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.”

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

Ramblings of a Super Senior

By Chaney Pavelka
community leadership

Hello blog post readers! My name is Chaney Pavelka. I’m a fifth…maybe sixth year senior here at OSU. Honestly I’ve lost count. I got my associate’s degree in 2012, took a year off, and have been at OSU for four years. So let’s just call me a senior senior.

Anyway, here I am. A complete stranger here to tell you all about my life. I’m here to entertain. Let me first start off by saying my current major was never something I considered studying. I, originally, was studying medical dietetics, a continuation of the associate’s degree I obtained in dietetics and nutritional management. I was one of those people who thought the fancier the title the more people will respect me. I thought if it’s not science or engineering or law studies then how will my family get their bragging rights?
Then I had a quarter life crisis, started having panic attacks, and had to really reevaluate things. I was taking chemistry for the third time and still could not grasp it or get the C- that I needed. In my defense I DID NOT FAIL…I just didn’t get a C. But once I felt like I had hit rock bottom I had this thought, why am I doing this to myself? Why would I put myself through all these classes that I hate if I can find something that I love? I have the power to make a decision and change that.

So, I met with an advisor in the exploration department and she mentioned community leadership. Honestly, my first thought was, “Okay. This lady’s just giving me ideas because she thinks I’m not smart enough for anything else.” Which, at this point, I had convinced myself was true. But, I told her about the things that I actually enjoy doing, like helping people, organizing things, and reaching out to people in the community, and it was an instant match.

I’m now proud to tell people that I’m studying community leadership with a leadership specialization and a minor in human nutrition. I fell in love with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences my first day. I have the coolest advisor (Dr. Mary Rodriguez) and I love ALL of the classes I’m taking.

Chaney Pavelka, community leadership major.

After everything I went through last year, choosing this major was such a breath of fresh air. I haven’t had any field experience, studied abroad, or had my internship yet, but I have still loved everything about this school year. I’m taking a volunteer and human resource management class and it requires that I fulfill service hours. This class was the push I needed to get myself out into the community and start networking. I’ve loved volunteering and getting my name out there and being able to show people what I’m capable of as a young professional.

All of my rambling has a point, I promise.

Students go through a lot during their years in college, and sometimes people don’t realize that. But I’m rooting for you! My experience here at Ohio State, and in CFAES in particular, is proof that just because you fall off track doesn’t mean you can’t succeed at doing something you love. There’s always something out there for people to do. You just have to figure out what you really want and hope that your parents don’t shun you for changing your major (twice). It’s also proof that the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Services is awesome as is everyone who studies here.

Snider named 100 Fresh Perspectives by Farm Credit

Carley Snider, a junior in agriscience education, was named by Farm Credit as one of their 100 Fresh Perspectives. This program was a nationwide search to identify and honor 100 leaders who are changing rural communities and agriculture for the better.

Carley Snider (FC 100)

The search took place between July and December 2015, and netted more than 1,000 nominations from all 50 states. Selected by a panel of experts on rural matters, including Farm Credit leaders and others from around the agriculture industry, the top 100 honorees represent the very best of those positively shaping what is next for rural communities and agriculture.

The top 100 honorees were recognized for their exceptional contributions to their communities, and were announced at a National Ag Day event in Washington, D.C.

The Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives selection panelists evaluated nominations of individuals and groups who demonstrate influence, leadership and innovation in the following categories:

  • Agriculture Education and
  • Community Impact
  • Beginning Farmer or Rancher Achievement
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  • Financial Stewardship
  • Leadership (21 and up)
  • Mentoring and Volunteerism
  • Rural Policy Influence
  • Rural and Urban Connection
  • Sustainability and Natural Resources
  • Youth Leadership (under 21)

For Carley’s biography and perspective, click here.

For a complete list of honorees, click here.

Upcoming Deadlines

There are a variety of applications that are due in the next few weeks. Students in the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership should look into each opportunity and submit an application if you wish to become more involved.


CFAES Ambassador Team
Deadline February 5, 2016 at 5pm 
The CFAES Ambassadors are a team of students who represent the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) for recruitment purposes. The team size ranges from 20 to 30 current, undergraduate students who have been selected through an application and interview process. Ambassadors are trained to provide tours of the CFAES campus as well as enhance recruitment initiatives with the “student touch.” They also have opportunities to travel and present about CFAES. The CFAES Ambassador Team recruits not only high school students, but prospective transfer and transitioning students as well.

