News Release: Shaffter awarded national agricultural education scholarship

Paige Schaffter, a senior in agriscience education from Edon, Ohio, has been selected for the 2020 Upper Division Agricultural Education Scholarship from the National Association of Agricultural Educators.

NAAE awards the $1,500 scholarships to twenty students across the United States. The purpose of the scholarship is to offset expenses during the recipients’ student teaching experience and selection was based on academic performance, as well as on leadership and service activities. Schaffter will be student teaching with Pettisville High School in Pettisville, Ohio during the 2021 Spring Semester.

“We are thrilled to hear that Paige has been selected as a recipient of this scholarship,” said Dr. Shannon Washburn, professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership at The Ohio State University. “Paige is deserving of this national recognition and this scholarship will help her as she works in a full-time student teacher position with evening and weekend responsibilities that are part of the agricultural education profession.”

The agriscience education major at Ohio State prepares its students to acquire a license to teach agricultural science in secondary high schools in Ohio and across the country, with extensive training in agricultural science, educational psychology, instructional methods, and youth development. For additional information on the agriscience education major, visit acel.osu.edu or call 614.247.6358.

Whittington selected as president-elect of NACTA professional society

Dr. M. Susie Whittington, professor of agriscience education in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL), has been selected as president-elect of the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agricultural (NACTA). NACTA, which was formed in 1955 as a professional society, focuses on the scholarship of teaching and learning in agriculture and related disciplines at the postsecondary level. Members of NACTA are from two-year and four-year colleges, both public and private.

Whittington will serve as president-elect for 2020-2021 and will take over leadership of the organization at the 2021 annual conference, which is scheduled to be held at Ohio State’s Wooster campus in June 2021.

Since joining the department in 2000, Whittington has taught a variety of courses in the agriscience education major, preparing students to become high school agricultural educators through teaching methods, cultural proficiency, and program planning, as well as graduate courses in data collection and in advanced teaching methods.

In addition to her faculty role with ACEL, Whittington serves as executive director for Ohio State’s Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP), which is a university-wide program focused on student success and development that allows students opportunities to engage in high impact practices that cater to their individual interests and needs.

“We are so proud in ACEL and Ohio State to have our very own Dr. Susie Whittington serve as president in this premier international organization,” said Dr. Scott Scheer, professor and interim chair of ACEL. “NACTA is fortunate to have Dr. Whittington in this role because she brings in a wealth of national and university leadership experience from serving as president in the American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE) to the university-wide Director of STEP at Ohio State. NACTA will certainly thrive and improve with Dr. Whittington as its president.”

“As a member of NACTA since the early 1990s, my teaching has benefitted from the talent and expertise of its members,” said Whittington. “I look forward to giving-back and to paying forward to a society that has given so much to me.”

Whittington is a three time graduate of Ohio State, earning bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in agricultural education in 1982, 1988 and 1991, respectively.

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 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.

Hickman

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.

Stollar

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.

Oglesby

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.

ACEL alumni named finalists for Ohio’s Golden Owl Award

Eight alumni from Ohio State’s Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) were named finalists for Ohio’s Golden Owl Award.

In the second year of the award program, 10 teachers from Ohio were selected as honorees, each receiving a $500 price and entrance into the finalist selection state. This award is presented in partnership with Nationwide, Ohio Farm Bureau and Ohio FFA to shed light on the contributions of Ohio’s agricultural educators. They collected over 400 nominations from local students, fellow teachers, parents and community members.

Eight of Ohio’s 10 honorees have at least one degree in agricultural education from Ohio State:

  • Christi Bachman ’89, Bloom Carroll High School
  • Nathan Birkhimer ’15, Fayetteville Perry High School
  • Hannah Everetts ’12, Edon Northwest School
  • Colin Gierke ’83, Global Impact STEM Academy
  • Sarah Lucha ’01, ’02 MS, South Central High School
  • Tyler Pope ’05, Buckeye Central High School
  • Jeremy Ryan ’11, West Muskingum High School
  • Wendi Mizer Stachler ’99 , Miami Trace High School

“It is evident that our alumni make an impact in their communities based on each of these individuals being nominated for this award,” said Dr. Scott Scheer, professor and interim chair of ACEL. “On behalf of the department, I congratulate them on their recognition and thank them for being mentors to their students, our Ohio State students and the example they set daily for the agricultural education profession.”

