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.

ACEL students are new CFAES Ambassadors

Five ACEL students where selected to represent the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences as CFAES Ambassadors for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Students selected from ACEL are:

Brianna Gwirtz, a junior majoring in Agricultural Communication from Shelby, Ohio

Wyatt Jones, a sophomore majoring in Agriscience Education from South Salem, Ohio

Micah Mensing, a sophomore majoring in Agriscience Education from Oak Harbor, Ohio

Sydney Snider, a sophomore majoring in Agricultural Communication from Moscow, Ohio

Kayla Walls, a sophomore majoring in Agriscience Education from Mendon, Ohio

We look forward to seeing all of the work that each of you do as you represent CFAES! Congratulations and good luck!

Hawaii Buck-I-Serv

By: Bailey Wagner
agricultural communication

I hear it every time I ask my parents about an upcoming trip; “The cheapest you’ll ever travel will be your years of college, so go!” Taking full advantage of my parent’s willingness to see me fall in love with every part of the world, I started packing my bags to go to Hawaii.

I was able to explore the beautiful backcountry of the island of Maui with 11 other people. A 9 day backpacking and service trip provided through the university’s Buck-I-SERV and Ohio Adventure Center programs.

I became what some would say “crazy hiker person” for that 9 day trip. Never once did I see the inside of a resort, but instead we stayed in close quarters of what seemed to be the smallest 4 person tents. Never once did I shower with more than a garden house or the salt-water waves of the Pacific Ocean. Only twice did I have dinner prepared in an actual kitchen. I learned to envy those “crazy hiker people”.

I had never felt so out of shape until this trip. The adventure part of this experience were definitely some of the most strenuous work I have ever done. Never before would I have thought hiking would be a difficult task, but that was before I went down into a crater of a mountain then expected to go back up, not to mention this mountain sits 10,000 feet above sea level at its highest point. Let alone the work that goes into surfing! Surprisingly I was actually not half bad at the surfing deal, but man did I just want to lay on my board and take a nap.

The people I met and the service we did were just as impactful. One day we planted 50+ coconut trees, ending the day covered in mud from head to toe. (Remember how I said I didn’t shower for 9 days…I came back to Ohio with mud in my hair still.) And 3 days later we cut down 2,300+ pine trees in the national park. Pine is an invasive species to Hawaii and will take over the land, not letting native species grow. Coming home with more than just mud and souvenirs, I gained awful tan lines from the days in the sun, there was no beautiful Hawaiian glow for me.

There will never be enough words to describe this amazing experience nor will the pictures ever do it justice. So I encourage you, travel while you are in college, for it is one of my most memorable pieces about my college career.

Mahalo for reading!



Much More Than A Volunteer: Buck-I-Serv 2016

By: Christine Balint
agriscience education


As a Buckeye, everyone has their own individualized experience during their time at Ohio State. We hear about the educational abroad opportunities, the research development within the college, and watch as leaders step forward to promote diversity and love within our college community. I assume many students have heard of Buck-I-Serv, but have not taken the time to research and learn more about this great organization. Buck-I-Serv is centered-around community service and civic engagement where students learn the importance of active citizenship and working in diverse environments. I’ve decided to share my story to hopefully spark the interest of fellow students to devote some of their time here at OSU to an organization that does much more than provide manpower.

This winter break, I took the time to travel to Cleveland County Oklahoma where I spent five days working with Habitat for Humanity. With a team of seven fellow buckeyes, we worked to build a home for a tornado survivor and learned her story of how she lost her home in 2013. Lee Anne is a single mother who has lived in Norman, Oklahoma for most of her life. Tornados in Oklahoma are similar to how Ohioans treat severe thunderstorms or snowstorms: something we always hear about, but rarely takes precaution towards. During tornado season, Lee Anne’s home would be located in the direct path of one of the most powerful tornados Norman had seen in years. Arriving home after the storm, Lee Anne would only see her shower standing where her home once stood. Jumping forward to 2016, Lee Anne had began her journey towards a new home with Habitat for Humanity.

