Gracious, Honduras!

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By: Amanda Bush, Agricultural Communication | Mt. Gilead, OH

Last May, a group of 26 students and faculty from Utah State University and The Ohio State University traveled abroad for 16 days to Honduras for a Community Development and Agricultural Outreach Education Study Abroad program with the supervision of Dr. Jamie Cano, Tyler Agner, and Emily Wickham of Ohio State and Dr. Gary Straquedine of Utah State University. Our host family, Larry and Angie Overholt are also native Buckeyes who took care of us throughout the trip.  While in Honduras, we accomplished many great things and was able to see several incredible places and sights.

Each day was a new adventure. We never really knew what we were getting into until it was happening. Whether it be cooking with the people of the villages to prepare a meal for the kids in school, helping serve the food to the children in the school, helping build an outhouse for a family with teenage girl who has never had bathroom facilities, or making and pouring concrete at the Vocational schools for various projects the needed done. Whatever the task was, we all came together to make it happen – even in the 100+ degree heat.

However, we did not always work. Some days we would take tours of the cities around and all they had to offer such as the “Mercado” which is essentially a supermarket where the Hondurans go each day to get their food while also visiting a sugar cane processing plant, a milk processing and packaging plant and visiting several vocational and public schools in the area.

A few things learned on this study abroad trip to Honduras was not just hard work and determination to see the job through – it was much deeper than that. A sense of respect and assurance that no matter how bad we think we have it some times, we truly are blessed to live in this country and have the freedoms we do. This experience allowed us to open our hearts and minds to the truths of the world and uncover a passion for international development and positive change for which we all say, “Gracious, Honduras!”

A Roaring Night to Remember

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By: Ryan Alu, Agribusiness and Applied Economics | Columbus, OH

As a transfer student who only had three semesters at Ohio State I came in with a keep your head down and graduate mentality. I am so happy I read Adam Cahill’s weekly update email and took a chance on being a co-chair for the banquet committee, which made me truly feel like a part of the buckeye and CFAES community.

On Thursday April 7th the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences came together to recognize the accomplishments of the students, faculty, and staff at the 63rd annual Recognition Program. I was lucky enough to not only be a part of the group of 28 students that put it together but also to be one of the Chairmen of the group. As a transfer student I had never attended the banquet so I came in having very little idea of what to expect. The planning for the banquet began in October with a meeting between the co-chairs and our awesome advisors Dr. Marilyn Trefz and Dr. Warren Flood I could tell that it was going to take a lot of work to make it a great banquet.

Every member of the committee put in a lot of hard work to make the banquet the success it was. Every part of the banquet, from creating the menu, to decorating the ballroom, was either run or managed by a student. The banquet being a student run event, makes it that much more special, because it shows just how much the students care about, and want to put on a great event for their fellow classmates, faculty, and staff of the college. After all of the hard work, it was great to see the final product, especially the look on students and their families’ faces that received awards. However, my favorite part of the banquet was at the end, when all of the seniors gathered on stage and lead the entire room in singing Carmen Ohio. That night was one that will stick with me forever and the experience of being a part of the banquet team is one that I would highly suggest for anyone.

How Firm thy Friendship

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By: Lindsay Hayward, Animal Sciences | Delaware, OH

For those of you who have had a leadership position in the past, you know first-hand how time consuming and stressful it can be. I am the current president of the Ohio State ATI Community Council in Wooster. I never imagined that I would be in this position, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am constantly reminded of all the great work our club does. This motivates our club members and myself to continuously outdo ourselves when we plan our next event.