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.

###

News Release: Ohio State student presents at national CABLE spring conference

Ohio State agriscience education student Haley Wilson recently attended the annual spring conference for the Consortium for Advanced Bioeconomy Leadership Education (CABLE). The conference was held in early March at Colorado State University.

As a CABLE Student Delegate, Wilson completed a research project related to bioeconomy and presented it at the conference. Wilson’s project, completed with three other CABLE student delegates from across the nation, was “Beyond the Billon Ton Report: A look into the financial, technical, and motivational barriers facing the bioeconomy.” This project was sponsored by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“Haley has been a great asset to the CABLE program as a student delegate. Her expertise is in agriscience education and communication and through the CABLE program, she used these skills to show the importance of social- science in a hard-science industry,” said Dr. Caryn Filson, assistant professor of professional practice for agriscience education and faculty mentor to Wilson. “Haley had the opportunity to collaborate with other student delegates, who were trained in the traditional hard-sciences, to help them better communicate and educate their research to the general public.”

In addition to the research project, Wilson also received leadership training, networked with industry leaders and learned about internship opportunities as part of the yearlong delegate program. Delegates participate in monthly one-hour webinars, attend two four-day events, conduct campus seminars and engagement projects on their home campus and participate in mentor sessions with a faculty mentor.

“As Haley’s faculty mentor, I was proud to see her step into a leadership role among her delegate peers and use her agriscience education skills to impact future leaders in the bioeconomy,” said Filson.

The agriscience education major at Ohio State prepares its students to acquire a license to teach agricultural science in secondary high schools in Ohio and across the country, with extensive training in agricultural science, educational psychology, instructional methods, and youth development. For additional information on the agriscience education major, visit acel.osu.edu or call 614.247.6358.

ACEL Distinguished Senior: Taylor Lutz

Taylor Lutz is an agriscience education major from Bucyrus, Ohio.

As an FFA member in high school, she loved sharing agriculture with others and knew that a career in agricultural education seemed to be a great fit, as she was passionate about teaching others about the agricultural industry.

She began her college education at Ohio State, which she feels was the best fit for her as she transitioned to college from a small high school.

Now finishing her fourth year as a Buckeye, Lutz 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.

“Taylor has been active in professional development in several areas of agriculture, beyond agricultural education while at both the Ohio State ATI and Columbus campuses. Taylor is active across CFAES, in AFA and was a runner up for Ms. Agriculture, all while she has maintained strong academic standing,” said ACEL faculty in her nomination.

As a student she helped start the Collegiate 4-H Club at Ohio State ATI and served as it’s vice-president. Once she transitioned to the Columbus campus she became a CFAES Ambassador and joined Collegiate Cattle Association. She also attended the annual Agricultural Future of America (AFA) Conference and served on their student advisory team her final year.

The internships and work experiences she held during college had a large impact on her future. She worked as a loss control representative for Nationwide Insurance and oversaw northern Ohio farms for the Agribusiness Risk Management division, was an education marketing intern with Valent USA LLC where she traveled across the country to talk with diverse farmers and growers to better their marketing and communications, and she worked for CFAES Marketing and Communications where she managed social media posts and created a podcast for the college.

“Each of these experiences have helped pave the path I choose after graduation,” said Lutz.

Lutz also recently completed 14-weeks of student teaching at Northmor High School and Northmor FFA. This experience gave her the in-person experience of teaching in an agricultural education program while under the supervision of a cooperating educator.

As her time as a Buckeye comes to a close, Lutz shared that although she has too many fond memories to count, some of her best ones would simply be meeting people as an ATI and CFAES ambassador and her time with AFA.