Habitat for Humanity does not give away homes for free, they do however provide a zero interest rate to make it more affordable for the homeowner. I had never worked with Habitat, and was excited to get my hands dirty and use skills I’ve learned from FFA/4H to help build this home. Little did I know that the time and work we put into the home helps Habitat offer the zero percent interest rate (which would come from outside contractors paid hourly on normal sites). Lee Anne visited us on the site and shared her personal story while installing dry wall throughout the home. I could see in her eyes that we truly were a blessing in her life and she graciously expressed her gratitude towards us committing our break time towards helping her. It was this moment that I knew I had provided a service, a service to a fellow man in need.

Over the remainder of the trip, I learned more about the social justice issue of poverty and homelessness. Norman, Oklahoma is known for it’s homeless population and my team had the opportunity to interact and work with members of that community while we were staying at the local church. Every person has his or her own story, and it is our duty to break the stereotype that lies behind homelessness.

I never could have imagined the impact this service trip would have on my time here at Ohio State. I worked with amazing members of the Habitat for Humanity team, was able to explore Oklahoma City, and travel halfway across the country with seven other buckeyes I can gladly call my good friends. I’ve learned that there is much more I can do from just volunteering. Through service I can work towards a better tomorrow, and overcome obstacles that surround our growing society. Lee Anne continues to update my team on the progress of her home and follows our lives as we proceed through college. I am forever grateful for this service opportunity and plan to commit more of my time towards service while here at Ohio State. In summary, I share the words of Gandhi, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

Meet the AES Officer Team

The 2017 executive team for Agricultural Education Society was announced at the annual banquet on November 15, 2016. The new officers shared their expectations for the coming year and why they decided to join Ag Ed Society.

2017 Agricultural Education Society Executive Team

2017 Agricultural Education Society Executive Team. From LtoR: Cody McClain, Christine Balint, Courtney Fulton, Katherine Bell, Abby Motter and Blake Campbell.


Blake Campbell, AES President
Waterford, Ohio
Agriscience Education

I am most excited to serve the Agricultural Education Society as President over the next year. I am excited to see our organization grow in the rich history that we have had over the past 135 years. Over the next year we will be focusing on our education and outreach through educating elementary students around Columbus about agriculture. I am excited to see our members grow as individuals and see each of them continue to share their own personal story about agriculture.
I joined Ag Ed Society because I wanted to share my story about agriculture. I come from a deep family history of agriculture with many stories to hear and tell. We all have stories of our own and if we take the time to hear each others stories, we will grow as an individual. Since I have joined AES I have grown as a person and I look forward to growing even more over the next year.
Abby Motter, AES Vice-President
Mansfield, Ohio
Agriscience Education
I’m most excited about serving as Vice President because I have the opportunity to increase the enthusiasm and participation of our members through organization of committees, improved efficiency, and adequate planning for our events – focusing on quality over quantity!
I joined AES because I wanted to be a part of the tradition, we are the oldest student org at the university! In addition, I wanted to further my personal and professional development as a pre-service teacher, and participate in educational outreach events that benefit our Columbus community.
Cody McClain, AES Treasurer
Upper Sandusky, Ohio
Agriscience Education

I never have held a treasurer’s position in a student organization, but I have always wanted to because I enjoy working with finances. I am excited to being leader in an organization that promotes student growth.

I joined AES becasue I wanted to meet and collaborate with individuals who were also passionate about educating and advocating for agriculture.

