Faculty, graduate students honored at NACTA conference

In late June, several of our faculty members and graduate students attended the 2019 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) conference held in Twin Falls, Idaho.

Faculty and graduate students presenting research include:

Oral Presentation: Using iPads to Enhance Education Abroad Learning, Kelly Newlon and Kelly George

Poster Presentation: Second-Year Engagement: A Theoretical Examination of First-Generation College of Agriculture Students, AaronGiorgi and Susie Whittington

Faculty and staff receiving awards include:

NACTA Teaching Scholar Award: Dr. Emily Buck
NACTA Educator Award: Dr. Caryn Filson and Dr. Annie Specht
NACTA Graduate Student Award: Aaron Giorgi, Fally Masambuka, and Lauren Stohlmann

Join us in congratulating these faculty and graduate students who do an outstanding job teaching our students!

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


Kitchel named AAAE Fellow

Dr. Tracy Kitchel, professor and chair of our department, was recognized today at the American Association for Agricultural Education annual conference with AAAE Fellow Award.

The Fellow award is “to recognize those members of the association who have made exceptional contributions to and impacts on the profession and AAAE.”

Dr. Kitchel was one of three recipients for 2019. Dr. Mike Retallick of Iowa State University and Dr. Travis Park of North Carolina State University were the other recipients.

Congratulations Dr. Kitchel!


ACEL Research: with Dr. Joy Rumble

In a research study with colleague Dr. Taylor Ruth, Assistant Professor of Agricultural Communication Dr. Joy Rumble published an article in the Journal of Human Sciences and Extension titled, “Berry Good Programming: An Examination of Consumers’ Purchasing Intent of Florida Strawberries in Out-of-State Markets.” The authors conducted focus groups “in North Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio, Massachusetts, and New York. Participants had positive attitudes toward purchasing Florida strawberries, and past experiences and interactions with others influenced their purchasing intent, but their perceptions of behavioral control were low. Participants with neutral attitudes and limited behavioral control had lower intent to purchase Florida strawberries in the future compared to other participants.” From the findings, the researchers recommended that “Extension could help producers increase purchasing intent by increasing perceived behavioral control, making the growing location easily visible on the strawberry labels, and facilitating personal experiences between consumers and the product.”

Ruth, T. K., & Rumble, J. N. (2019). Berry good programming: Informing extension programming through the examination of consumers’ purchasing intent. Journal of Human Sciences and Extension, 7(1), 21-38.

For more information, see: https://www.jhseonline.com/copy-of-october-2018

Ramsier named ATI Outstanding Advisor

Congratulations to Rachael Ramsier, who was presented with the Outstanding Advisor Award for Ohio State ATI.

We are so appreciative of her leadership and service to our ACEL students (and all students!!) as she serves as the academic advisor to more than 70 students studying agricultural communication, agriscience education and community leadership, in addition to instructing several classes at Ohio State ATI.

Thank you Rachael and congratulations!

News Release: Buck completes national leadership development program

Dr. Emily Buck (second from left) with other LEAD21 participants from The Ohio State University.


Dr. Emily Buck, of Marion, was one of 79 individuals who completed the LEAD21 leadership development program. This group of distinguished individuals represents land-grant institutions and their strategic partners from across the nation. Buck is a professor of agricultural communication at The Ohio State University in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL).

Over the course of the past year, Buck met regularly with her peers, both in-person and virtually, to enhance her personal leadership capacity. The graduation was held at the culmination of the third in-person session, where the focus was on organizational leadership through collaboration, communication and leading change.

The primary purpose of LEAD21 is to develop leaders in land-grant institutions and their strategic partners who link research, academics and extension who can to lead more effectively in an increasingly complex environment, either in their current positions or future leadership positions.

“LEAD21 is a great program for faculty to improve their leadership skills and network with other’s in colleges similar to ours across the country,” said Buck. “I have been a part of many similar leadership programs, but this one was exceptional in taking our understanding of our skills and using them to show us how to effect change in the land-grant system.”

Goals of LEAD21 are to enhance application of skills and knowledge across a set of nine leadership competencies, to develop a network of peer leaders to enhance personal leadership practice, collaboration and diversity of perspective and to develop and implement an individual’s leadership development process.

