Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Mary Rodriguez

Dr. Mary Rodriguez is an assistant professor and academic advisor for the community leadership program in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL).

Rodriguez received her B.S. in Agricultural Education in 2008 from Texas A&M University, he rM.S. in Agricultural Education in 2010 from University of Florida and went on to complete her Ph.D. in Agricultural Extension at UF in 2015.

Dr. Rodriguezhas conducted research in multiple areas including women and community development, building resilient communities, developing community food security, and community leadership.

As a Buckeye, Dr. Rodriguez has taught a variety of classes in our department including research methods, extension education in developing countries, foundations of personal and professional leadership, and methods of teaching in nonformal learning environments.

In addition to her involvement in ACEL, she also holds memberships in several organizations including Association of Leadership Educators (ALE), American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE), and the Association for International Agriculture and Extension Education (AIEE).

We are so glad to have supportive faculty like Dr. Rodriguez in our department!

Reid shares experiences with future students at university’s Buckeye Bound event

This past weekend, community leadership student Deja Reid served on a panel of current Ohio State students at the Buckeye Bound event.

Buckeye Bound is a series of visit days for admitted students. Deja, and her fellow current Buckeyes, shared with the high school students about their experiences at Ohio State.


Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Jera Niewoehner-Green


Dr. Jera Niewoehner-Green joined the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) in August 2017 as an assistant professor of community leadership.

Niewoehner-Green teaches courses for ACEL about foundations of personal and professional leadership, youth organizations and program management, the leadership capstone project and critical perspectives in leadership development.

Prior to becoming a Buckeye, Dr. “N-G”, as the students call her, spent more than nine years as a public school educator for Metro Nashville Public Schools teaching Spanish and leadership development courses, as well as working outside the classroom as a Career and Technical Education academy coach for the Academies of Nashville, before returning to graduate school to obtain a doctorate in leadership development at the University of Florida in 2017. Her research at UF focused on women’s empowerment participation in leadership roles in rural Honduras.

She earned a B.A. in Spanish from Sweet Briar College and a post-baccalaureate teaching certification from St. Edward’s University, where she studied abroad in Spain at the University of Seville. She also completed her student teaching in Monterrey, Mexico through instructing pre-service primary teachers at the Escuela Normal Migeul F. Martínez. During her tenure at MNPS she completed her M.Ed. in community development and action at Vanderbilt University with research focused on high school service-learning to address community issues.

We are so thankful to have Dr. N-G as a member of our ACEL family!

ACEL Research: featuring Dr. Scott Scheer

Dr. Scott Scheer, along with coauthors Jacqueline M. Nolting (ACEL PhD alum) and Andrew S. Bowman, published an article in the research journal Zoonoses titled, “Perceptions and attitudes of swine exhibitors towards recommendations for reducing zoonotic transmission of influenza A viruses.” According to the abstract for the study, “Although significant efforts have been made to increase signage at swine exhibitions (warning of risks associated with eating/drinking in animal areas), a majority of respondents report eating/drinking in the barn and are unwilling to change their behaviours. This study provides evidence that developing and disseminating static recommendations to reduce zoonotic disease transmission is not enough to change human behaviour to prevent future variant IAV infections associated with swine exhibitions.”

Nolting, J. M., Scheer, S. D., & Bowman, A. S. (2019). Perceptions and attitudes of swine exhibitors towards recommendations for reducing zoonotic transmission of influenza A viruses. Zoonoses, 41, 1-5. DOI: 10.1111/zph.12574

For more information, see: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/zph.12574


News Release: ACEL students selected to join CFAES ambassador team

Five students from the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership were recently selected to join the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) Ambassador Team. The CFAES Ambassador Team members give prospective families tours of our college campus, serve as liaisons to the Ohio State student body to increase awareness around our college and attend CFAES events as representatives of the college.

ACEL students recently selected to join the team include:

  • Alexis Elliott, agricultural communication, Mount Victory, Ohio
  • Ethan Keller, agricultural communication, Sharon Springs, New York
  • Olivia Pflaumer, agriscience education, Chillicothe, Ohio
  • Paige Schaffter, agriscience education, Edon, Ohio
  • Brittany Weller, agriscience education, Bellevue, Ohio

“Their selection to serve as an CFAES ambassador not only signifies their abilities to represent our department, but to represent CFAES as a whole,” said Dr. Tracy Kitchel, professor and chair of ACEL. “Our students tend to be well-represented among the college ambassador ranks because of our department’s dedication to and study of connecting with people in and around our industries and communities.”

These five students join 12 ACEL students currently serving as a CFAES Ambassadors. They include: Emma Lynn Johnson (community leadership), Wyatt Jones (agriscience education), Taylor Lutz (agriscience education), Cody McClain (agriscience education), Micah Mensing (agriscience education) Abby Motter (agriscience education), Cody Myers (agriscience education), Meredith Oglesby (agricultural communication), Milan Pozderac (agriscience education), Sydney Snider (agricultural communication), Kayla Walls (agriscience education) and Meghann Winters (agricultural communication).

CFAES ambassadors are selected each Spring Semester through an application and interview process.