She reflects on her major, saying “Agriscience education is a great all around major. As a wise man once said, in the agriscience education major, you will learn an inch deep and mile wide worth of information about agriculture.”

Following graduation, Lutz will be pursuing a career as a high school agricultural educator, but is also open to a career in communications and marketing in the agricultural industry.

Leading activities the CFAES booth at the National FFA Convention.

Following an Ohio State victory over Michigan.

In Ireland with the CFAES Human and Animal Interactions

Speaking at AFA.

ACEL Distinguished Senior: Brittany Weller

Brittany Weller is an agriscience education major from Bellevue, Ohio.

As an alum of a high school agricultural education and FFA, Weller recognizes the need for agricultural educators.

“As an agricultural educator, my hope is to bridge the gap between farm and consumer, and that all starts with education,” said Weller. “There are so many people in today’s society who do not know where their food comes from, and that is scary to them.”

From the first time she stepped on Ohio State’s campus, she knew there was no other option for her education, she was going to be a Buckeye!

“I remember my freshman year of high school I went to the CFAES booth [at FFA Convention], and talked to a couple CFAES ambassadors, and from that point on I was hooked. I knew that Ohio State had the best opportunities for agriscience education,” she said.

Eight years later, Weller has been selected by faculty in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership as one of 10 students to be named an ACEL Distinguished Senior.

“Brittany has been active in student organizations in CFAES, while also being a friendly face as an office worker in ACEL,” ACEL faculty noted in her nomination. “Brittany strives to maintain her strong academic standing and is passionate about caring for others and being in the ASE major. Brittany has represented OSU ASE at national professional development conferences.”

Weller just completed a 14-week student teaching experience at South Central High School agricultural education program and the South Central FFA. She is currently serving as an Ohio Teach Ag Ambassador, an opportunity that has confirmed her desire to be the in the classroom educating others. Internships with Sandusky County 4-H, Sunrise Cooperative and Ohio 4-H have also provided her with skills and lessons she will be able to apply to her teaching in the future.

She has been a member of the Poultry Judging Team, Saddle & Sirloin, Ohio Collegiate Cattle Association, Alpha Sigma Upsilon, the CFAES Banquet Committee, Agricultural Education Society and the Poultry Science Club.

In the classroom, Weller has always maintained high academics. But there was one class that she took as an elective that ended up being her favorite class from throughout her time at Ohio State.

I loved meat science with Dr. Garcia. Hands-down the best class that I took throughout college,” she said. “It wasn’t required, so I felt a little crazy for taking it because it was challenging for me, but I am so glad that I decided to do so. I learned so much in that class that I apply to both the classroom and my real life.”

Her interest in meat science also led her to being a member of the Ohio State Poultry Judging Team, following a poultry evaluation course.

“My best college memory would have to be traveling to Louisiana with my poultry judging team and placing 2nd at the contest. We had the chance to tour NOLA, eat good food, and go on a swamp tour,” she said. “It was a great trip with even better people.”

Now that her time at Ohio State is coming to an end, Weller encourages others to consider Ohio State and/or the agriscience education major because of the endless opportunities and the variety of classes.

“ACEL is also a home away from home, so being there in general is something that I enjoyed,” she said.

Following graduation, Weller plans to pursue a career as an agricultural educator in a comprehensive program, but is open to all opportunities that lie ahead.

South Central FFA’s student teacher.

At an Ohio State Football game with family.

In Italy on the Human and Animal Interactions Study Abroad.

Poultry Judging Team

Poultry Judging Team

ACEL Distinguished Senior: Caleb Hickman

Caleb Hickman is a senior studying agriscience education from Mount Vernon, Ohio.

Hickman holds a passion for aiding youth from rural areas and he knew a major in agriscience education would open countless doors to help guide the next generation of agriculturalists.

With several alumni of The Ohio State University in his family, he knew of the opportunities he would be provided as a Buckeye which ultimately led to his decision to attend Ohio State.

