In The Field Friday: Mallory Kramer

Written By Lexi Troyer

Mallory Kramer, a dedicated upcoming second-year Ohio State ATI student from Pemberville, Ohio, is currently taking part in a summer internship experience as she pursues her major in agriscience education. The chance to intern at the Sandusky County 4-H Extension Office came to Mallory’s attention through a network of fellow students at Ohio State ATI. Inspired by the experiences and recommendations of her peers, Mallory pursued this opportunity.

Mallory’s daily routine at her internship can revolve around office work or field visits, depending on the day. During her hours spent in the office, she will find herself completing a variety of online tasks, such as preparing for 4-H Camp or project judging. If Mallory is not in the office, she may be visiting elementary schools in Sandusky County. Mallory says, “So far this year we have visited two local elementary schools. While visiting the schools, we teach students about coding through the use of robots that were gifted to us through a grant.”

Looking ahead, Mallory shares that she is looking forward to managing the Sandusky County Summer Showcase. She describes the showcase as “an event that takes place after project judging, where individuals are awarded with trophies based on their placement at judging.” Mallory is enjoying her internship thus far and is eager to see what the future may hold. Reflecting on internships in general, she states, “Internships are important because they help students gain an idea of what they may want to do in their future. They also open the door for possibility and opportunity.”

College Orientation 101: What to Expect and How to Prepare

Written By Lexi Troyer

I recently completed my first year of college at Ohio State ATI and am now preparing to begin my second year in August, majoring in Animal Biosciences. Reflecting on where I was a year ago, I was getting ready for orientation, purchasing items for my apartment, and meeting my roommates. It was an incredibly exciting time, yet also quite overwhelming and chaotic. Currently working in the Ohio State ATI Admissions Office this summer, I speak with incoming students who are experiencing the same feelings I had. While I cannot eliminate their stress, I can share insight about orientation and what to expect for those attending this summer.

Orientation helps new students transition smoothly into college life in several ways.

  1. Orientation will serve as an introduction to campus, whether you have been here before or are visiting for the first time at orientation. You can tour the campus and see important locations like the Wooster Science Building, campus farms, classrooms, inside our apartments, the library, and Café Carmen.
  2. At orientation, you will learn more about the registration process to schedule your classes.
  3. You will also be introduced to various campus resources, including academic advising, counseling services, disability services, financial aid, IT for technical support, Program Excel, the bookstore, and our student life activities on campus. These areas of support will ensure that you know where to seek help when needed.
  4. Attending orientation will also benefit your social integration. You’ll have the chance to meet your peers, make new friends, and build a sense of community. Additionally, there will be panels featuring current sophomores who will answer questions from incoming freshmen. Fun fact, I met two of my three roommates for the first time at orientation.
  5. Lastly before you leave orientation, be sure to get your BuckID, which serves as your official identification card for various campus services, facilities, and activities. Remember that you must bring a government-issued photo ID (i.e., passport, driver’s license, state ID, etc.) to obtain your Buck ID at orientation.

Overall, orientation offers an enjoyable experience that serves as the starting point for acquainting yourself with fellow students, faculty, and staff, as well as the diverse array of programs available at Ohio State ATI. It’s a time filled with excitement and discovery, where you’ll begin to make connections and explore the opportunities that await you during your college journey.

Ohio State ATI Students Elected to Ohio FFA State Office Positions

Written By Lexi Troyer

Caleb Bennett and Gracie Sprague, Ohio State ATI sophomores majoring in Agriscience Education, along with Layna Gordon, an incoming freshman in the same program at ATI, exemplify what it is like to be a leader and scholar. All three have been elected to serve on the 2024-2025 Ohio FFA State Officer Team, expressing their excitement for the year ahead and gratitude towards those who have mentored them to this prestigious honor.

Caleb Bennett was recently elected to serve as the 2024-2025 Ohio FFA State Sentinel. Caleb shares that “the sentinel is stationed by the door, meaning I am to be one of the first faces to welcome members and guests at meetings and events.” Caleb got started in FFA through his middle school FFA chapter, where he gained an interest in going to competitions and competing. His dad also guided him to find interest in FFA, as he is a current FFA advisor and agriculture educator. When it came to running for state office, Caleb was encouraged to apply by one of his best friends from high school, who had also previously served as a State Officer.