Applicants will be notified via e-mail if they have been chosen for an interview. If selected for the first interview round, students will participate in several short interviews called Speed Interviews on February 15. The second round of interviews will include a short welcome, quiz, and traditional interview questions on February 26. Applications are available online and are due by 5pm on Friday, February 5, 2016.


CFAES Peer Mentors
Deadline February 5, 2016 at 5pm 
The College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Peer Mentors serve as a contact person and teaching assistant to new first year students in the college. A Peer Mentor’s role is to help new first year students feel welcome into CFAES, be a source of information, and share experiences of transitioning to Ohio State. As a CFAES Peer Mentor, you will: strengthen invaluable personal, interpersonal, and leadership skills, develop a professional relationship with CFAES faculty and staff, gain teaching and mentoring experiences, add to your critical professional development skills for an enhanced resume, inspire new first year students to strive for excellence and facilitate their integration into Ohio State and CFAES. Submission Deadline: Friday, February 5th, 2016 at 5:00pm. Application, requirements, and important information can be found at: Contact


Day in the Life of a Buckeye Host (March 23, 2016)
Deadline February 7, 2016
Help FAES shine as we host high school sophomores and juniors on Wednesday, March 23 from 9 am – 3pm. High school student will shadow you for the day, as you attend class, eat in campus dining, visit RPAC, or go to a residence hall. The program encourages Rural and inner-city youth explore opportunities to overcome obstacles. Free lunch provided. The program is for one day only.

Sign up before the deadline of February 7 at
Click on: Ohio State Student Host Application
For more information, contact DaVonti Haynes at


CFAES Scholarships
Incoming and current CFAES, ATI/Wooster students and Ohio 4-H members your care in completing this form is very important. Please carefully read and follow the instructions. If you are applying for Ohio 4-H scholarships, there will be additional drop down boxes to complete. The priority deadline for submitting this form via the web is February 15, 2016. Apply here


University Hosts (Ohio State Campus Mingler/Greeter)
Deadline February 15, 2016
University Hosts welcome prospective students and their families to campus. They interact with families before their admissions overview and tour. Hosts are able to work on their public speaking and interpersonal skills through this position. Check out our website – – for information on info sessions, minimum requirements, and the application. It is due on Sunday, February 14th, 2016. Please send an email to if you have questions beyond what is listed on the website.


University Ambassadors (Ohio State Campus Tour Guide)
Deadline: February 21, 2016
University Ambassadors lead prospective students and guests on walking tours of campus. Ambassadors must have strong public speaking and critical thinking skills. Applications for our Summer 2016 AND Fall 2016 hiring cycles are due on Sunday, February 21st, 2016. Check out our website – – for information on info sessions, minimum requirements, and the application. Please note that you are required to attend an info session in order to apply for this position. Send an email to if you have questions beyond what is listed on the website.

Twelve ACEL students attend AFA conference

Twelve students from the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership left today for the Agriculture Future of American (AFA) Leaders Conference in Kansas City, Missouri.

AFA Leaders Conference provides support for college men and women who are preparing for careers in agriculture-related fields. Leaders Conference bridges the gap between academic, leadership and work experiences while helping students understand the impact of their decisions.

The conference also assists students in developing personal and professional skills necessary for lifelong success and provides a forum for updates and discussions on industry trends. Students are given the opportunity to network with peers and leaders in the agriculture industry as well as increase their excitement about the future of agriculture by creating awareness about career opportunities in agriculture.

The AFA Leaders Conference is a four-track program designed to offer college men and women four different personal and professional development opportunities spread across and matched to their years in college.

Jordan Bonham and Meghan Bennett, seniors in agricultural communication, served on the Student Advisory Team for the 2015 Leaders Conference. The AFA Student Advisory Team serves as organization ambassadors, assists staff in the planning and facilitation of the Leaders Conference and related events, and acts as student advisors for the organization. Additionally, AFA Student Advisory Team members assume the same responsibilities as a Campus Ambassador when it comes to the health of AFA relationships on their campus.