Community Council is a student based organization that plans events for the students on campus. This year past we planned the annual Homecoming Dance, a Walking Taco Bar, and the Buckeye Bull Bash. Our main goal is to create a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere which gives students an experience that they will remember forever. This past February, we hosted the third annual Buckeye Bull Bash.  For my fellow Buckeyes who don’t know what this is, let me explain. This night is dedicated to line dancing, singing along to 90’s country, and of course, riding a mechanical bull. Community Council brings in a live band to give the ambiance of a country saloon. This year the Lincoln Way Band gave us an unbeatable show and rocked the house. Nothing brings people closer together than “lying on our backs and counting the stars” and reliving the memories we made at 4-H or FFA camp. This year I rode a mechanical bull for the first time and even though I am no Tuff Cooper or Lane Frost, I had fun trying. Events like these give us the opportunity to escape the stresses of college and enjoy time with our friends and classmates.

You learn more about your peers outside of the classroom because you are able to see their true colors. I love giving my peers the chance to learn more about the people who they spend a majority of their time with. The Ohio State University prides itself in tradition, honor, and excellence. No matter what campus you may be on, this still holds true. Carmen Ohio says it best, “the seasons pass the years will roll, time and change will surely show, how firm thy friendship, Ohio.” I am blessed beyond words by the lifelong friendships I have made at The Ohio State University.

ASM GEAPS Trip 2016

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By: Grant Cory, Agricultural Systems Management | Frankfort, OH

My name is Grant Cory. I’m currently a sophomore studying Agricultural Systems Management at The Ohio State University. In late February and early March, a small group of about 18 students from Ohio State’s Agricultural Systems Management (ASM) Club, along with our club’s advisor Dewey Mann, had the great privilege to travel to Texas to take part in the 2016 GEAPS Exchange. GEAPS stands for Grain Elevator And Processing Society. The annual exchange that GEAPS holds every year is a 5-6 events where companies associated with the grain industry come from around the country to show off their new products, technology, and services. It is essentially a place for the exchange of ideas where people in the grain industry and people interested in the grain industry can come to learn just how the grain industry in the United States actually works, and how it’s constantly growing and innovating.

The Agricultural Systems Management (ASM) Club usually attends this conference/exchange/expo every year, and every year it’s held in a new location. This year’s exchange was being held in Austin, TX. I felt very privileged to be a part of the group of ASM Club students that attended this year’s exchange because it was such a fun and educational trip that allowed me to learn about one of the most important industries in agriculture, and it gave me the opportunity to become closer to some of my fellow ASM students, something I feel like I haven’t been able to do during my time at Ohio State because of my busy college life.

Those of us going on the trip were mostly ASM students, but a few were actually Agribusiness students. Despite not majoring in ASM, they told us that they wanted to be involved in the club because they saw how its members were such a tight-knit agriculture community that constantly sought knowledge about the agricultural industry, and they wanted to be able to learn more about the industry alongside us. Continue reading

Dear Brazil, Obrigada

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By: Mary Siekman, Agricultural Communication | Delaware, OH­

On January 4th myself and fourteen of my peers stood with bags packed in the Port Columbus International Airport as we waited to depart for what was to be the biggest adventure of my life – a six week study abroad experience in São Paulo, Brazil.

This six-week experience is a trip students look forward to every January. Each year a new class of students is inducted into Alpha Zeta Partners, an honorary fraternity in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Traveling to Brazil is one of four seminars the newly elected class of AZP members participate in together. The other three focus on personal leadership development, understanding diversity and a seminar in Washington D.C. highlighting organizational change.

While my class was abroad in Brazil we were enrolled in classes at the ESALQ campus of the Universidad De São Paulo focusing on economics, agriculture and the history of Brazil. Not only did we learn about Brazilian agriculture in the classroom, but we also experienced it first hand during the two weeks our class spent touring different farms and agricultural companies around the south eastern part of Brazil.

As part of our final grade each of us was expected to keep a daily journal to record our thoughts and experiences in throughout our trip. Below is a journal entry I wrote during a layover in the airport as we traveled home:

Dear Brazil,

Obrigada – “Thank you.”