“I was born a Buckeye,” said Hickman. “My family instilled a passion in me for the scarlet and gray.”

In its second year, the Distinguished Senior Award recognizes top students in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership. This year, Hickman is one of 10 students to be selected by faculty for the honor.

Of his nomination as an ACEL Distinguished Senior, agriscience education faculty shared that “Caleb has been and involved and committed ASE student. He has been active in organizations at the department and university levels while maintaining an excellent academic record, strong work ethic and overall positive contribution to the program and his peers.”

Hickman has been very active in student life, participating in ten student organizations and serving on several executive teams. He was a member of FarmHouse Fraternity – ATZ Chapter, Bucket and Dipper Junior Class Honorary, Romophos Sophomore Class Honorary, Stadium Scholarship Program, Fabulous Unique Neighborhood Hall Council, Agricultural Education Society, Buckeye library Leadership, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Community Commitment.  He also served as a senator for Undergraduate Student Government.

Although he participated in student organizations, his academics were always a top priority and led him to new passions.

“In the future, I plan on helping rural communities understand the complexities of living in a diverse world. This interest was sparked after taking a course titled Toward Cultural Proficiency, which was taught by Dr. Susie Whittington,” said Hickman. “She taught us how to help others understand an array of identities, cultural differences and ways of life. I found my passion for enhancing rural communities and aiding them in understanding an array of diverse backgrounds.”

“I loved classes that challenged me to my breaking point. Teaching methods with Dr. Kitchel and experiential learning with Dr. Bowling were two classes that pushed me to my limits,” he said.

He shared that in the teaching methods course, students were taught how to handle positive criticism, but more importantly the perspective that every child has a different set of needs, and it is up to the teacher to meet those needs.

“My experiential learning course, at times, made me exceedingly angry because I was passionate about the topics that were discussed in her course,” he said. “Positive youth development plays an essential role in children’s lives, but it is a challenging concept to comprehend. For myself, this topic hit exceedingly close to home, but I am a better person because of this course.”

Hickman also found time to complete a two-year internship with Guthridge, a construction company that provided him with resources on how to communicate trade school to his future students.

“College is not for everyone, and that is okay,” Hickman said. “Gutridge provided me with talents in disciplines that I have yet mastered, and I will be a better agriscience educator because of my time spent with them.”

He also completed 14 weeks of student teaching at Big Walnut High School with the Big Walnut-Delaware Area Career Center FFA Chapter.

“Student teaching provided me with an excellent opportunity to learn from an experienced educator that cares about enhancing the future of agricultural science education,” said Hickman. “Mr. Stimmell has become a mentor that I look forward to working with in the future. I am thankful for the time spent in this classroom and I cannot wait to see what the students of the Big Walnut FFA Chapter achieve next.”

She also recently completed 14 weeks of student teaching with Marion Local High School and the Marion Local FFA Chapter.

“Agriscience education is the first step in ensuring that the future of agriculture is going to continue to flourish. Becoming an educator is more than teaching in the classroom; it is becoming a community member that has a passion for bettering the lives of children outside of school,” Hickman said.

“Agriscience education and its parameters are vastly growing, and we must work together to bridge the gap between urban and rural youth. In my opinion, agriscience education is the solution, and that is why one should consider my major at Ohio State.”

Hickman also had a few parting words for underclassmen at Ohio State. “College is filled with ups and downs but embrace each opportunity and learn from the failures. It is up to you to change your mindset to eliminate the word failure because failure is only possible when you declare it. If you have the chance to try again, do it, but never stop trying to reach your fullest potential.”

Following graduation, Hickman will be attending the University of Kentucky’s graduate program in community leadership and development. He looks forward to becoming a high school agricultural educator following graduate school.

CFAES Senator Campaign Poster

Caleb’s first day as a student teacher at Big Walnut High School.

Caleb and his FarmHouse Fraternity brothers following the 2019 Christmas dinner with faculty and staff.

At centerfield with Stadium Scholars Program friends.