ACEL Students named to Autumn Semester Dean’s List

During Autumn Semester 2018, 81 students from the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership were named to the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Dean’s List.

Congratulations to these students for their outstanding work in the classroom.

Agricultural Communication
Madeline Bauer
Amber Bergman
Alexis Elliott
Keri Felumlee*
Hanna Fosbrink
Joanna Frankenberg
Courtney Fulton
Christina Gaerke
Paige Hamrick
Jane Hulse*
Mary Jenkins
Kathaleen Kuhn
Kasey Miller
Mariah Morris
Emma Newell
Meredith Oglesby
Bailey Pees*
Makayla Petersen
Haley Plahuta
Louisa Pullins
Eva Scott
Sydney Snider
Maria Stavridis
Zachary Steiner
Linnea Stephens
Marlee Stollar
Kamala Sweeney
Kalyn Swihart
Maura Waitkus
Meghann Winters
Jessica Woodworth
Kiersten Wright

Agriscience Education
Gabrielle Adair
Jenna Alfman
Ellen Andres
Megan Bergman
Maryellen Bliss
Makayla Eggleton
Kristen Eisenhauer
Troy Elwer
Kayla Erickson
Katie Fath
Mitchel Gehret*
Caleb Hickman*
Alexis Howell*
Wyatt Jones*
Alaina Kessler
Klayton Kilzer
Samantha Kline
Elizabeth Landis
Madison Layman
Taylor Lutz
Cody McClain*
Josie McDowell
Summer McLain
Micah Mensing*
Chloe Metcalf
Abigale Motter*
Devon Mullen
Julia Naus
Taylor Orr
Milan Pozderac
Ellyse Shafer*
Sydney Stinson
Claire Vilagi
Kayla Walls*
Barbie Warthman
Brittany Weller
Chloe Wilson*
Emily Wilson
Haley Wilson

Community Leadership
Madison Allman
Trenton Baldwin
Melanie Fuhrmann*
Courtney Hovest
Allyson Irwin*
Emma Johnson
Sarah Longo*
Allyson McCurdy
Amelia Michaels
Emily Paulsen
Kayla Ritter*
Rachel Stoneburner*

* indicates a 4.0 GPA

Alumni Spotlight: Xiang Gu ’16

Xiang Gu came to The Ohio State University as a community leadership major for autumn semester 2012 from Guangzhou, Guangdong, China. He was the first freshman to declare this new major (formerly known as specializations of the agricultural and extension education major). After four years in Columbus, “Shaun” graduated with a bachelor of science. Shaun now works for The Ohio State University in Shanghai, China as an alumni relations and event planning specialist with the China Gateway Office.

Why did you select the community leadership major?
When I received the [admittance] offer from Ohio State, I also got a list of “recommended majors”. I wanted to pick a major with less Chinese student and this major caught my eye. After the discussion with my parents I made this bold, but right decision.

Why did you choose to attend The Ohio State University?
Good question for international students – most of us haven’t been to the United States of America before we started our campus life, including me. So we choose the school based on the information online and from our friends. My reasons were: 1. good academic reputation, 2. affordable tuition fee and 3. located in urban area.

How did your education at Ohio State influence your choice of career or your career path?
Well I think my job now is kind of self-explained. Ohio State not only offered me great academic resource, but also a global vision. So I would like to share this great experience with more Chinese students and alumni.

How were you involved in the campus outside of our academics?
I have some friends from Taiwan so I joined TWSA in my freshman year.

What classes did you enjoy the most while at Ohio State? 
It’s a difficult question. I will say photography. Although I didn’t do well in that class, I did learn some skills from this class – and it’s very useful in the real life.

What professor, faculty or staff member had an impact on your education?
I will say Dr. Robert Birkenholz and Dr. Jeff King. They not only helped me with my studies at Ohio State, but also offered a lot of help in my campus life. They shared their own experience, knowledge and time with me selflessly. I sincerely appreciate their help during the time I spent at Ohio State.

What is your favorite memory related to your time at Ohio State?
The time we won the [football] National Championship in 2015. Celebrating with other friends on The Oval.

What was your first job following your education at Ohio State?
I worked in a small local company in Columbus as an E-commercial operation specialist.

For what schools, companies and/or organizations have you worked throughout your career?
After the job in Columbus, I went to Africa (Angola, Kenya and South Africa) and worked for McKinsey as a project assistant. Then I went back to China to serve the buckeye community.

How are you involved in your community outside of your career?
I worked close with buckeye community in the Greater China area and involved in nearly every alumni events.

As of today, what is your favorite career highlight?
I will say the time I spent in Africa with Mckinsey.

  • Participated in China Africa Investment Opportunity Outlook Project as surveyor in Angola and South Africa
  • Interviewed 90+ Chinese entrepreneur of SOE and private sector, collected data, completed survey and wrote field report
  • Analyzed data and composed 500 pages PPT of all project-related African countries

What advice would you give to a current student?
Take a broader view. This world is big and try to explore it before the death.

What did ACEL cultivate in you?
Global vision and critical thinking through the ACEL education program and staff.


OHIO with friends.


During my work in Africa with McKinsey.