Christine Balint, AES Secretary
Vermilion, Ohio
Agriscience Education

 I am excited to work with the new officer team and to continue my work as the ‘communicator’ within the club. I’ve been told I send some interesting emails that can grab your attention! I hope our organization continues to grow not only in numbers, but also with the events and services we promote to the community.
I joined AES because it is the oldest organization at The Ohio State University and I wanted to be apart of a group that was committed to spreading agricultural awareness as well as devote their time to serving the community. I’ve been exposed to students who showcase great leadership ability and I am proud to say I get to work with them as future co-workers.
Katherine Bell, AES Reporter
Liberty Center, Ohio
Agriscience Education
As the reporter I’m excited to get AES name out to the college. I want more people to know about our club and what we do.
I joined AES because I not only wanted to get to know my fellow educators, but I also wanted to teach. Ag Ed Society gives me both of those in one club!
Courtney Fulton, AES Representative to CFAES Student Council


ACEL in the News: 2016 Recap

Alumni, Faculty and Staff

W. Tyler Agner, PhD candidate, Resident helps coordinate OSU trip to HondurasBellefontaine Examiner
Dr. Emily Buck,
faculty, Two Ohio women selected to faces of farmingOhio’s Country Journal
Dr. Emily Buck, faculty, Finalists for Faces of Farming announced, Ohio’s Country Journal
Dr. Emily Buck, faculty member, US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance Announces 2016’s Faces of Farming and Ranching Finalists, Oklahoma Farm Report
Dr. John Ewing, alum, Agricultural education professor wins USDA teaching award, Penn State News
Stephanie Jolliff
, PhD student, Hardin County Agricultural Hall of FameYour News Now
Stephanie Jolliff, PhD candidate, Ag Hall of Fame to induct new members, Lima News
Stacie Seger McCracken, alum, McCracken addresses Rotary Club, Sidney Daily News
Aaron Miller, alum, Helping Teachers Teach
Kelly Newlon, PhD student, The market knows no border, Farm & Dairy
Ericka Priest, alum, Getting to know… a first year Ag teacher, Ericka Priest
Adam Sharp, alum, Adam Sharp sets course to prepare OFBF for the next 100 years, Farm and Dairy
Katherine Terrell, alum, Gallipolis FFA competes at state soils contest, Gallipolis Daily Tribune
Dr. Susie Whittington, faculty, CASE Institute provides professional development at Upper Valley Career Center, Troy Daily News
Emily Wickham, staff, Local OSU student studies in Honduras, Pike County News Watchman