Thank you for welcoming us. One of the first things I noticed way back in January when we stepped off our plane in the São Paulo airport was how immediately I felt welcomed. Throughout the entire six weeks we lived in Brazil I rarely met someone who did not go the extra mile to make me feel welcome and comfortable. The Brazilians we met and tried to communicate with (even with the English/Portuguese language barrier) often tried their hardest to listen, understand and communicate with us. Instead of ignoring us or laughing behind our backs (although we did look funny on many occasions!!) they made an effort to include us, learn about us and teach us about their culture…especially in some of the restaurants we visited often. We were welcomed in and treated like family when we went out to eat dinner, which made saying goodbye difficult to do.

Thank you for immersing us in your culture and opening our eyes to the world around us. Traveling to Brazil was the first time I had ever been abroad and completely submerged in a culture different than my own. Not being able to read the street signs, understand the waiter at dinner or know how to act in different social situations challenged me to focus in and think in a different way. During our time abroad my classmates and I challenged each other to embrace this new culture every chance we could and as a result were able to begin to understand the differences between our cultures and learn so much more about the country we were living in.

Thank you for friends and family we will have forever. Before we departed from the Columbus airport more than six weeks ago we were just a group of classmates who hadn’t spent much time together and didn’t know much about each other. However, through the spontaneous adventures we went on, the intentional conversations we had and through all of the experiences we shared we learned to appreciate each other and became closer. The group of classmates that had left the United States together six weeks ago were not the same students that came back home. But instead, the students that landed in the Columbus airport on Friday are a group of great friends, teammates and family. We all have Brazil to thank for bringing us together and tying us closer.

– Not only did we return home knowing we have new friendships in the United States, but also knowing we will always have great friendships and families in Brazil. During our time abroad we met and grew close with many individuals and families and will hold onto the relationships until next time we return back to Brazil.

Obrigada por tudo, Brasil – “Thank you for everything, Brazil.”

Until next time,

Mary

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AZP Class 17, Day 38 Piracicaba, SP, Brazil

For more of Mary’s experiences visit: http://marysiekman.wordpress.com

The Importance of the Career Expo

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By: Daniel Grayless, Agricultural Communication | Russellville, OH

Every semester companies gather in the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H center for the CFAES Career Expo. The companies come to meet with students and hire them for jobs and internships. Around 70 companies make it to the event and hundreds of students come dressed in business professional attire to network and give their elevator speeches to try and secure an interview.

These career expos are great opportunities for students to be able to get their resumes in the hands of employers and for them to really be able to interact with the employers. There is a lot of preparation the students need to put in to be successful at the career expo.  Students need to make sure that their resume is polished and up to date, do their homework on what companies are attending and what positions they are hiring for, form elevator speeches and make sure their dress attire is clean and wrinkle free.  After all this there are other resources students can take advantage of to improve their skills and feel even better prepared.  The Career Development Office offers videos on preparing for the career expo, resume workshops and reviews and opportunities for students to do practice interviews with companies.

The career expo can be nerve-wracking and stressful especially for the unprepared. Thankfully an abundance of resources are offered to help students prepare, they just need to take advantage of them.  With the expo coming up this week it is imperative that students be preparing now if they want to make a lasting impression with employers.

 

For The Kids: What I learned from BuckeyeThon

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By: Cece Utendorf | Agribusiness and Applied Economics | Columbus Grove, OH

As a senior, I have had many awesome and inspiring experiences throughout my years at Ohio State. Above all, BuckeyeThon has been the most incredible event that I have ever been a part of. BuckeyeThon is an event put on by the students at Ohio State that raises money for the Oncology/Hematology and Bone Marrow Transplant Departments at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The fundraising happens all year, but the main event is the Dance Marathon, which is held each year at the beginning of February. In fact, BuckeyeThon is the largest student-run philanthropy event in the state of Ohio! The Dance Marathon is centered around the children and families from Nationwide Children’s that participate. The children that attend are befittingly called “Miracle Kids.”Here’s a few of things that I have learned from my BuckeyeThon experience & why I think you should participate, too:

