In Field Friday: Courtney Heiser

This week’s In the Field Friday is Courtney Heiser. Courtney will be transitioning to Columbus for the fall semester. She is originally from Attica, Ohio and is majoring in agricultural communication. Courtney has spent her summer with the Ohio Soybean Council in Worthington as their communications intern.

Her internship has kept her busy with several projects, including managing and generating content for social media platforms. She has been able to work on the Ohio Soybean News magazine and help develop new activities for their outreach programs. Her internship even allowed her to go to the Ohio State Fair and talk with Ohio consumers and farmers about the soybean checkoff program and other important information.

Courtney’s piece of advice for students was for them to get involved and try new things.

“Be sure to take advantage of all the opportunities in front of you. ATI offers SO MANY opportunities for you to get involved and try new things. From helping others move in through the OWL program, stepping out of your comfort zone to travel abroad, scoring a campus job, networking with peers and faculty at club events, to joining an intramural team – you can find your fit and build life-long friendships as well as connections for your future, so take advantage of those opportunities!”

Her last piece of advice was to make sure that “Whatever you do, do it with all your heart. Being passionate and genuine will get you far.”

In Field Friday: Jessica Mermer

If you’ve ever picked up a potted orchid at the grocery store as a gift, chances are it was grown at Green Circle Growers in Oberlin, Ohio. Green Circle grows more than 8 million orchids annually and supplies orchids to Home Depot, Sam’s Club, Giant Eagle, Trader Joe’s, Walmart and other major retailers, in Canada and across the United States. Jessica Mermer, who will be starting her second year in the greenhouse and nursery management program in August, is currently interning at Green Circle Growers.

With more than 100 acres of indoor growing space, Green Circle is one of the largest greenhouses in North America. In the course of her internship, Jessica rotated through several of Green Circle’s operations, including poinsettia production (yep, it’s summer, but poinsettia production is already in high gear for December), mums—one of Jessica’s duties was to program the robots that plant them—annual bedding plants, and, of course, orchids.

In the 30-acre orchid range, where employees use bicycles inside the greenhouses to zip from one area to another, Jessica collects data about all aspects of orchid growing conditions—air and soil temperature, humidity, and light are just a few of the data points she measures—as well as data about the plants themselves. “Our goal is to maximize our efficiency in orchid production so we can bring the best product possible to market,” Jessica says.

Data collection wasn’t the only thing skill she gained, however. As one of 700 employees in the orchid range, Jessica had lots of opportunities to see how people grow, too. “One of the best things was learning how people from all different backgrounds and skill sets work together as a team,” says Jessica.

In Field Friday: Justin Taylor


Meet this week’s In Field Friday, Justin Taylor. Justin is from Lancaster, Ohio and is a current student at ATI. He is studying animal sciences with a specialization in beef. He is currently working two summer internships with Muskingum Livestock Auction Co. in Zanesville, Ohio and at Ruff Farms in Malta, Ohio.

There’s no such thing as a normal day of work for Justin—every day brings something different to the table. On most days his tasks include sorting off fat cattle for the different livestock auctions that happen at Muskingum Livestock, along with assisting with the flow of the different sales that take place at the sale barn by helping load and unload trucks.

On slow days at the sale barn, Justin shifts to his other job at Ruff Farms. There Justin helps with the making of hay and other farm tasks that need completed. One of Justin’s favorite things to do is ride around with his boss at the sale barn and learn about different aspects of the beef cattle industry.

Justin’s advice for future students is to take college seriously but still remember to have fun once in a while. “Make sure you get off to a good start with college. Having a decent GPA after my first two semesters really helped me once I started taking more difficult classes. With that, be sure you still make time for friends, clubs and a little bit of fun to help you handle the stress of college.”

Justin had one more piece of advice for all of us: “One of our biggest responsibilities as people who are looking for a career in agriculture is educating consumers, especially in animal agriculture. I always try to take any opportunity I have to discuss the beef industry and my involvement in it. You can really change a person’s point of view when they see how passionate you are about what you do and that you’re willing to answer any questions they may have.”

In Field Friday: Lauren Burner’19

This week’s In the Field Friday is Lauren Burner from Findlay, Ohio. Lauren is a 2019 graduate of Ohio State ATI, with a degree in community leadership and extension education. Lauren will be transiting to Columbus in the fall to finish her bachelor’s degree. She is currently interning at Ohio State Extension for Paulding and Hancock County.