Current Students

Honduras Study Abroad, Ohio State students study abroad in HondurasOhio’s Country Journal
Amanda Bush, agricultural communication student, Mount Gilead student joins Ohio State study abroad trip to HondurasMorrow County Sentinel
Amanda Bush, agricultural communication student, Bush to serve term as National ACT officer, Ohio’s Country Journal
Amanda Bush, agricultural communication student, Mount Gilead grad to serve as communications coordinator for National Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Morrow County Sentinel
Blake Campbell, agriscience education student, A roundup of FFA news for the week of November 24, 2016, Farm and Dairy
Mariah Carey, agricultural communication student, Mount Gilead student awarded Ohio State agriculture scholarship
Lauren Corry, agricultural communication student, Farm bureau offers interactive agriculture exhibit
Katelyn Deaton, agriscience education student, Deaton awarded agriscience education scholarship, Register Herald
Nick Fowler, agriscience education student, Three young sheep farmers receive scholarships, Ohio’s Country Journal
Brianna Gwirtz, agricultural communication student, Shelby grad interns at Lynd Fruit FarmMansfield News Journal
Audrey Hoey, community leadership student, Emily Wickham, ACEL staff, Local OSU students and staff travel to Honduras, Chillicothe Gazette
Audrey Hoey, community leadership student, Hoey completes internship with ADM Grain, Chillicothe Gazette
Caleb Hickman, agriscience education student, Buckeyes feed the funnel, Mount Vernon News
Sarah Johnson, agricultural communication student, Johnson awarded agricultural communication scholarship
Sarah Johnson, agricultural communication student, Johnson completes internship with CFAES Advancement Office
Lea Kimley, agricultural communication student, Southeastern High grad named 2016 fair queen
Haley Kocher, community leadership student, OSU awards local woman scholarship
Rachel McClellan, agriscience education student, Xenia grad spends time in HondurasXenia Gazette
Summer McLain, agriscience education student, McLain awarded agriscience education scholarship
Summer McLain and Justin Feltz, agriscience education students, Area OSU students relate experiences in HondurasSidney Daily News
Abby Myers, agricultural communication student, Tuscarawas County Fair is showtime for 4-H members, alumni, Times Reporter
Meredith Oglesby, agricultural communication student, Shelby FFA hosts multi-chapter leadership night, Ohio’s Country Journal
Taylor Orr, Abby Motter, agriscience education students, Sarah Bookman, community leadership student, Roundup of FFA, Farm and Dairy
Leah Schwinn, agricultural communication student, Sam Wander, agriscience education student, OSU students named national scholarship recipients
Leah Schwinn, agricultural communication student, Syngenta names winners of scholarship essay contest, Greenhouse Management
Carley Snider, agriscience education student, Snider awarded scholarships
Carley Snider, agriscience education student, Moscow’s Snider to complete internship with The Fatted Calf
Carley Snider, agriscience education student, Snider attends annual agriculture educator conference, Ohio’s Country Journal
Demi Snider, agricultural communication student, Summer interns strengthen their careers and enrich programs, Kenton Times
Sydney Snider, agricultural communication student, Snider awarded scholarship
Sydney Snider, agricultural communication student, Members challenged to Transform FFA, Farm and Dairy
Emily Starlin, agriscience education student, Logan native travels to Honduras on service study trip
Mandy Taylor, agricultural communication student, Growing on social media, Wooster Daily Record
Kayla Thompson, student, Thompson awarded community leadership scholarship
Bailey Wagner, agriscience education student, Honduras trip gives OSU student new appreciation for family,Kenton Times
Mallorie Wippel, agricultural communication student, Wippel awarded agricultural communication scholarship
Mallorie Wippel, agricultural communication student, Wippel holds internship with Ohio Farm BureauCircleville Herald
Ryan Vonderhaar, agricultural communication student, Vonderhaar awarded agricultural communication scholarship

Agricultural Education Society names award recipients

The Agricultural Education Society (AES) at Ohio State named award recipients at their annual banquet. During the banquet, outstanding members were recognized in a variety of categories and the officer teams transitioned

Rose Vagedes, of Coldwater, was named Outstanding Freshman. Vagedes serves as chairman of the banquet committee, where she plans all aspects of the annual AES banquet. She is a sustainable plant systems major with a specialization in agronomy.

Kayla Walls was selected as the Outstanding Sophomore. Walls, an agriscience education major, serves as programming chair for AES and is responsible for planning club activities and events. Kayla is from Mendon.

Blake Campbell, of Waterford, was chosen as the Outstanding Junior. Campbell will serve as president for AES during 2017 and is an agriscience education major.

Justin Feltz, of Versailles, was the recipient of Outstanding Senior and the Scarlet Award. He has served as CFAES Student Council representative, treasurer, vice-president and education outreach committee chair. The Scarlet Award is presented to an outstanding club member who does not major in agriscience education. Feltz is majoring in animal science.

Frances Nicol, of Plain City, was named the recipient of the Gray Award, which recognizes a member’s involvement and dedication to the student organization. She has served as the 2016 president and will serve as the McCaslin chair for 2017.

Logan Heiby, an agriscience education major from Coldwater, was named the Outstanding Committee Chair. Logan served as the banquet committee chair, which planned the annual banquet attended by AES members, parents, faculty, and staff.

Agricultural Education Society is a student organization at The Ohio State University. Founded in 1882, it is the oldest continuously active undergraduate student organization. The organization promotes food, agricultural, and environmental sciences, stimulates interest in the profession of agricultural education and in leadership, acquaints members with the program of agricultural education, and provides fellowship opportunities. AES works with other youth organizations and develops professional competencies to improve the abilities of agricultural education majors.