  1. My troubles are small I think that every single Ohio State student that participates in BuckeyeThon leaves feeling this way. Although my day-to-day may seem stressful and I may think life is hard, I have never endured what these children have endured. During the Dance Marathon, the dancers stand and dance for 12 hours without sitting down. We dance “for the kids who can’t” and because our exhaustion during that time is nothing compared to the exhaustion of what the children and their families battle daily.
  1. Always take a moment to make someone’s day This is something that you will never, ever regret doing. At BuckeyeThon, the Miracle Kids enter the event by running down a red carpet through a tunnel of loving Buckeye students that can’t wait to meet them and throughout the event they are given celebrity status. Their smiles alone make the event worth attending!
  1. Service brings people together I met one of my very best friends at BuckeyeThon in 2015! We participated in BuckeyeThon this year together as well. The camaraderie among the Ohio State community is felt very deeply at BuckeyeThon. You can feel the sense of community among everyone who is packed in the main hall of the Union when we all put our arms our one another and sing Carmen Ohio. This is a moment that I will never forget.
  1. Don’t underestimate your own ability to make a difference And amazing things happen when people come together and decide to make a difference. This year at BuckeyeThon, we collectively raised $1,338,872 for the kids at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Such an impressive number can only come from the dedication and the hearts of many!
  1. Children are better dancers than I am Truly, these Miracle Kids have better moves than I do. But it doesn’t matter! I learned at BuckeyeThon to put myself out there! You do not have to be the best at something to do it. Have confidence and step out of your comfort zone. This is where personal growth happens!
  1. Keep moving forward. One of my favorite side events at BuckeyeThon was the face painting. The Miracle Kids are given paint and use the dancers as their canvas. One sweet little boy, Hayden, drew a big red heart on my arm! Out of the blue, he told me that he wants to be a hockey player and a doctor when he grows up. This small child has been through so much, but yet has big dreams and hope for tomorrow. It’s such a great reminder of the need for strength and faith in our lives even when things seem impossible.
  1. Always take advantage of opportunities I will forever be thankful that I took advantage of the opportunity to participate in BuckeyeThon!

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A Good Kind of Discomfort

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By: Natalie Miller, Agribusiness and Applied Economics | Washington Courthouse, OH

From January 1-10, I joined a group of 26 other first year students from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences on an Adventure through Nicaragua. Although we had spent one semester together in our pre-departure course, it was impossible for me to foresee the growth that we would experience as students in an unfamiliar culture. Most importantly, I never could have predicted that the majority of this growth would result from discomfort. As we toured Nicaraguan cities, ate beans and rice with every meal, and attempted to speak a new language, I realized that new, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable experiences fuel growth. We grew together as friends, but individually in our own unique ways.

For the first time in my life, I was thrown into a culture where my primary verbal communication consisted of saying, “gracias,” and smiling. Our group traveled with translators, but I never could have imagined how challenging being unable to communicate with someone directly could be. On the contrary, I learned that body language and laughs are universal as we stayed with families in the Peñas Blancas Mountains (checkout Abby Motter’s blog post for more about our home stay https://u.osu.edu/studentblog/2016/01/12/a-new-reality/). Another student, Hannah, and I were able to learn new card games and play pick up sticks with minimal verbal communication and a whole lot of smiling and demonstrations.

Throughout our time in Nicaragua, we hiked up a muddy mountain in the pouring rain and loved every minute, we got a little (or a lot) sunburned while swimming in a volcanic crater turned lake—it was awesome. We experienced bus sickness, a language barrier, new cuisine, and showers without hot water, but these uncomfortable experiences helped us to become more in tune with Nicaraguan culture, to foster friendships in our group, to become less materialistic and more humanistic, and to realize that all things considered, people are people wherever you are. I am so thankful for an uncomfortable, fulfilling, and infinitely gratifying ten days.