Students majoring in agricultural communication, agriscience education and community leadership attending the 2015 AFA Leaders Conference include:

Caroline Battin, agricultural communication
Meghan Bennett, agricultural communication
Karigan Blue, agricultural communication
Jordan Bonham, agricultural communication
Kelley Dickman, agricultural communication
Brianna Gwirtz, agricultural communication
Audrey Hoey, community leadership
Scott McDermott, community leadership
Summer McLain, agriscience education
Micah Mensing, agriscience education
Mallorie Wippel, agricultural communication

ACEL students selected to attend DC conference

Four students from the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership were selected to attend the Collegiate Washington D.C. Leadership Experience. The Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association sponsored the selected students.

This four-day experience, from July 13-16, 2015, is an opportunity for students to network with agricultural leaders, growers from across the U.S., and other collegiate leaders.

Students from the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership include:

Amanda Bush, a sophomore in agricultural communication
Mary Siekman, a junior majoring in agricultural communication
Carley Snider, a junior majoring in agriscience education
Sydney Snider, a sophomore majoring in agricultural communication

Carley, Amanda, Mary, and Sydney

Carley, Amanda, Mary, and Sydney

Buckeye Pride in our Nation's Capital

Buckeye Pride in our Nation’s Capital

Rodriguez to join Ohio State Faculty

The Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership at The Ohio State University is pleased to announce that Mary Rodriguez will join our faculty as Assistant Professor of Community Leadership in August 2015.

Mary Rodriguez is excited to be a member of the Ohio State faculty.

Mary Rodriguez is excited to be a member of the Ohio State faculty.

Rodriguez is a PhD candidate at the University of Florida where she will complete her dissertation “Understanding the impact of social capital and gender on adoption of fertigation in the Jordan Valley” and graduate with an emphasis in Food, Security, Gender, and Community Development this August. She holds a master’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Florida as well as a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from Texas A&M University.

In her new position with Ohio State, Rodriguez will teach undergraduate and graduate courses in community leadership, advise and mentor undergraduate majors and minors, supervise students in leadership capstone projec

ts, guide graduate student research, and provide outreach to community leadership groups.

Community Leadership 5330 hosts Food & Fiber Day


On October 22, 2014, The Ohio State University Sheep Facility was home to an interactive learning day for enthusiastic college students and wide-eyed first graders! Students in Community Leadership 5330: Teaching Methods in Non-formal Environments completed their Food & Fiber Day experience by working with students from the Columbus School for Girls. The non-formal classroom stage was set with straw bales in place of desks and dozens of lambs to accompany the students!IMG_1139

This teaching and learning opportunity allowed college students to develop and facilitate a lesson plan. In groups of two or three, students worked together to create a lesson that fit a first grade curriculum science standard. These science standards framed student learning around agricultural processes, seasons, animal care, and more.

Throughout the semester, students have been increasing their knowledge on teaching in non-formal settings. The unique opportunity to teach Columbus School for Girls first grade students at the sheep farm offered the perfect setting for applying their skills! First graders were welcomed to the farm and engaged in activities including a facility tour, rotating between educational stations, and concluding their day with making ice cream – all taught by COMLDR 5330 students!


While the first graders left with many lessons learned, memories of petting a day-old lamb, and a sample of wool from a sheep shearing demonstration, OSU students left with a feeling of successful accomplishment – seeing their weeks of preparation come to action!


COMLDR 5330 students include: Zach Bartenslager, Sarah Bookman, Caitlin Conrad, Alex Davidson, Aaron Deskins, Krysti Dubler, Samantha Johnson, Jillian Kalis, Michael Kieffer, Michelle King, Beth Mayers, Scott McDermott, Jacqueline Nolting, Sarah Rannebarger, Ashley Rose, Spencer Williams, Renea Yetter


The class is instructed by Dr. Graham Cochran and Teaching Assistant, Kayla Oberstadt.

A special thank you goes out to Gregg Fogle, manager of the OSU Sheep Facility for hosting our group and giving sheep shearing demonstrations. Thank you to Emily Wickham and Michelle Hendrik for taking photos. Lastly, a generous thank you to Columbus School for Girls for their continued partnership through first grade teachers Leigh Kane and Devon Schlicher!