Lauren has loved the different experiences this internship has allowed her to do. One of her favorite things is being able to work alongside Glen Arnold, who is the manure nutrient field specialist at The Ohio State University. She has learned how to conduct research when it comes to applying liquid livest ock manure, in replacement of commercially purchased fertilizer on wheat and corn fields. She also learned about the value of the nutrients in the manure.

The second part of Lauren’s internship is working with the agriculture and natural resource side of Paulding and Hancock County 4-H Extension offices. This has allowed her to take part in working the 2019 Paulding County Fair, attending 4-H camp, and assisting in different agriculture and natural resource events and functions such as the Paulding County Master Gardeners plant sale and fertilizer recertification class.

Lauren’s advice to future students is “never be afraid to take those steps outside of your comfort zone. It can lead to great networking experiences which allow for the foundation to be built and help take those steps in finding the job that fits best. Be willing to take adventures because you never know where an opportunity might lead you or what door might open.”

Her final advice to all students is to remember “the best is yet to come.”

In the Field Friday: Devin Herman’19

This week’s In the Field Friday is Devin Herman. Devin is originally from Edgerton, Ohio. He is a recent graduate from Ohio State ATI with associate of applied science degrees in turfgrass management and landscape horticulture. Devin currently works for the Cincinnati Reds as their grounds crew intern.

A day for Devin includes maintenance of the field including mowing, edging, painting lines, and handling maintenance outside of the stadium, which includes taking care of the flowers and trimming trees. He also gets to work during Reds games and other events held at the stadium.

Devin’s advice to students is, “Work hard, prepare for long hours, and network with everyone in and out of your field. The name of the company or organization doesn’t mean anything if you don’t get to experience everything your job has to offer.”


In the Field Friday: Paige Schaffter ’19

This week’s In the Field Friday is Paige Schaffter from Edon, Ohio. Paige graduated from ATI this past spring with her associate of science degree in Agriscience Education. She is spending the summer working for the Williams County Extension Office before heading to Columbus to finish her bachelor’s degree.

A typical day for Paige consists of anything 4-H related. She contacts judges for Miscellaneous, Food, Clothing, and Livestock interviews and competitions. She also is in charge of finding volunteers for various events throughout the summer. Paige also works with the 4-H extension educator and the program assistant for everything camp related.

This is Paige’s second summer working for the extension office. What she enjoys most about working for the extension office is watching everybody compete at different judging events and watching them succeed in a project area with big smiles on their faces! Paige went on to talk about her time at ATI and how being exposed to different groups of people helped her expand her people skills:

“My experiences at ATI truly helped me in this job by exposing me to a variety of people. Some families don’t show livestock at the fair and are in 4-H for the still projects. Had I not gone to ATI, I would not have experienced interacting with individuals that don’t know a lot or anything about livestock or agriculture. After attending ATI, I can effectively and efficiently interact with individuals with all types of backgrounds and differing levels of agricultural literacy.”

When it came to giving advice to future students, Paige was quick to say get out of your comfort zone. “I would tell incoming students to get comfortable doing things outside your comfort zone. If you’re pretty shy, go out of your way to make a friend in one of your classes, or join a club. Yes, college is about earning a degree and learning a lot inside the classroom, but what makes it truly enjoyable is the experiences you have with some of your favorite people outside of the classroom.”

Paige’s final advice for everyone is to, “Make friends, be a nice person, and always make time for some fun stuff. College is a completely new start where hardly anyone knows you, so take this time to figure out the type of person you want to be, and form habits that help mold you into your ideal person. Also, don’t be afraid to try. Just talking to people or showing an interest in a company or position can land you a pretty cool job! Study hard, have fun, meet lots of people, and do whatever makes you come alive and sets your soul on fire!!!”

In the Field Friday: Katlynn Fuller

This week’s in the Field Friday is Katlynn Fuller. Katlynn is from Paulding, Ohio and will be transitioning to Columbus this fall for her junior year. Katlynn is an agronomy major. She is spending her summer interning at Mercer Landmark in Elgin, Ohio. Katlynn spends her days scouting fields with agronomist and making chemical decisions based on the needs of the crops. She also got the opportunity to work at the Vanwert, Ohio airport, where she was able help load the crop dusters with fungicide spray for wheat. This year’s planting season has been wetter than others, but because of this she has gotten to experience some things that in a normal year she would miss out on. For Fuller, ATI was a place of growth and because of this she feels more prepared to enter industry. She encourages students to take it a step further and get involved in an internship.

“Internships are a great way to get your hands dirty within your degree,” said Fuller. “By doing internships you will be able to narrow down what you like and dislike about working in the industry. I recommend doing an internship every year that you are able to.”

