ACEL Graduate Student Spotlight: DaVonti’ Haynes


DaVonti’ D. Haynes
Detroit, Michigan

DaVonti’ Haynes is a PhD student in agricultural communication, education, and leadership with a specialty in community and extension education and a minor in public policy management. He has a research appointment with OSU Extension.

Hey DaVonti’! What is the dissertation research topic? College access and student success for urban and Appalachian youth.

What are your career goals and why did you choose an ACEL area of study? Career goal is to work within the higher education arena supporting underrepresented and underserved youth in their collegiate pursuits. I chose ACEL because it provides me with a foundation and opportunity to explore and enhancing upon my academic, personal and career objectives.

Why did you choose Ohio State? My experience and time at Ohio State has been nothing short of life changing. I ultimately chose to continue my education as a Buckeye because Ohio State’s faculty, staff, students, and culture were very instrumental in helping me discover and pursue my passion. But for Ohio State, I would not be the person I am today. For me being a Buckeye goes beyond cheering for and supporting our athletic teams, it’s about cheering and supporting all Buckeyes, and that’s what I received during my time at Ohio State and that’s why I chose to be a Buckeye, not once, but three times.

What do you love about Ohio State? I love the breadth of Ohio State. No matter what you want to do, there’s something here for you.

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!

Intern Spotlight: Cassady Interns with Wren Farm Events as Event Manager

Hailie Cassady
agricultural communication

My name is Hailie Cassady and I am a senior studying agricultural communication, and I have been interning with Wren Farm Events in Mechanicsburg, Ohio as an event manager/coordinator since April.

Wren Farm is an event venue located 35 minutes from Columbus and 45 minutes from Dayton. The venue primarily hosts weddings but can accommodate functions such as high school proms, homecomings, dinner parties, showers, etc. This wedding season (late April through early November) we had 26 weddings booked and at this point we have 21 of those completed.

The facility is a two story, historic barn that was formerly used to house livestock such as dairy cattle, hogs and sheep. The hay mound was converted into the reception area and the downstairs features the original feed troughs which is where buffet style meals are set up.

Being an event manager, I have been involved in multiple weddings and have worked with a lot of different people. I am involved in the touring and booking process, taking deposits and payments, preparing contracts, sending out vendor forms to upcoming brides to get their vendor information and how they want their space set up, setting up tables and chairs prior to couples arriving to decorate and then assisting with decorating inside and outside of the barn, setting up ceremony seating, helping with food, drinks and trash and any other last minute things that the couple may need.

I have really enjoyed working with all of the different couples and seeing the barn set up in so many different ways. Wedding planning and coordinating is a lot more demanding than I expected when I first started but it is fun to be busy and on your feet, making the couple’s special day everything that they expected! I love that I get to be involved in the entire process and work alongside different people all the time. Every weekend is something completely different and I like that aspect of it.

Cassady, agricultural communication


Wren Farm Events

ACEL alum John Feisley turns 100


Kristen Reymann, assistant director of leadership annual giving with the Ohio State Alumni Association, recently visited agricultural education alum John Feisley in honor of his 100th birthday. Feisley graduated in 1941 with a bachelor of science in agricultural education. Reymann shares about her visit with him below!

I recently had the pleasure of executing a special mission from the College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences. Claire Badger and Kyle Sebastian reached out to me with a plan to deliver a very special 100th birthday present to a 1941 OSU agricultural education alumnus in eastern Ohio. Claire gave me the package, I made a phone call, and I was off to Saint Clairsville the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

When I arrived at John Feisley’s house, I was greeted with a big smile and was immediately welcomed inside. I presented the gift and gave him kind words from the college as he opened his new goody bag. I don’t think the smile left John’s face the whole hour that I was there. He enjoyed the OSU hat and shirt, and intently read the pamphlet from CFAES as he opened up his birthday card from Dean Kress. I informed him the coin that he received from her is rarely handed out and he giggled as he held it in his hands. He also received a personally addressed video from the Chair of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) which is where John’s major is housed. This department just celebrated their 100th birthday last year. What a happy coincidence!

John’s happy personality was contagious as we talked about Ohio State memories and shared stories about campus. I asked him what his favorite memory was from OSU and after a short pause he quickly said “well the football games of course”. He still remembers the first game he ever went to. His sister had bought him a ticket to the OSU vs. TCU game and even though the Buckeyes lost that day, he still enjoyed his time in The Shoe. “They beat us. But then we went down to the field and tore the poles down. You would think we only did that when we won!” John still watches every game to this day.

John grew up with two brothers and one sister in Clarington on the Ohio River where his father was a dairy farmer. His grandfather came to the United States from Switzerland when he was 12, and John remembers life back in the day when a horse and buggy was the main way of transportation. He recalls the change from this to gravel roads and cars during the winter, and laughs thinking about how muddy it used to be.