Reflecting on his high school FFA experience, Caleb explained that he spent his sophomore year of high school serving as a non-constitutional officer. This means he was there to step in if any of the other officers were absent or needed additional help with a task. His junior year was spent serving as Treasurer and receiving his gold pin for completing a state-rated gold treasurer’s book. His high school officer experience did not end there, though, as he spent his senior year serving as his chapter’s President.

Anticipating the year ahead, Caleb is looking forward to spending another year at Ohio FFA Camp, this year as a State Officer. He is also eager to attend the 2024 State Officer Summit which is held in Washington D.C. When asked about his goals as a State Officer, Caleb said, “I want to learn how agriculture is practiced in different parts of the state and even across the nation.” After college, Caleb has plans to become an agriculture educator in a high school classroom or become a county Extension agent.

Gracie Sprague was elected at the 96th Ohio FFA Convention to serve as one of five 2024-2025 State Vice Presidents at Large. She shares that her task alongside other officers is “to promote Ohio FFA and encourage members from across the state to become involved with FFA.” As a proud third generation FFA member, Gracie’s own involvement with the FFA program began her freshman year of high school when she enrolled in an introductory course called “Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources.” This class, along with her 4-H involvement, led her to further her interest in FFA and agriculture. In high school, Gracie served her chapter as the President throughout her junior and senior years, giving her insight into being a successful officer.

When asked about applying for state office, Gracie shared she was not only inspired by her family and Ohio State alumni who were also FFA involved, but past Ohio FFA State Officers from as far back as 30 years ago as well. Enthusiastic about the year ahead, Gracie is most looking forward to attending Ohio FFA Camp as a state officer. She explained, “It will be a change from attending camp for five days as a member to attending camp for two months as a state officer.” She acknowledged some of the highlights of camp being outdoor fun, guest speakers, and leadership sessions. Gracie also expressed interest in applying for the International Leadership Seminar for State Officers, which takes place this year in Spain and Portugal.

With approximately 30,000 students involved with the Ohio FFA Association, Gracie has set a goal for herself to connect with as many members as possible throughout her year of service. She emphatically states, “I want to let members know that I believe in their potential as a member of the Ohio FFA program.” After college, Gracie looks to become an agriculture educator and/or FFA advisor at the high school level.

Layna Gordon was elected at the 2024 Ohio FFA State Convention to serve as the State Treasurer for the 2024-2025 term. She notes that her task with this position is much like the responsibilities that other officers on the team have: “We all work to support members and advance the Ohio FFA Program.” Following in the footsteps of her mom, grandpa, and great grandpa, Layna began her involvement with the FFA program during her freshman year of high school. She said that at first, she questioned if FFA was for her, although when she began entering public speaking contests, she quickly noticed an improvement in her communication skills. From then on, she realized the positive impact that FFA can have on someone’s life.

While in high school, Layna served as her chapter’s Secretary during her sophomore year and as President during her junior and senior years, further enhancing her experience in FFA. When it came time to apply for state office, Layna found inspiration from past State Officers. She remarked, “I looked up to previous State Officers, most often at FFA Camp. They were always excited no matter how tired they were and were also very supportive to younger members.”

One of Layna’s primary goals for the upcoming year is to meet as many people as possible and support them through any mental or physical challenges they may face. She is excited about upcoming events like FFA Camp, banquets, leadership nights, and chapter visits across the state to learn how inner-city chapters differ from rural ones. After college, Layna aspires to become an agriculture educator but is open to new opportunities that may come her way.

All elected Ohio FFA State Officers complete a rigorous application process where 50 applicants compete for state-level positions. The application process includes a written application, a video presentation of “Why I Desire to Serve as an Ohio FFA Officer,” a writing exercise, and two interviews. If slated for state office, candidates then give their “Why I Desire” presentation live to the delegates during the voting process.

My University Study Abroad Experience

Written By Kelsie Mannasmith

Last summer, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Scotland and England with Ohio State. This was a trip that was tailored specifically to my agricultural communication major. We experienced farms in the United Kingdom, met with agricultural publication companies, and went sightseeing across the countries.

Agricultural Experiences in Other Countries

Ve-Tech Holsteins

Our first agricultural stop was Ve-Tech Holsteins in Mauchline, Scotland. For the most part, the basics of the farm seemed similar to the United States. These were aspects such as the feed pusher, silage, and barn area.

