ACEL faculty, grad student collects data in Uganda for water systems project

Dr. Rodriguez and Rafael in Masindi, Uganda during their data collection trip in early March.

In early March, Rafael Landaverde, a PhD student in agricultural communication, education, and leadership, and Dr. Mary Rodriguez, assistant professor in community leadership, traveled to Uganda to collect data as part of the Governance Research on Water Systems (GROWS) project.

GROWS is a grant funded research project with Global Environment and Technology Foundation, US Water Partnership, The Ohio State University, Global Partners for Development and USAID that aims to design and disseminate water governance systems in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. You can learn more about the project here.

While their trip was cut short due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, they did get a photo in Masindi, Uganda to show that the work of CFAES spans worldwide.

ACEL Distinguished Graduate Student: Dr. Aaron Giorgi

Aaron Giorgi has been selected as the 2020 “ACEL Outstanding Graduate Student.” This award is given annually to an ACEL graduate student who embodies the traits of teaching, research, and engagement, central to the mission of the department.

Giorgi’s research has been recognized through the receipt of several ACEL scholarships including the J. Robert and Catharine P. Warmbrod Graduate Scholarship and the Ralph J. Woodin Graduate Scholarship. Aaron’s teaching was recognized nationally when he was awarded a NACTA Graduate Student Teaching Award in 2019.

In late March, he defended his dissertation, “A National and University Multi-decade Description of College of Agriculture and Related Sciences Student Behaviors Regarding Postsecondary Education.”

During his time in ACEL, Giorgi has taken on many leadership roles including his time as president of the ACEL Graduate Student Association. He has also taken on the role of mentor to incoming graduate students. In recognition of his leadership, teaching, service and mentorship, the Department has named Aaron Giorgi the 2020 ACEL Outstanding Graduate Student.

On May 3, Giorgi will graduate from The Ohio State University with a doctorate of philosophy in agricultural communication, education, and leadership, with a specialization in agricultural education.

Congratulations Dr. Giorgi!

Aaron’s first day on Ohio State’s campus as a PhD student.

Leading the cultural proficiency class as a TA.

Presenting his research at AAAE.

Presenting his research at AAAE.

Candidacy exams complete!

Dissertation defended! ACEL’s first online PhD defense.

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


Graduate Student Spotlight: Kenzie Johnston ’16

Kenzie Johnston is a current master’s student in agricultural communication, education, and leadership where she is specializing in leadership. She is from Richwood, Ohio and graduated with a B.S. in agricultural communication in 2016 from Ohio State.

She returned to ACEL for her master’s because she “wanted to become a more qualified extension educator.” She also added that “Ohio State feels like home to me and I love being a buckeye!”

Kenzie is currently working as an extension educator for Delaware County and is conducting research describing the efficacy of research videos used in extension education for her master’s degree.

When asked what she loves about Ohio State and the department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership, she shared that “I love the traditions of Ohio State and CFAES has the greatest people.”

Eberhart defends MS project

Join us in congratulating Callie Eberhart on the successful defense of her master’s project, “Ohio 4-H Extension Educator and Program Assistant Perceptions of Youth with Disabilities.”

Dr. Jera Niewoehner-Green was Eberhart’s advisor and Dr. Scott Scheer served as a member of her graduate committee.

Stohlmann hired as 4-H educator in Nebraska


Congratulations to Lauren Stohlmann, a recent graduate of our master’s degree program in agricultural and extension education, who has been hired as the Cass County, Nebraska 4-H and Youth Educator. Stohlmann is a native  and former 4-H member of Cass County and will be responsible for teaching local youth about agriculture, science and nature.

Congratulations Lauren!


Wilson named Presidential Fellow

Kelly Wilson, a PhD student studying agricultural and extension education was named a 2018 Presidential Fellow by The Ohio State University Graduate School.

The Presidential Fellowship is the most prestigious award given by the Graduate School to recognize the outstanding scholarly accomplishments and potential of graduate students entering the final phase of their dissertation research or terminal degree project.

Congratulations Kelly!

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

The next LEAD21 class will begin in June 2019. For more information about LEAD21, visit

CFAES Alumni Award: Dr. Bryan Garton

Dr. Bryan Garton
2019 CFAES Distinguished Alumni Award

Dr. Bryan Garton is currently associate dean of academic programs in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) at the University of Missouri (MU). Dr. Garton’s academic roots extend to the Department of Agricultural Education and Leadership at MU, where he served the ranks of Assistant, Associate and Full Professor. He has received prestigious awards including induction as an AAAE Fellow, Kemper Teaching Fellow, and many research journal article and conference paper awards.

Dr. Garton has been recognized in numerous ways at the University of Missouri for his teaching excellence at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Within the profession, his recognition is continued as a teacher educator and researcher. His reputation for mentoring graduate students is well-documented by the number of students whose career successes as university professors include leadership titles such as Assistant Dean, Department Chair, Teaching Center Co-Directors and Provost Faculty Fellow from universities across the country.

Dr. Garton is proud to be an Ohio State graduate and in particular, a graduate of this college and our department. He credits his experiences at Ohio State for preparing him for success as a teacher and researcher.


Congratulations Dr. Garton on your success as an agricultural educator and your recognition as an outstanding alum of CFAES!