John received a scholarship while he was at Ohio State which covered the full $200/quarter tuition. He says “it was kind of a quiet university at that time” with about 19,000 students. He remembers Dr. Ralph Bender, who assisted in the practice teaching program in Westerville high schools, although he completed his in Grove City with Mr. Ruble. He enjoyed attending basketball games with his friends and dance classes in the old Ohio Union. He and his classmates all donated $1 to help build stone walls near the university’s entrance on 15th avenue. He still remembers the library, University Hall, and Townsend, and just recently visited last summer.

I asked John about his wife Marian, who passed away 4 years ago. He told me they met at a movie theatre and even though she went to the University of Cincinnati, they were still Buckeyes. He chuckled as he told me about the times when they would go back and visit UC. “She couldn’t find anything and she was always disoriented”, he laughed.

John told me his daughter Anne, also an OSU alum (‘97), was coming from Columbus to spend time with him on Thanksgiving. He shared a few stories about his children and his Christmas Tree business before I packed up my things to head back to Columbus. We took some pictures together, said our goodbyes, and I left with a full heart and another great Buckeye memory. Happy 100th birthday John!


Happy Birthday John! We are so proud to have you as a member of our alumni family!

Internship Spotlight: Plahuta Completes Summer Internship 

Haley Plahuta
agricultural communication

Throughout the last spring, I had the pleasure of helping put on the Ohio Farm to Cafeteria Pre-Conference and the National Farm to Cafeteria Conference. This opportunity came about after I saw an advertisement for the conference in a flyer.

The national conference is put on by the National Farm to School Network, an information, advocacy and networking hub that serves communities by using local food, school gardens and food and agricultural education in schools and early care settings. With my major being agricultural communications and working towards minors in youth development and Spanish, farm to school combined both of my interests. I found out that they were not only interested in having a volunteer, but would be willing to help me count the experience towards an Ohio State internship credit. This was in January and over the next four months, I worked as a Farm to School Communications Intern out of Campbell Hall to help promote the conference to people across Ohio.

The National Farm to Cafeteria Conference was planned for Cincinnati in May. Carol Smathers, OSU Extension specialist and the Ohio Farm to School Program Coordinator and Amy Fovargue, OSU Extension, were responsible for an Ohio-focused pre-conference. Most of my work involved promoting the pre-conference, which included an Ohio producer showcase with tables from companies like DNO Produce, Peaceful Fruits and Cincy Beef. There was also a panel of speakers from the local food industry and round tables for guests to discuss issues and topics surrounding local food.

While promoting the pre-conference, I learned a lot about event planning and especially the importance of staying organized. I used various tactics to help promote the conference as well as excel sheets to keep track of all email lists and publications that highlighted the event. I promoted the pre-conference through mass emails, press releases and Facebook. I found Facebook to be especially helpful. I had not previously experienced using Facebook to set up an event page and learned some of the benefits and challenges of this media platform.

I also worked with Ohio State’s Office of Trademark and Licensing Services to ensure that our branding was compliant with the University’s brand on the Farm to School website, flyers and post cards. I helped update the Farm to School website, created a monthly flyer that contained information about the upcoming conference. For these flyers, I used the approved OSU templates. I also developed postcards to hand out to promote the pre-conference. Working on the website, flyers and postcards provided a valuable learning experience. I also had to build in time to receive feedback and edits for the branding to be approved. This taught me to build in extra time when working with others.

Throughout this internship, I learned more than I could have imagined about event planning. This experience was especially unique because of the event being a pre-conference with a national conference happening the following day. I feel that the work I did helped prepare me for a job that includes event planning and creating promotional materials such as postcards, flyers, press releases and a website.

Table decorations for the conference that Plahuta made.


Plahuta (left) with Amy Fovargue (middle), and Michaela Graham (right), another intern who helped with the conference.

Intern Spotlight: Emily Beal Interns with The Kentucky Exposition Center

Emily Beal
agricultural communication

During the summer of 2018 I had the pleasure to intern for The Kentucky Exposition Center, where I worked in the horse show office. While I was only an intern, the knowledge and experience I received while working in Louisville were immeasurable.

The horse show office was responsible for putting on an array of horse shows through out the year, those shows being: the Quarter Horse show, the state 4-H show, The NAILE Draft horse show, and finally The World Championship Horse Show. While all of these shows were important, the primary focus was on The World Championship Horse Show while I was interning.

In preparation for the biggest saddlebred show in the world, our office covered many tasks. Keying entries, talking on the phone to exhibitors/trainers/owners, making the program book, mailing entries out, and creating a show bill; these tasks and many others were done to ensure the show would go smoothly.