The farmers mentioned that the UK does not produce much hay; therefore, they do not use it as feed. After they said this, it made sense, but I hadn’t thought of it before. Since the UK gets so much rain, it is hard to make hay a primary food source for the animals. So, silage is used much more often than we see in the United States.

Scotland’s Rural College

The second destination was Scotland’s Rural College. Here, we saw their mobile CT livestock scanning facility. They primarily test sheep with this machine. The animals are led through a chute, then elevated to the mobile trailer for scanning. They use the information to improve genetics in a herd, including the measurements of internal tissues and structures.

We also saw the college’s beef facility. The tour guides explained how the feed bins worked to track the health and diet of the cattle. Basically, the bin wouldn’t allow feeding until the animal’s ear tag was scanned by the bin. Then, the restrictive bar would lower, revealing the feed to the animal. I had never seen this before, so I thought it was super cool! I thought it was very conducive to research to have this technology to track how much an animal eats, helping in maintaining growth rates of the herd.

Each of these facilities also featured methane testing areas. The UK focuses heavily on researching adverse effects of farming on the environment, and this is one advancement that will hopefully help them do that in the future. It is not widely used yet, but they are hoping to make the technology better. In summary of the technology, they test different diets on cattle to see which produces the least amount of methane. They aim to adjust diets according to the data that they find.

As a whole, the farms we visited didn’t seem to have much concern for biosecurity, which I am not used to. This is possibly due to their tourist traffic, so it is their way of balancing education and profit for the health of their animals.

After our visit to the college, we had lunch with some students. These students were “pen pals” with the University of Arkansas students that we were traveling with. During lunch, we also had the editor of The Scottish Farmer, Ken Fletcher, speak to us about agriculture in the media. One of the Arkansas students asked what he would title an article if it were the only article he wrote. Ken responded with, “Eat Good Food.”

Netherton Angus

Our next stop was to Netherton Angus Farm in Auchterarder, Scotland. I thought it was interesting that they raised their heifers to have masculine features. This farm produces Scotland’s highest quality marbled meat. I saw the best views in Scotland at Netherton Farm.

Fife Show

The Fife show was essentially a county fair experience. This was interesting because they had all the animals in pens outside—no barns. The show arenas were in the grass, and horses were the largest exhibit.

Farmers Guardian – Agriconnect

We visited Farmers Guardian, an agricultural publication company in England. We talked about their strategies for bridging the gap between agriculture and consumers. I thought it was interesting to hear that this is a widespread topic, not just in the US. We shared FFA with them and how we became interested in agriculture. Many of their employees didn’t come from an agricultural background but had a passion for improving the industry. This was not a big surprise to me because the UK is so focused on the environment and many people are committed to agriculture in that way.

US Embassy

In London, we had the opportunity to visit the US Embassy. We met with Kathy Yao, the Agricultural Attaché for the UK and Ireland. She told us about her experiences before the position she holds now. I thought it was a great way to learn about other opportunities in agriculture. I had never thought of an internship abroad before this.

Cultural Differences

This was my second trip to the UK, so I wasn’t shocked by the culture. Last summer, however, I was very surprised with the slight differences that I noticed.

  • Environmentally conscious: I noticed many signs and labels that mentioned this concept.
  • Meal sizes: Lunch is the most important meal of the day in the UK. Even still, it is still not the portions that we are used to in the US. I can remember a lot of the people in my tour group last summer that complained that it wasn’t enough food. This is a stereotype that I saw with my own eyes!
  • Business hours: Most places close around 6 p.m., which I wasn’t prepared for. Really, if you want to go somewhere, the only places that are open are pubs, as the drinking culture is very different from the US.

Unexpected Differences

I thought that the food would be a lot different than in the US. However, much of their diet contains the same as ours, with less taste. Much of the food was bland, which definitely wasn’t what I expected. However, they did have different kinds of dishes that aligned with their cultural history. I tried many of these dishes for the experience and learned that I prefer food from home.

Impact on My View of Agriculture and Other Countries

My experience with agriculture in the UK helped me to understand the importance of advocating for the industry. When I first visited last summer, I was preparing for my first year of college, and I was able to fully grasp the importance of agriculture as I saw it in different countries. During my trip this year, the experience reinforced my decision to receive an education in agricultural communication, where I can actively exercise advocating for agriculture. These trips also gave me an appreciation for the variation of life that exists in other countries. Without these experiences, I wouldn’t know how others have adapted to fit into their environments throughout history.