“Doing to Learn”: How Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum Prepared me for a Future in Education

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By: Bradley Collins, Agriscience Education | Coolville, OH

The National FFA Association’s motto reads, “Learning to do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve”; this statement means a lot of things to a lot of people (over six hundred twenty-nine thousand current members). Although I’m now an alumnus, I find myself thinking about this motto from time to time. As an FFA Member, these words reminded me that “Doing to Learn” would be the key to my success, now that I am in my third year at The Ohio State University, these words still hold their merit.

Preparing to teach agricultural science in the classroom is what I have been working on for the last three years, however, agriscience educators work with students nearly as much out of the classroom as they do in. It’s difficult to understand what it’s like to be an agriculture educator unless you’ve done a little walking in their shoes (boots). During my time studding Agriscience Education, I have done half-a-dozen career shadowing projects, as well as a two week Early Field Experience, during all of which I was in the classroom. It’s not until an education student’s senior year that they can complete student teaching and be in the classroom for an extended period. For me it’s hard investing all of my time and money studying to have a career in a field that I’ve only experienced half of. Outside of the classroom, Agriscience Educators spend hours taking students to contests, conferences, conventions and camp; sometimes across the country. This summer, I was fortunate enough to gain some inside experience working with students outside of the classroom.

Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum is located on Leesville Lake in Carrol County Ohio. Every summer, FFA members from across Ohio come to camp to make new friends, gain leadership abilities, and most importantly, to have fun. Ohio FFA Camp employs around seven college students every summer to help staff all of the sessions of camp. As one of the seven that was selected this year by camp director Todd Davis (an alumnus of the Ohio State College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Science), and his full time staff, I moved into camp on May 31, and by July 18 I didn’t want to leave. Ohio FFA Camp Muskingum Summer Staff is responsible for coordinating activities, writing programs, life guarding, high ropes etc.. Although all five regular sessions of camp had the same schedule, every week was different. Around midday every Sunday a new set of students and their advisors would show up at camp registration, each week different from the last. I worked with upwards of twelve hundred students this summer and made countless connections with their advisors. Knowing that I would be in the advisors’ position in just a few short years, I took every opportunity to gain knowledge from their experiences, not to mention the career networking opportunities. Because of my position on camp staff I was able to work side-by-side with the professionals that will one day be my peers, as well as my fellow staff members, who I now call friends.

The Ohio FFA Camp summer staff position was originally created as an internship designed for future agriscience educators (although our staff is now fairly diverse). The time I spent this summer on Leesville Lake has taught me that even with training from one of the best institutions in the Nation, nothing can prepare you more for a career than getting out there and “Doing to Learn”.

Becoming a Buckeye at the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

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By: Meredith Oglesby, Agricultural Communication | Hillsboro, OH

Goals as a Freshman: Make it to class on time, conquer the bus system, attend football games as a student, find others with the same passions, and learn Carmen Ohio. Although I had these goals in my mind I was still nervous about the size and number of student on the campus. On August 20 with these goals in mind, I moved on campus, nervous just as your typical freshman would be. Looking back there was nothing to be nervous about, as a student in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences there are so many people willing to help you ensure you have everything to be successful.

As week two rolled around I had successfully ridden the campus bus, figured out the best places to eat on campus, and had made it through my first week of classes, now I was encouraged to join different clubs and student organizations on campus! Whether you would like to join a club focusing on your major or a hobby that you love, there is a club for everyone! This way I met so many others with the same interests and passions as mine. The clubs offer opportunities for students to travel, learn leadership skills, and volunteer for community service.

The College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences ensures that every student feels welcome and that all students are successful. Students have the opportunity to meet with faculty and staff, and professors care about their students. The professors, faculty, and staff try their best to learn students on a name to name basis and encourage students to visit their offices often!

I couldn’t imagine a better place to spend my first year as a college student. I have already met so many awesome people. The opportunities for students are endless from the various classes, clubs, and unique experiences students will feel at home. The College of Food, Agriculture, and Environmental Sciences encourages students to find their passions and meet so many awesome new individuals. I have officially conquered 20 days as a college student, attended a football game, rode the bus, and made it to all my classes. As I continue to learn traditions, and meet new people I know I made the right decision last fall when I applied to The Ohio State University and the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

My Summer in the River Bottoms

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By: Landon Lindemer, Agribusiness and Applied Economics | Springhills, OH

This summer I had the opportunity to do an Internship in Hales Point, Tennessee working for Cargill Inc. As an operations intern I spent a lot of time in the plant getting hands-on experience with many tasks.  Hales Point is a facility located along the Mississippi river, so we loaded barges throughout the summer.

