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Department of Communications and Agricultural Education

Author: Anissa Zagonel

Department Takes Part in K-State Unity Walk

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

Some faculty, staff and students of the department attended the KSUnity Walk on Tuesday, November 14 from 1-3 p.m. During the walk, participants came from their respective campus buildings and met on Anderson Hall’s lawn. Then, the KSUnite program took place. Participants heard a message of unity and steps that all K-Staters can take as the community moves forward to be an ever more inclusive campus.

Thoughts from department members that attended:

“I was impressed by the turnout of people that attended.” – Kelly Ingalsbe, accountant

“It was neat that despite the weather there was still a sizeable turnout of attendees.” – Audrey King, instructor

“It was a really awesome sight to see so many K-Staters in purple and on the lawn.” – Lori Buss, accountant

“K-State’s unity walk was a step in the right direction toward making everyone on campus feel like family. It was nice to see mobs of purple supporting the event.” – Dr. Katie Burke, instructor

Permanent Department Head Search Update

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

The search for a permanent department head is well underway. The 13 person search committee has reviewed application materials from several qualified candidates and three individuals have been invited to interview – Dr. David Doerfert, Texas Tech University; Dr. Jason Ellis, Kansas State University; and Dr. Dwayne Cartmell, Oklahoma State University. Candidates will interview in late November and early December.

The full interview itineraries will be shared and posted to the department website as soon as they are finalized.

Equipping students for the real world

Story by Kaitlyn Vicker, junior (ACJ)

Rollin Mensch, the Printing Coordinator and Estimator at the University Printing Center, has been working in the print business for approximately 47 years, and almost 4 years working at Kansas State University.

“I’ve been in the Manhattan area most of my life, except for when I was in the service,” says Mensch. “It’s like home to me. I knew a lot of the people who work in the office already. I was lucky enough to find a position here.”

One main role in Mensch’s job is customer service and helping the incoming customers with the paperwork. He makes sure all the correct information is filled out or provided to complete the job to the best of the printing center’s ability.

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ACJ Student’s Reflection on First NAFB Conference

Story by Jill Sieler, senior (ACJ)

I will be the first to admit that I have no interest in broadcasting. However, somehow this print journalism-loving student found herself at the 2017 National Association of Farm Broadcasting convention in Kansas City Nov. 7-10.

As a senior that has been really involved in the department and ACT I have heard about the NAFB convention every year, but I refused to attend as I thought it was just for students interested in broadcasting. Four days of radio voices, fantastic speakers and excellent food (one day there was prime rib), helped me realize that NAFB is for everyone and that broadcasting plays an important role in communicating with agricultural producers.

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Agricultural education student selected to National FFA nominating committee

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

For Katelyn Bohnenblust, FFA has been an integral part of her life she took her first agricultural class in the eighth grade. Now, as she begins her sophomore year at Kansas State University in the agricultural education program, it is still a foundational part of her life but in a different way.

Recently, Bohnenblust was selected through a strenuous screening process to serve as a nominating committee member for the 90th National FFA Convention, which takes place at the end of October in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a nominating committee member, Bohnenblust, along with eight other committee members from across the nation, will interview 41 national officer candidates for six national officer positions over the course of 11 days.

Few have the honor to serve on this committee. Bohnenblust is just the third Kansan to ever be selected.

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K-State Research and Extension Bookstore and Mail Center: Something for Everyone

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

In the basement of Umberger lies the K-State Research and Extension Bookstore and Mail Center, which supports both KSRE and the College of Agriculture by managing and distributing more than 2,000 publications, promotional materials, and other items.

Publications are available online and available in print for a small fee. These items can all be accessed through the bookstore website, www.bookstore.ksre.ksu.edu.

“Our publications are a great resource for a variety of topics,” says Mandy Wilson, KSRE Bookstore and Mail Center Coordinator. “We have information ranging from planning your home garden, to choosing the right childcare provider, to just identifying that spider on your porch.”

The featured publication for October is the Kansas Garden Guide – an 80-page guide to all things vegetables and herbs. This guide has everything you need to know about soil, compost, seeding, watering, pest control, container gardening, season extension, harvesting, and storing.

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Inspiring students through experience in ACT

Story by Kaitlyn Vicker, junior (ACJ)

Jill Seiler, senior in agricultural communication and journalism (ACJ), has been involved in Kansas State University’s Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT), a club for ACJ students, for four years, holding an officer position for three years.