Agricultural Education Society announces 2017 Officer Team

The Agricultural Education Society at Ohio State held their end of year banquet and elected a new executive team. The members of the team officer team include Blake Campbell, Abby Motter, Cody McClain, Chrissy Balint, Katherine Bell, and Courtney Fulton.


Blake Campbell, a senior majoring in agriscience education from Waterford was named as president.

As president, Campbell will be responsible for leading the club as it participates in many events such as education and outreach, Back to School Bash, Adopt-A-Highway, and BuckeyeThon.

Abby Motter, a sophomore majoring in agriscience education and Spanish from Mansfield, will serve the role of Vice President.

During her time as Vice President, Motter will be in charge of overseeing standing committees, assisting the president, coordinating recruitment efforts, and maintaining the Program of Activities.

Cody McClain, a sophomore studying agriscience education from Nevada, was selected for the position of treasure, where he will be responsible for the club’s budget, books, and financial reports.

Chrissy Balint, a junior majoring in agriscience education from Huron, will serve her second term as secretary. Balint will be head communicator by sending weekly emails to members of the club, create agendas, take notes for meetings, create external resources.

Katherine Bell, a junior studying agriscience education from Liberty Center, was selected as the reporter. As reporter, she will work with the club’s social media accounts with the goal of communicating to the public about the mission and activities of the student organization. She will also compose news releases and articles about club activities.

Courtney Fulton, a junior studying agriscience education from Kenton, was selected for the position of CFAES Student Council representative.

With this position, Fulton will attend CFEAS Student Council meetings, keep AES members informed about what is going on with other organizations throughout the college, students informed about what is going on in AES

“It’s clear to me that the Agricultural Education Society is in great hands,” said Dr. Tracy Kitchel, chair for the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership and advisor for Agricultural Education Society. “These new officers not only performed well in their interviews but backed up their comments with action as members.”

“We are very excited to see where this team will lead AES. They have some fresh ideas and the drive to continue to make AES a great student organization on campus,” said Caitlyn Black, graduate student agricultural and extension education and club advisor.

Each officer will serve a one year term from January thru December 2017.

Agricultural Education Society is a student organization at The Ohio State University. Founded in 1882, it is the oldest continuously active undergraduate student organization. The organization promotes food, agricultural, and environmental sciences, stimulates interest in the profession of agricultural education and in leadership, acquaints members with the program of agricultural education, and provides fellowship opportunities. AES works with other youth organizations and develops professional competencies to improve the abilities of agricultural education majors.

National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Convention


Written by: Carley Snider
Felicity, Ohio
Agriscience Education

On November 28th, I travelled to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Convention as a member of the “Future Agriscience Teacher” Symposium. Along with 23 other undergraduate students from around the country, I attended various professional development meetings and workshops to better myself as a future educator. I was happy to represent Ohio State and the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership as a part of this program.


Photo credit: @j_hole_nwmsu on twitter

The first day of the program focused on teaching us about inquiry-based learning and how to incorporate it into our classrooms through various teaching techniques, activities and laboratories. Inquiry-based learning is a great tool in reaching all students in the classroom. We also engaged in a session about the CASE Institute to learn about how we can utilize that curriculum to increase learning opportunities for our students.

I attended various workshops geared towards increasing my content knowledge, classroom management skills and abilities to successfully advise an FFA chapter.

Two of the sessions I attended were hosted by Lincoln Electric. One focused on activities to use when teaching welding in the classroom and the other on successfully teaching mig welding. These were really helpful workshops, as I’ll be teaching welding next semester during my student teaching.

I also attended a great session discussing the inclusion of LGBTQ community members in agricultural education classes. It was great to hear about how agricultural education and the FFA are working towards being more inclusive to all students. I aspire to run an agricultural education program and FFA chapter that is welcoming to all students in my school.

