratory during ACT’s annual Farmers Share.

With Meredith, comparing photos during a study abroad trip.

Recruiting new ACT members at the annual CFAES Back to School Bash.

On the CFAES Agricultural and Environmental Communication study abroad program in England and Scotland.

ACEL Distinguished Senior: Lea Kimley

Lea Kimley is a senior studying agricultural communication from South Charleston, Ohio.

Growing up on a hog farm, Lea watched her family and other farmers mold to the changes in the world around them. She knew she wanted to purse a degree in agricultural communication in order to create a platform for her to speak out for an industry that has taught her so much.

And how did she end up at Ohio State? She grew up always wanting to be a Buckeye, but once she looked into agricultural communication programs at other colleges and universities, she realized the uniqueness of Ohio State’s program.

“[At Ohio State] we are able to learn vital communication skills, but at the same time our curriculum allows us to learn more about agriculture,” said Kimley.

This year, Kimley has been named one of 10 students selected by faculty as recipients of the ACEL Distinguished Senior Award. This award recognizes top students in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL).

As a student, Kimley has been involved in the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) student organization, where she has served as president, social chair, education chair and leadership co-chair. She is also a member of Sigma Alpha, a professional agricultural sorority and served as their recruitment chair.

In the classroom she really enjoyed the public relations course and the publication design and production course, of which she became an undergraduate teaching assistant.

Kimley’s resume is also full of internship experiences, six to be exact. She completed internships with Herdmark Media, Ohio State Extension’s Agricultural and Natural Resources, Ohio’s Country Journal/Ohio Ag Net, Ohio Beef Council/Ohio Cattlemen’s Association, Shift•ology and the Wendt Group/showpig.com.

“I was fortunate to complete six internships during my undergraduate career. As a result, I interned for a variety of companies that taught me an array of skills for my future career. Each internship helped me learn more about what kind of worker I am and what environments I thrive (and don’t thrive) in,” said Kimley, “However, through each real-world experience I learned that no matter where my career path leads me, I hope to continue to advocate for agriculture.”

As her time at Ohio State came to an abrupt close in March with the closure of Ohio State’s physical campus and move to online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Kimley shared that she will remember her friendships the most.

“While I may no longer be able to live so close to these amazing people, I know I will continuously cross paths with many as future peers, colleagues and friends within the industry,” she said.

And as for her time at Ohio State and a student in ACEL, “I have grown close with my peers as well as advisors because of the inclusive ACEL community. My favorite part about being an Ohio State agricultural communication major is that I never felt like just a number, the staff genuinely cares about the students.”

Following her graduation from Ohio State, Lea will begin as the digital marketing and community manager with The Wendt Group.

Lea and friends.

At Stonehenge during the CFAES Agricultural and Environmental Communications study abroad trip to England and Scotland.

Working with a friend and coworker in the NCBA booth.

With friends, cheering on the Buckeyes.

Preparing to cheer on the Buckeyes during a home football game.

ACEL Distinguished Senior: Meredith Oglesby

Meredith Oglesby is a senior studying agricultural communication from Hillsboro, Ohio.

As a junior in high school, Oglesby was a member of the Ohio Youth Capital Challenge where she had the chance to implement a community garden at the Highland County Homeless Shelter in her hometown of Hillsboro.

Throughout the project she hand the chance to interact with residents who didn’t know about gardening or agriculture and weren’t eating the vegetables they had grown in their gardens. Olgesby worked with her county Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) educator and started hosting cooking demonstrations where residents were shown how to cook the vegetables and were provided with recipes. By the end of the summer, Oglesby saw the residents taking care of the garden without assistance from the program and enjoying the fresh produce.

When it came time for her to choose a major in college, she knew she has always enjoyed reading and writing, but she also thought about her experience with the garden and knew that communication was important, especially in agriculture.

“I had become interested in food security and hunger so I thought agricultural communication would allow me to combine a lot of things I liked to do,” said Oglesby. “I also looked at the sheet that the college has with potential jobs associated with the majors and the agricultural communication jobs sounded like fun!”

Both of Oglesby’s parents attended Ohio State, her dad graduating from a degree in the Department of Agricultural Education (now the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education and Leadership),  so she grew up as a Buckeye.