“Since freshman year, I’ve been involved with ACT. It’s definitely been the place where I’ve put my energy during college,” says Seiler. “I’ve seen the value from the very beginning of my college career, whether it was meeting industry professionals or getting to meet other fabulous students. There are awesome people in ACT, which is why I’m involved.”

Seiler leads ACT meeting

At the local level, Seiler has been the Public Relations Director, Vice President of Development and is currently the President of K-State’s ACT. She says that it’s been a great way to take on a leadership role in college. In high school, she was very involved in activities and coming into college she felt like she needed something to continue practicing her leadership.

“I’m definitely a different leader now than I was then,” says Seiler. “I enjoy being able to give back to the organization and to see how things change from year to year.”

Seiler says the reason she ran for president because she feels like she has many ideas to contribute to the organization and wants students to gain skills through ACT that they can use to succeed in industry. Whether students attend a photography workshop and learn how to take better photos or network and meet potential employers for internships and careers, Seiler hopes students gain skills they might not be able to get in the classroom and go on and succeed in life.

“We’ve had a legacy of being a very prestigious chapter,” says Seiler. “I want to be part of continuing that tradition and getting freshman, sophomores, juniors and transfers alike excited about our major and club. I believe this club can augment and work parallel with our major and increase what you take out of college. Being able to help students see the value; that’s why I’m president and why I’m part of ACT.”

In the summer of 2017 in Snowbird, Utah, members of K-State’s ACT went to the national meeting of ACT held in conjunction with the national meeting of American Agricultural Editors’ Association, the Livestock Publications Council, and the Connectiv Agri-Media Committee at Ag Media Summit. Seiler was elected to the National ACT Officer Board as Vice President. K-State ACT won many Chapter of the Year awards and many Critique and Contest awards. Seiler says it was a good opportunity to showcase how awesome our K-State chapter is.

“Alumni were so excited for us and just to see their enthusiasm and how excited they were, made all of the late hours this year and past year all worth it,” says Seiler. “We want to win because it makes the alumni proud, and that’s a really awesome feeling.”

Seiler wants to be part of the legacy for ACT and is very thankful of the people who have come before her and put together the constitution and set up a structure for the organization.

“I remember being a freshman and looking up to the seniors who were in the major and club,” says Seiler. “I appreciate everything they have done for us and laid out for the organization. We wouldn’t be a national winning organization without the foundation we have set up by our alumni.”

New Graduate, New FFA Program

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

Graduating from college is no easy feat, but for one agricultural education alumnus, it just wasn’t enough. Will Johnson (’17) has went above and beyond after graduation from Kansas State University.

After student teaching in the spring of 2017 at Cimarron High School, he took a leap and accepted a job as a teacher at Sublette High School, a nearby school that didn’t have an FFA program – that quickly changed.

National FFA, teach agriculture, food science
Students at Sublette High School learn about FFA Career Development Events in their new agricultural education program.

During the summer, Johnson converted the essentially unused shop from storage to a working environment and began paperwork to start an FFA program at the school.

Johnson, a Whitewater, Kansas, native, says, “I really like the area and the people out here. It seemed like a chance to start something new for the community.”

This fall he is teaching an introduction to agriculture class for eighth graders and an agriculture, food, and natural resources class; an animal science class; and an agricultural structures class for high school students. In the future, he hopes to add a plant and soil science class and research in agriculture class to the curriculum.

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CREE Welcomes Royalty

Story by Chelsie Calliham, ACJ

Mikhayla DeMott, the newly hired audience engagement specialist for the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement (CREE), serves many roles. Agricultural communicator, Kansas State University alumna, and Miss Rodeo Kansas.

Miss Rodeo Kansas 2018DeMott understands the need to connect agricultural based, rural businesses to information and research on new-media technology. She will foster that connection in her position at the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement through event planning, client outreach, media relations, and content creation.

“I’m very excited to see CREE grow this year under the vision of our newly hired director, Cassie Wandersee, and staff,” DeMott says.

She graduated (’17) with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and journalism with minors in mass communications and leadership studies from K-State. DeMott’s passion for agriculture was developed at a young age and still continues to grow. She grew up on a horse farm in Rio, Illinois, and discovered the joy in sharing the story of agriculture through rodeo.

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