Thanks to CHS, DuPont Pioneer and Growth Energy for sponsoring my time at the NAAE Convention. I’m grateful for opportunities to grow as a pre-service educator!


Photo credit: @RCMcLean on twitter

“You don’t belong”

By Faryal Sharif
Marion, Indiana
Community Leadership


“Sometimes I want to move to Ecuador and work on Jorge’s farm,” I say to him on the phone, referencing a friend I’d met last summer.

He laughs at me. “You couldn’t handle that.”

These were the words said to me by the man I was dating at the time. He had grown up on a farm near Celina, Ohio, and hadn’t realized that I had just recently declared my major in the College of Agriculture at The Ohio State University. Those few words stuck with me for the next few days, and the following thought went through my head: “I’m not cut out for this, I’m not cut out for this, I’m not cut out for this.” When I questioned myself, the reply from the back of my head was “You don’t belong in Ag. You’re a small, wimpy, non-white, woman.”

When I first chose to study Community Leadership with a specialty in Extension, I had little grasp on what any of those words really meant. I just wanted to declare a major and move forward in my college career. But, as I fell deeper down the rabbit hole of my degree, I realized this was what I wanted to do. Despite not growing up in the exactly the same rural environment as many of my peers in ACEL, I’ve had a deep desire to work on farms, to help and connect with the people of rural America, and to be an advocate for citizens at the community level. I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why I wanted to do it, and because it was so hard to understand, I continued to argue with myself. Maybe I had a deep desire, but, well, was I really cut out for this? Once again, myself told myself: “You don’t belong. You’re a small, wimpy, non-white, woman.”

This attitude continued. I thought about changing my major. I thought about quitting college—if I wasn’t going to do this, I had no idea what to do otherwise. But I liked the discipline. I liked my classes, I liked West Campus, and I liked Columbus. I enjoyed the concept of leadership as something that could enable otherwise disadvantaged groups. Yet, I wondered what it would be like if I actually pursued a career specifically in the ag sector. Would people judge me for not knowing everything? Would I constantly feel out of the place? As I continued studying and doing job shadows of people in extension, I still couldn’t shake the thought: “You don’t belong. You’re a small, wimpy, non-white, woman.”

Then something magical happened. This summer I did an internship at Franklinton Gardens, an urban farm in Columbus. During my time there I started to get more involved in the field, traveling to places like Athens to work on more rural farms and interact more closely with members of the community. I packed CSAs and harvested tomatoes and planted microgreens. Every day of work, I would sweat and labor. One day, toward the end of my internship, I was clearing out some old beds to plant new crop. As I pushed a broad fork into some particularly stubborn soil, the following words resonated in my head, “You couldn’t handle that.” I smiled to myself. I just did. I went to lunch. Everyone around me loved and respected me. I wasn’t judged or told I was weak. I could do this. I was empowered.

That’s not to say everything that was in my head was completely wrong. Historically, women have not been invited to the big kid table in the field of agriculture, despite often being the backbone of the farming community. Women were expected to not only help in labor intensive work on the farm, but also be the ideal mother, daughter, and wife. In America, the role of people of color in farming had become invisible in many ways, as they lack access to many extension resources and are un-included in the agrarian identity. But, well, it wasn’t like we couldn’t actually DO it. It’s just that so many of us have been afraid to step up. We worry about the discrimination we may face and whether or not our qualifications will be undermined. But someone has to bear the burden. Someone has to help change the face of our agricultural landscape, and tell the girl who was majoring in Extension that “yes, you can belong.”

I graduate in a few weeks. I’m not sure exactly what I want to do. One day, I’d like to teach young people about the power of farming and good food that I had come to realize, and become a leader at the community level. Mostly, I want to continue getting my hands dirty with the soil of America. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go to Ecuador and work on Jorge’s farm.



Faryal at the Franklinton Gardens with fresh tomatoes.