“When I was nine my mom brought me to my first Ohio State football game and I remember walking in the stadium and seeing the student section, watching script Ohio and being excited when we won the game,” said Oglesby. “After the game I looked at my mom and I said ‘I want to go here!’ And from the age of nine I had my heart set on being a Buckeye. I had no idea what I wanted to do or what college even was at that point, but I was like ‘this place is amazing.’”

Many years later as a senior in high school, she visited the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) and found that she still loved the atmosphere and everything CFAES had to offer, including the agricultural communication major.

“I didn’t apply to any other schools which in hindsight probably wasn’t the best idea, but this is where I wanted to be,” said Oglesby.

More than 12 years after her decision to attend Ohio State as a nine-year-old at Ohio Stadium, Oglesby has been selected as an ACEL Distinguished Senior. She is one of 10 students selected by faculty from the Department for the honor.

As a student at Ohio State, Oglesby has been a member of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT), serving as a CFAES Student Council representative, treasurer and secretary, Alpha Zeta Partners, where she was the Class 20 chronicler and the 2018-2019 chronicler, served as a CFAES Ambassador, participated in Buckeyethon for two years, Bucket and Dipper Junior Class Honorary, the CFAES Celebration of Students Banquet Planning Committee and was a member of the Ohio State Fair Junior Fairboard.

Education abroad programs were also a highlight of Oglesby’s college experience, as she participated in four programs. She traveled to Nicaragua in 2016 with other CFAES first year students, Australia, Brazil for six weeks with Alpha Zeta Partners and England and Scotland with the agricultural and environmental communications program.

During her senior year, she also completed a research project with Dr. Emily Buck designed to determine how the departments in one midwestern college of agricultural and environmental sciences are engaging with students. She also served as the editor of the AgriNaturalist, the annual student publication of the agricultural communication major.

In the classroom, Olgesby found the publication design and production course taught by Dr. Annie Specht to be her favorite, because she was encouraged to be creative through creating brand guides and graphics.

“I had never even heard of the Adobe Creative Cloud before her class,” she said. “This class proved to me I picked the right major.”

Agricultural communication students are required to complete two internships for graduation, and Olgesby did that and more. Completing internships with the Ohio AgriBusiness Association, Ohio State Extension Highland County, Ohio Association of Foodbanks, Ohio’s Country Journal and Ohio Ag Net and Ohio State’s Sustainability Institute, she has gained real world experience that will prepare her for career in the agricultural communication industry.

“Through my internships, specifically with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks and the Sustainability Institute, I realized the importance of effectively communicating research, data, and science,” she said. “I gained insight into how policy and communication take a systems approach in providing individuals with greater access to food. I began to understand how research and data are used to illustrate the need for agricultural and food programs in the state of Ohio.”

This internship experience, along with her time at the Sustainability Institute, solidified her decision to apply for graduate school after graduation to learn more about the impact research can have and how to effectively communicate science and research.

When asked if she has a favorite memory from throughout the past four years, Oglesby said it was hard for her to choose just one because she has loved being a student at Ohio State, but selected the opportunities to study abroad and travel the world as some of her top.

“My favorite memory from being a Buckeye is having the opportunity to study abroad in Australia. It was something I had on bucket list for years and I know that if I would have just traveled to Australia (as a vacation), I would have never have gotten to experience everything I did on my Ohio State study abroad,” she said. “My favorite moment was spending three days snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, seeing the sea turtles, clownfish and coral. I was basically living a real-life version of Finding Nemo and it is something I will never forget.”

Olgesby will begin her next chapter in the fall at the University of Florida, where she will be attending graduate school to study agricultural communication with a focus in food security and nonprofit studies. After graduate school, she hopes to obtain a communication job working for a nonprofit organization with a focus on food insecurity and agriculture.

Snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.

With friends at an Ohio State football game.

Meredith during a visit to the Ohio Union.

Oglesby with Marlee Stollar, a best friend she met through her publication design and production course.

Buchenroth awarded Ambassador of the Year in home town


Last week, agricultural communication student Kolt Buchenroth was awarded the “Ambassador of the Year” award by the Hardin County Chamber & Business Alliance.
In their news release, the stated “Kolt is known throughout the community for his dedication to helping wherever he is needed with kindness and excellence. Kolt is a behind the scenes humble volunteer that works on providing solutions for critical tests for the Alliance.”
Congratulations Kolt!