by Rachel Waggie, agricultural education and communication master’s student
In the spring 2019 agricultural communications capstone class, teams of two paired with alumni clients to create a strategic communication plan related to a work project of their client. Students worked with Jesse McCurry (’00), Kansas Grain Sorghum; Robin Kleine (’12), Focus Marketing Group; Nicole Crosson (’13), Wyandotte County 4-H youth development extension agent; Jessica Bowser (’03), USDA rural development; and Maggie Seiler (’15), Hoard’s Dairyman.
“This class brought together all of the elements that I learned about throughout my collegiate career,” spring graduate MiK Fox says. “Delving into the background about a company or campaign, unpacking problems and possible solutions and learning the various strategies and tactics necessary for the creation of a campaign that encompassed all of the qualities needed for a successful campaign will help me in my future. Being able to see the real world implications throughout the class has helped to bring what I learned in the classroom into fruition in the real world.”
“The class helped them think critically and strategically about audience analysis and modes of communication,” Dr. Katie Burke remarks. “The alumni were great to work with, too!”
The Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement hosted its third annual new-media marketing conference, the Insight Summit. The conference featured topics related to new-media marketing, including storytelling across platforms, basic and advanced analytics, social media strategy, visual content, e-newsletters, and selling online.
The 2019 Insight Summit differed from past events by hosting agricultural communicators and researchers from across the country to present recent research to participants. Academic researchers included: Courtney Meyers, faculty at Texas Tech University and 2003 K-State agricultural communications and journalism alumna; Angie Lindsey, faculty at the University of Florida; and Shuyang Qu, faculty at Iowa State University. Graduate student researchers included Deanna Reid, K-State; Levy Randolph, University of Florida; Brittany Bowman, Oklahoma State University; and Maggie Elliot, Texas Tech University.
The center is a unique resource for rural and agricultural businesses because of its interdisciplinary partnership of founders: Lauri M. Baker, agricultural communications and journalism; Cheryl R. Boyer, horticulture; and Hikaru H. Peterson, agricultural economics. CREE is an institutional collaboration between K-State and the University of Minnesota.
Additional team members include Allison Wakefield, intern and current ACJ student, and Mikhayla DeMott, audience engagement specialist and 2017 ACJ alumna.
The Insight Summit, previously known as the New-Media Marketing Boot Camp, was February 12 and 13 at the K-State Alumni Center.
Dr. Gaea (Wimmer) Hock (’03, ’06) assisted with the Western Kansas Youth Water Advocates Conference in Garden City, March 23–24.
This conference helps high school FFA members learn more about water issues and develop skills for advocating in their communities. Ten students from six FFA chapters participated in the event.
Dr. Hock taught sessions about considering the target audience and the basics of research. Melissa Poet (’17) and Russell Plaschka co-hosted this conference and served as mentors for students and sponsors for the event. Poet currently teaches agricultural education at Greeley County High School, and Plaschka serves as the Career and Workforce Development Specialist at the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
The 2018 Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) was held in Jacksonville, Florida. Graduate students, alumna, and faculty from our department attend SAAS to learn, network, and present their agricultural communications research.
The SAAS conference is a great opportunity for professionals in the agricultural industry and the educational field to come together to learn from each other and collaborate ways to improve the industry. The conference is divided into sections; agricultural communications is one of them. This networking event allows for other agricultural communicators to challenge each other to find more effective way of communicating the agricultural message.
During one of SAAS’s paper sessions, recent graduate, Courtney Boman (’17) and department head, Dr. Jason Ellis (’98) presented their research focusing on the “Measuring the influence of Twitter-based crisis communications strategies on brand reputation via experimental design.” The Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement managing director, Cassie Wandersee (’16) and graduate professor, Dr. Lauri M. Baker presented their topic, “A quantitative assessment of possession rituals and engagement in Pinterest: An examination of the agricultural industry,” as well during this session.
Graduate students also had the opportunity to share their research findings at SAAS with a poster session and talking one-on-one with other professionals at the conference. Andres De Leon, Deanna Reid, and Kelsey Tully’s research focused on the “The Next Generation of Video Marketing: A qualitative study exploring the use of 360-degree video to market plants to millennials.”
Graduate student, Deanna Reid, says, “Attending SAAS was a great opportunity to meet other graduate students and agricultural communications professors. It was also neat to be able to put faces with the names on the articles and research I’ve been reading.”
Kansas State University and the Department of Communications and Agricultural Education was well represented at SAAS. These events give students the chance to explain and defend their research as well as learning from other academicians in the agricultural communications field.
K-State ACT recently hosted a successful networking event for AGCOM students, alumni, and industry professionals. Despite the unideal weather on February 6, there were over 20 people in attendance at the event held in the Berney Family Welcome Center.
At the event, there were five industry professionals representing KSU Department of Animal Science, Kansas Wheat, K-State Research and Extension, Kansas Soybean Commission, and Kansas Farm Bureau.
Senior ACJ student and ACT Officer, Sam Albers, says, “We had a really great turnout, which was awesome. Students were able to meet and connect with the professionals and build connections.”
An important aspect of this event was for students to improve their networking skills. The professionals first introduced themselves and then provided a networking tip that they use regularly.
Senior ACJ student Ashley Fitzsimmons who attended says, “This opportunity allowed me to brush up on my networking skills and converse with other industry professionals.”
K-State’s Agricultural Communicator’s of Tomorrow (ACT) chapter is hosting its first Critique and Contest for Kansas high school students interested in photography, writing, and design.
The chapter is asking for ACJ alumni to help support the program through donations that would provide an award to the winners of each category to support their studies at K-State. Awards are planned to be $100 for each overall winner of the categories, which are open to all ages in high school.
The contest will be opened from January until March. Winners will be announced following spring break. For more information regarding sponsoring, please contact Audrey King at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The communications world is a small place, and it sparkles with K-Staters. I realized this when I stepped off the plane for my first assignment as a traveling communications intern for ZimmComm New Media, LLC. At the time, I had just finished my sophomore year studying agricultural communications and journalism at Kansas State University, and I was still incredibly intimidated by the world of communications. Continue reading “Thank you, alumni, for helping me along the way”→