I had many projects over the summer. One project was updating the maintenance records and specs of the equipment in the plant. Another was focused on updating safe operating procedure manuals so new employees can learn their job much faster. My biggest project was analyzing the barge loading process at our facility and finding ways to load barges safer and more efficiently. Through this project I got to meet many people, project managers, operations leaders, and maintenance and reliability leaders.

Throughout the summer I got to travel to several different places. I was able to tour Cargill headquarters in Minneapolis, MN and met many more interns there during the Intern Forum. I toured Reserve and Westwego, Cargill’s two export facilities in Louisiana. In addition, I got to take part in train loading at the Tuscola, IL facility. I even worked a day in a barge loading facility on the Tennessee River.

What I am the most thankful for was the great people I worked with. My first day they made me feel at home and by the end of the summer I felt like I was a part of their family. They liked to laugh at how I called a shopping cart a shopping cart, not a “buggy” and showed me how to make some very sweet sweet tea. I had a great summer in the “river bottoms” and can’t wait for what’s next!

CFAES Ambassador Team Takes Retreat

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By: Mindi Brookhart, Agricultural Communication| Waynesfield, OH

What comes to mind when you think of going on a weekend retreat? If you imagine taking a break from your busy schedule, getting out of town, and enjoying good food and great company, then we have something in common! The Ambassador Team from the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences spent our first weekend back at The Ohio State University doing just that.

Hey there, my name is Mindi Brookhart and I am a third year student at OSU. As an Agricultural Communication major, I was welcomed onto the CFAES Ambassador team in the spring of 2016 and recently earned the privilege of experiencing my first Ambassador Retreat.

After the first week of classes, 31 students from CFAES gathered in the Agricultural Administration building and began a training seminar. It was equipped to better educate our group and make us aware of unique situations we could encounter such as leading tours on campus to prospective students or working at recruiting events. Once that concluded, we headed to Woodhaven Farms in Johnstown and spent our evening escaping the city. We worked in groups to prepare supper and spend genuine time getting to know fellow team members and relaxing by the pond.

Saturday morning, we dove right into our busy day and engaged in an Open Doors training. Its purpose was to educate and make us think about diversity and how we approach it each day. This event was led by Pamela Thomas.  Our afternoon was spent expanding our knowledge about our college by working with Amy Jo Baughman and Jill Arnett, our advisors.

On Sunday morning, we concluded our retreat with strong peer discussion while eating brunch. The final stop of the weekend was at Price Farms Organics.

I take pride in representing the college as well as The Ohio State University by serving as a CFAES Ambassador. Though it is a competitive process to join the team, it is a very rewarding experience. We polish our professional skills and have the opportunity to represent our student body when meeting large contributors to our school as well as industry professionals.

If you love being a Buckeye and staying involved with the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, the ambassador team may be a great fit for you!

Buckeye in Mexico

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By: Carley Snider, Agriscience Education | Felicity, OH

Growing up involved in programs such as 4-H and FFA, I’ve always valued the way youth can be developed through agricultural experiences. So, when I had the opportunity to be involved in a similar program working to develop youth in Mexico, I had no hesitation in saying “yes!”

I spent my summer living in Magdelena de Kino, Mexico as an intern for The Fatted Calf organization. My main duty as an intern was to oversee the children participating in a 4-H-like event known as “Expo Esperanza,” or “Hope Expo.” “Expo Esperanza” is an event held for the children living at Casa Vida y Esperanza, an orphanage in Magdelena. I served as, essentially, the “4-H advisor” of the children participating in beef cattle, sheep, and chicken projects. Additionally, I taught two summer school classes focused on cooking and electricity.

Throughout the summer, I used my experiences in showing livestock and completing 4-H/FFA projects to help the children gain new skills, learn new knowledge and develop new perspectives.

At Expo Esperanza, I was able to watch, like a proud teacher would, as my students showcased their projects. 16 students participated in beef showmanship, 15 participated in sheep showmanship, 8 participated in sheep production, and 25 participated in chicken showmanship and production. Seeing the pride each child held as they presented their projects was an unmatchable experience. I’m thankful that I was able to use the skills and knowledge I gained through youth programs in Ohio to be a part of developing youth in Mexico through similar programs.

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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AZP Class 17, Day 1 Columbus, OH

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