“I am thrilled Dr. Buck had the opportunity to participate in this leadership program that not only benefits her professional growth and leadership, but will also benefit our department and the students she teaches and mentors” said Dr. Tracy Kitchel, professor and chair of ACEL. “Whether she chooses to pursue formal administrative roles in the future or not, the investment is one in faculty leadership, which can be applied in multiple ways. Ultimately, we rely on faculty to provide all kinds of leadership in carrying out the teaching, research and outreach missions of the department, college and 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 academic programs and research available in ACEL, please visit acel.osu.edu.

The next LEAD21 class will begin in June 2019. For more information about LEAD21, visit www.lead-21.org.

Reflecting on Lessons Learned through 4-H

By: Dr. Tracy Kitchel
Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership Chair

As the youngest of four children, I could not wait to join 4-H like my siblings. Showing animals, completing projects, earning ribbons, and having your own t-shirt with a felt green 4-H clover on the back and your name on the front – who wouldn’t be excited?  I was an 11-year member of the Monroe Better Livestock 4-H Club in Preble County, Ohio and I can say without doubt that 4-H had a tremendous impact on my career success and life.

Dr. Kitchel was an 11 year 4-H member in Preble County.

In so many ways, I felt out of place through my elementary, middle and high school years. But, when I went to 4-H meetings or to the fair, those out-of-place feelings quickly dissipated. Through 4-H, I had the opportunity to demonstrate my life on a farm through showing animals. I also had the opportunity to explore my family and heritage through a genealogy project.  Beyond that, 4-H laid a foundation of hard work and character that are still present in my day-to-day life.

The first lesson 4-H taught me was hard work.  Growing up on a farm certainly contributed to that lesson, but with 4-H there was more.  In particular, I learned that what you put into something has a relationship to what you get out of it.  In most cases, I did better in showmanship the years I worked with my markets hogs more.  The more effort I spent on researching for my genealogy project, the more accolades I had earned for that project. But even further, I learned there were no shortcuts to hard work. As a good friend of mine says, “pay now or pay later.”  There were years where I may have spent many hours on my projects earlier in the summer, but not as much in the last month leading up to the fair. Instead of paying now and working hard through the entire summer, I paid later with an animal that wasn’t as prepared for the show as could it could have been.

The second lesson 4-H taught me was that life isn’t always fair and winning isn’t everything.  Although hard work and positive outcomes are linked, hard work does not always guarantee the outcome you want. I vividly remember a particular year in swine showmanship at the fair when I was about 14 years old. I had worked exceptionally hard that summer and was feeling good about my chances in winning showmanship.  My age group was large, so there were two or three classes before the final class where the age group winner would be selected.  The judge worked with me and my pig particularly hard (and in comparison to everyone else) and I remember how complementary the judge was over the microphone as I left the arena.  I returned for the final drive for my age group.  He had requested more people back than was in my first class.  Somehow, I ended up at the back of the line and literally walked in and out of the ring with my animal.  I barely had a chance to demonstrate my abilities and clearly the judge forgot about me.  It was reinforced to me that life isn’t always fair.  But I also learned that it was fine that I did not achieve the outcome I thought I deserved.  In the grand scheme of life, this one instance did not define me or my future successes.  The work, self-esteem and lessons learned are what you truly carry with you after the fair, not the ribbons, trophies or awards. I knew I had worked hard and I knew I had done well. That was the better award to have won that day.


Tracy Kitchel (middle right) 1993 Preble County Fair Royalty Court. He was the 1993 Preble County Fair King.

The third lesson 4-H taught me was being a part of something bigger is much better than focusing on only you and your goals. Later in my 4-H career, I joined the Junior Fair Board. In many ways, I became more excited about my work with the fair board than my individual 4-H projects. From developing a sense of ownership over the junior fair to working with my fellow board members, and from setting up stalls to running a livestock show, I found reward in accomplishing something that was bigger than me and something that was more than just me.  Being a part of something bigger also meant that winning became less important and putting on a great fair experience for others became more important. When I lifted others up, I myself was lifted, too.

I have carried these and many other lessons learned through 4-H throughout my life and career.  As my life continues to intersect with others outside my background, I continue to learn how fortunate I was to have 4-H in my life and the advantages I had from having participated in it!