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An Invertebrate Intermission: Why I Spent My Semester in Bodega Bay, California

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By: Benjamin Rubinoff, Environmental Science | West Chester, OH

Growing up in Southwest Ohio, the closest beach to me was an amusement park. However, family vacations and countless books and documentaries ignited my passion for marine life. I chose to go to The Ohio State University because I knew I’d be able to “get my feet wet” in research from the beginning. With my marine passion in mind, I have sought out internships and experiences outside of the classroom to prepare me for a PhD in Marine Ecology. After reading some scientific papers, I whimsically decided to email a researcher at University of California Davis to see if he needed any help with research. After a few phone calls and a visit, I was offered the position to work as an Undergraduate Laboratory Technician for Dr. Ted Grosholz at Bodega Marine Laboratory.

Conquering my 5-day road trip adventure, I made it to California in September 2015. I helped with a project looking at the effects of estuarine acidification on oyster growth and survival. Carbon dioxide can dissolve into surface waters, increasing acidity. This acidification, along with projected extreme weather events, has and will continue to be harmful to organisms, including economically important species like oysters. Working in Tomales Bay, CA, an estuary just north of San Francisco, I assisted with field experiments and data analysis that seek to better understand these complex changes. While the work wasn’t always glamorous (I measured thousands of oysters), I enjoyed helping with both lab work and data analysis. I even was able to help in presenting this project at two scientific conferences!

Hoping to complete my PhD at UC Davis, this experience gave me incredible networking opportunities. I was also able to reflect and grow as a person in my time there. Boating in 10 ft. swells, accidentally stabbing myself (instead of the oyster), and dealing with massive data sets tested my patience. However, I can proudly say that after returning, I believe my time out west further solidified my research and career goals. I will end this post with some unsolicited advice: the world is your oyster. Take a step outside of your comfort zone! You may just land a position working your dream job in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

 

A New Reality

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By: Abby Motter, Agriscience Education | Mansfield, OH

Driving into the Peñas Blancas Mountains of Nicaragua you might first recognize the breathtaking mountains covered in colorful foliage, the muddy dirt road, or the homes and buildings scattered across the countryside. However, after spending time there you will realize it is the people that will stick in your memory.

Just last week I spent two nights in the rainforest with a Nicaraguan family that belonged to a Coffee Grower’s Community and Cooperative. I was fortunate to have this opportunity through signing up for a First Year Experience Study Abroad Program at orientation through the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Part of the experience involved splitting into small groups and completing a home stay with a local family. The families we stayed with spoke little to no English, worked full time as coffee farmers, and did the best they could with their low income that required countless hours to earn. These farmers will harvest every day from October to February, at the end of the harvest season they will receive one paycheck that must last for an entire year.

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My family lived in a beautiful valley with potatoes, coffee plants, banana trees, chickens, geese, and mountain hillsides with tropical flowers everywhere. Although my group and I were able to communicate in some Spanish, both cultural and lingual barriers still existed. It was through the youngest daughter, an eight year old named Katalina, we were able to form the strongest connection. Just like many eight year old girls in the United States her favorite color was pink, she loved kittens, and her favorite princess was “Nieve Blanca” or Snow White. When we presented the children of the family with a brand new bouncy ball, we had the whole group of us playing. Later that evening the older boys of the family asked if we had “tarjetas” or cards, they soon were teaching a new game similar to Rummy. We shared pictures of our families and helped our host mother make tortillas over the open wood fire.  When our host father put up our mosquito nets at night we were there holding the hammer and nails, just like a child would with their father in a rural Ohio home.  We may live completely different lives, but we had so many similarities.

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Staying with a family of a different culture, socioeconomic status, and completely different language was a humbling and perspective changing experience. We may have walked up a muddy hill to an outdoor latrine, showered with a bucket of mountain water in the open air, shooed chickens out of the kitchen, and witnessed a spider larger than my hand; but our host family lived with incredible dignity and expressed continual happiness. In our country too often we associate personal fulfillment and contentment with the amount of material possessions we own, the house we live in, the car we drive, the job we have, and the friends we keep. Instead, in the quiet mountains of Nicaragua this family was happy for companionship, the beautiful scenery all around them, good food to eat, and a sturdy tin roof over their heads. I am grateful for the chance to learn about another culture, and the reminder of all the things we have to appreciate.