While Katlynn attended ATI, she was active in clubs and organizations. She even served as a resident adviser. Her advice for future students is to get involved.

“Starting college as a freshman seems scary, although everyone you are surrounded by is in the  same boat as you are”, said Fuller. “Keeping this in the back of your mind can help ease your freshman jitters. When I was a freshman I was involved in the OWL (Orientation Welcome Leader) program at ATI that allows you to move in two days early which allows you to meet new people and feel better prepared for the start of the semester. I encourage everyone to apply to be an OWL.”

There are many different clubs on campus to get involved in and it will make your college career more enjoyable. One thing that she has learned while involved on campus is networking.

”Never pass up a chance to meet someone new. Now is the time to step outside of your comfort zone and try new things,” said Fuller. “If the thought of trying something new scares you, then you will most likely grow by doing it.”


Good luck and Go Bucks!

Katlynn Fuller

In the Field Friday; Devan Eckert’18


Meet Devan Eckert! 

This week’s In the Field Friday is Devan Eckert. Devan is from Stockport, Ohio and graduated from ATI in 2018 with her degree in agriscience education. Devan is spending her summer interning with Holmes County Extension. At the completion of her summer internship, Devan will head back to Columbus for her senior year of college. Starting in January, Devan will be wrapping up her bachelor’s degree by student teaching at Southern High School in Racine, Ohio. After graduation, Devan plans on pursuing a high school agricultural teaching position. Devan’s advice to future ATI students is “Beginning at ATI made my transition to Columbus much easier. Always stay open-minded, things will not always go like you planned. Take advantage of every opportunity to grow as an individual, and get involved with student clubs and organizations.”.

In the Field Friday: Garrett O’Donnell ’14

This week’s In the Field Friday is Garrett O’Donnell! Garrett graduated from Ohio State ATI in 2014 with his associate science degree in agricultural systems management. He then later went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in Columbus in 2015. Garrett currently works at Darling Ingredients in Winesburg, Ohio where he is the production manager. Darling Ingredients is the world’s largest producer of sustainable natural ingredients with over 200 facilities over 5 continents. At the Winesburg facility; they process and manufacture feed ingredients for the pet food industry. He oversees a staff of 35 employees and the production processes of the facility.

When asked about his time here at ATI Garrett responded, “I recommend Ohio State ATI to any “farm kid” like myself. I grew up on a small livestock operation. I was heavily active in 4-H and FFA growing up in Holmes county. My favorite parts about ATI were the small class sizes, the hands-on learning environment and facilities to apply knowledge and the first name basis that I had with my professors and the faculty”.

He later went on to give advice for any future students, “My advice would be to get involved in as much as possible. I worked for the university grounds crew, served as a resident advisor for the Applewood Village, was a member of the Hoof & Hide Club, participated in intramural softball and was voted the 2013 Homecoming King during my time at ATI. I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent at The Ohio State University and recommend ATI to anyone looking for a step in the right direction towards their career! Go Bucks!!”

Living on Campus

by Kayleigh Metz

A huge part of college is campus housing. I know I wanted to experience what it was like to really live on my own, and I also knew I wanted to be a Buckeye. When I visited Ohio State ATI, we toured the campus housing complex, Applewood Village. ATI students live in on-campus apartments located in Applewood Village! The apartments have a full kitchen and plenty of cabinet space for food. They even have living rooms to hang out in with all of your friends. I knew living in the apartments would involve cooking and cleaning and all that good stuff, but I also needed it to feel like home. Luckily, campus housing here has provided me with a home-away-from-home feeling.

Leaving home was a little scary, but I was excited for the road ahead. I met plenty of people here and always have a place to go if I want to get out of the apartment. My friends and I started doing dinner together every night. We all help and chip in with whatever we’re cooking, or even if we want to order pizza together. People I know from back home had a Super Bowl party on Sunday, and we cooked on the grill on our back patio while someone else was fixing nachos and cheese in a crockpot. “Family night,” as we call it, is one of our favorite things at ATI.

During the day when we need a snack, you can usually find us at the café here at ATI, Café Carmen. After our early morning classes or labs, we stop and get breakfast—like home fries or breakfast sandwiches, or sometimes something as simple as fruit loops and milk. Before our afternoon classes, we all meet up for lunch. Our favorites at the café are the chicken tenders and cheese fries, General Tso chicken, and the chicken patty sandwich. When you’re in a hurry, you can even take it to go so you can have a snack in class. Or you can take it back to your apartment or to the library to eat and study! Although Café Carmen isn’t open for dinner, there are plenty of ways to eat on campus, off campus, or with your friends!