When FFA Comes Full Circle

By: Dr. Tracy Kitchel
Chair of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership

There are times in your life when things come full circle.  It’s the idea that who you knew in one setting or what you had done previously surfaces or links to something in present time in a new, yet familiar way.  After having had the opportunity to move back to Ohio this summer, I’ve had a number of “full circle” moments.  For example, my office at OSU is the room where I defended my master’s thesis. When I met the donor of my first Ohio State scholarship this past fall where I’m now in a capacity to give back myself.  When I walked into the Agriculture Hall of Fame breakfast, I found myself catching up with numerous friends, college mates, and acquaintances I had not seen for years after having convinced myself I wouldn’t know a single person in the room. When those full circle moments occur, I find myself reflecting on those links that had made those full circles come to fruition.  I would argue that some of my most powerful full circle moments are connected with my involvement in FFA.

My first set of full circle moments happened when I had the opportunity to serve as the 1994-1995 State FFA Reporter.  It makes sense, really.  I had the opportunity to conduct chapter visits to inspire other FFA members like I had been inspired by state officers before me.  I had the opportunity to be a part of running the state FFA convention, an event that had motivated me year after year as a high school student.  The most significant full circle moments for me as a state officer was spending time with FFA members one-on-one.  I was not the best officer in terms of meeting a large proportion of FFA members at any given event, but the members I did meet I knew well. I remember when state or national FFA officers took time to talk to me one-on-one. Those were very impactful conversations that helped shape my FFA career. I can only hope that some of my conversations did the same for others.

Tracy Kitchel, 1994-1995 Ohio FFA State Reporter

More full circle moments occurred when I became an FFA advisor.  I was the agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Archbold High School from 1999-2002. Again, there were many opportunities for those full circle moments. Some full circle moments felt more like karma. For example, I had know-it-all students in my class that drove me crazy – a characteristic that I’m sure I surfaced for my agriculture teacher who was equally annoyed with me. Others were more powerful. I remember the faces of my students when I took them to their first national FFA convention session – the same awe-inspiring face I had years prior.  I recall my students understanding – and even thanking me – for requiring them to have nice-looking official dress, which is something I took pride in as an FFA member myself. I think my favorite full circle moment was watching students fall in love with agriculture in my classroom, just as I had fallen in love with agriculture from having lived on a farm and a love that was reinforced from my experiences in FFA.

Dr. Kitchel driving the pontoon boat at FFA camp during his chapter’s FFA officer retreat.

I would be remiss in not sharing one of the most powerful full circle moments.  As a professor and teacher educator, I have the opportunity to train future agriculture teachers and FFA advisors. I could spend hours on the full circle moments watching these future teachers move from student to student teacher to beginning teacher and now to master teacher. However, that powerful full circle moment is connected to one of my first college students, who happened to be the daughter of my agriculture teacher.  Joseph K. Slone, former agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at National Trail High School, is on a short list of pivotal people who helped shape my career.  Needless to say, there was immense pressure to make sure his daughter was take care of and trained well. I was a new Assistant Professor and newly-minted Ph.D. when Joe Slone brought his daughter Jessica to summer registration in 2005 at the University of Kentucky. I would be assigned as her academic advisor, would later teach her teaching methods course and eventually would be her university supervisor for student teaching. Whether she liked it or not, she was stuck with me. My parents shared with me that throughout Jessica’s college career, Joe would quiz them about whether I was staying or leaving (even when there was no evidence of me leaving). He shared with them that he had great relief knowing I was in Lexington and that I was her advisor.  Be he also shared that if I ever left, 1. that relief would go away and 2. he would likely hunt me down. I took great pride (and felt great pressure) in knowing the trust he placed in me to not only take care of his daughter, but felt that pride and pressure even more so in being a key part of her development as an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor. It truly was full circle in the most fulfilling way. I’ve enjoyed watching her career blossom and now that I’ve returned to Ohio, I am much closer to see her change students’ lives as she continues to build the Covington agriculture program and FFA chapter.



Dr. Kitchel (left), Spring 2009 University of Kentucky graduation.

There were great things that occurred while I wore that blue corduroy jacket. My experiences in that jacket took me to places I had never been, both physical and otherwise. It transformed how I thought about myself, who I wanted to be, and gave me tools that I use in my life today. With that said, I think some of my best experiences with FFA have been after wearing that jacket. Your experiences with FFA do not end in high school – that’s only where they begin, if you let it. Find your full-circle moments by staying connecting with FFA locally, state-wide or nationally and consider becoming an agriculture teacher/FFA advisor yourself. You will find joy and fulfillment in engaging in those FFA full circle moments.