I myself had the pleasure of being the voice of the fairgrounds for the Quarter Horse Show. I was stationed at the eagle’s nest where I announced what class was being judged, which exhibitors needed to check in for their class, and finally the class order. Through this task I gained confidence in public speaking, as my voice carried through out the entire fairgrounds.

Interning for the Expo Center was a an extremely rewarding experience. The lessons I learned and connections I made will stay with me forever.


Emily Beal, agricultural communication


Cora Carter defends thesis, earns M.S.

Congratulations to Cora Carter on the successful defense of her thesis, “Exploring safety and health concerns with urban and peri-urban livestock production in the city of Managua, Nicaragua.”

Her advisor was Dr. Dee Jepsen and Dr. Mary Rodriguez served as a committee member. Congratulations Cora!

News Release: Howell completes internship with Fulton County Extension



Alexis Howell, of Paulding, recently completed an internship with Fulton County Extension.

During her internship, Howell worked with the three county educators and a variety of education programs, including On Farm Research, where she assisted with trial layout, data collection and processing and reporting, trained camp counselors and the completed the delivery of 4-H camps and coordinated the 4-H project judgings.

Howell returned to Columbus in August and is studying agriscience education at The Ohio State University. She plans to graduate in May 2019.

The agriscience education major at Ohio State prepares students to teach agricultural science in secondary high schools. Our program provides students with a rigorous series of courses in technical agriculture, education psychology, instructional methods and youth development. To learn more about the agriscience education major, visit or call 614-247-6358.


Intern Spotlight: Stephens Interns with Beck’s Hybrids as Sales Intern

Linnea Stephens
agricultural communication

Hello! My name is Linnea Stephens, and I am a current third year student at The Ohio State University majoring in Agricultural Communication with a minor in International Economic Development. This past summer of 2018 I worked with Beck’s Hybrids as the Ohio Sales Intern. The territory that I worked within was Northern, Ohio and some parts of Lower, Michigan.

Stephens at Beck’s Hybrids Headquarters located in Atlanta, Indiana

Prior to this summer internship with Beck’s Hybrids, my only experience within the seed industry was with my internship with Nutrien Ag as their undergraduate research intern the summer before. After talking to one of the District Sales Manager I was assigned to work with this summer, we decided the sooner I could start my internship the better it would be for the sales team in Ohio. Therefore, I traveled to Atlanta, Indiana for early safety training and onboarding, and started two weeks early as an intern.

Tasks and projects that I completed this summer ranged daily. From planting field plots, scouting, cold calling on potential customers, maintaining expense reports, transferring seed, and leading customers in private Practical Farm Research Tours, it made my summer go extremely fast. Every day I woke up not knowing exactly what I would be doing each day, and that is what I loved that about my internship this summer with Beck’s.

Traveling to Beck’s Hybrids headquarters in Atlanta, Indiana for formal training allowed me to meet college students across the Mid-West. Representing The Ohio State University among other college students gave me a opportunity to share how classes here on campus have prepared me to become a young professional in the Ag based industry.

Leading and organizing private Practical Farm Research tours this summer at the London, Ohio location was one of most rewarding experiences I had this summer. With a total of 3 tours, 54 attendees, and over 27,000 acres accounted for the tours were deemed a success by the Ohio sales team.

Being chosen as one of 23 interns this summer for a seed company is truly a humbling experience.  Therefore, this summer I was not only a representative of Beck’s Hybrids, but a Buckeye as well. Many individuals think that sales internships are only about how much you can sell within a three-month period, and I can now say that sigma is not true.

Traveling the state of Ohio and connecting to farmers via cold calls and sales events is the most best professional growth experiences I have ever had, and you cannot put a price tag on that.


One of the three PFR tours Stephens organized and led in to London, Ohio


PFR tour conducted by Stephens



News Release: Beal completes internship with Kentucky Expo Center


Emily Beal, of Conover, recently completed an internship with Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Kentucky.

During her internship, Beal was responsible for coordinating horse shows that occurred at the Kentucky Exposition Center, including the World’s Championship Horseshow. She completed tasks ranging from data input to creating a show bill, as well as serving an announcer for the Quarter Horse Show at the Kentucky State Fair.

“The internships our students complete are valuable, hands-on experiences,” said Dr. Annie Specht, program manager and associate professor for agricultural communication. “Not only do they have the opportunity to put the skills they have acquired in their courses into practice, but they also expand their knowledge and create connections by working with professionals in the industry.”

Beal returned to Columbus in August, where she is completing a degree in agricultural communication at The Ohio State University.

The agricultural communication major at Ohio State prepares students to plan, develop, and implement a communication campaign, using visual media, writing and editing. Students study crisis communication, graphic design, marketing, and journalism so they can spread the word about agriculture. To learn more about the agricultural communication major, visit or call 614-247-6358.