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Department of Communications and Agricultural Education

Category: 2018

Interdisciplinary team awarded $2.9 million NSF Research Traineeship grant to strengthen rural communities

By Linda Gilmore, Editor, Publishing Unit

 

Gaea Hock is part of an interdisciplinary team awarded a National Science Foundation grant to train graduate students to help communities address complex issues of water management and rural vitality. Melanie Derby, K-State assistant professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering and Hal and Mary Siegele Professor of Engineering, leads the team. Derby will help meet these challenges by training students to work at the nexus of several disciplines.

 

“The whole goal of interdisciplinary research is that someone else’s perspective makes both your work stronger,” Derby said. “We do fundamental engineering work, but we want it to go to the field. We need to know how to make that happen. One of our goals is to help western Kansas and other semiarid communities be resilient in the future. We need all the components — engineering, agricultural economics, sociology, and more — to solve these important challenges.”

 

Derby and her colleagues will mentor graduate students as they conduct fundamental research in three areas of the crucial food-energy-water system: conservation of and producer relationships with the Ogallala Aquifer, soil-water-microbial systems, and technologies to transform animal waste into energy and water. They also will work to understand engineering, economic, and sociocultural barriers to implementing emerging innovations.

 

Building communication skills and a common vocabulary across disciplines is a crucial aspect of the training. Students will engage with policymakers and attend state legislative sessions in Topeka, plus they will spend time at the Southwest Research-Extension Center in Garden City to research smart water technologies and meet with farmers and others whose livelihoods depend on conserving the aquifer and other resources.

 

In addition to Derby and Matt Sanderson (co-principal investigator and the Randall C. Hill Distinguished Professor of Sociology), the team includes co-investigators Jonathan Aguilar and Stacy Hutchinson, biological and agricultural engineering; Prathap Parameswaran, civil engineering; and David Steward, civil and environmental engineering department, North Dakota State University; educational lead Gaea Hock ’03, ’06, communications and agricultural education; and advisors Nathan Hendricks, agricultural economics, and Ryan Hansen, chemical engineering. The program will train 50 master’s and doctoral students, including 25 funded trainees from the colleges of Agriculture, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering.

Kansas State Welcomes World Food Prize Guests

By Kelsey Tully, agricultural education and communications master’s student

A group of international students and researchers from Cambodia and Senegal arrived in Manhattan, Kansas, on October 11 to begin their U.S. agricultural experience. Kansas State University’s Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab (SIIL) hosted the group before the World Food Prize events in Des Moines, Iowa.

While the international guests were in the Little Apple, the SIIL team provided a glimpse of Kansas agriculture in a variety of settings. Dan Devlin, director of the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment (KCARE), set up farm tours for the SIIL group to see U.S. agriculture up close and in action.

Their first stop was River Creek Farms, which started in 1890. Brothers, Joe and Bob Mertz, discussed how they operate and manage the family farm using a crop and livestock integrated production system and the challenges that face U.S agriculture. This conversation posed an exciting opportunity for a bidirectional learning opportunity, where both native Kansans and international participants shared stories about different production practices used globally, including antibiotic use in livestock, livestock genetics, the use of GMOs, and the cost of farm products.

After a traditional U.S. lunch at Manhattan’s local Tallgrass Tap House, Devlin took the group to see the research side of Kansas agriculture – K-State’s agronomy department research plots. Elliot Carver, an agronomy doctoral student, led the tour. The plots are used to test multiple dimension of cover crop practices, and participants were able to discuss how Carver is applying his research to everyday farming questions and concerns.

Campus SIIL faculty and their colleagues from Cambodia and Senegal participated in a panel discussion on youth engagement and capacity building at the World Food Prize in Iowa on October 18.

 

Kelsey Tully is the social-media assistant for K-State’s Sustainable Intensification Innovation Lab.

Ag Ed Club Travels to Nebraska

By Allison Dix, agricultural education junior

 

Eric Koehlmoos, K-State Agricultural Education Club president, planned a fun and educational trip to visit high schools in Nebraska on October 12. Twenty club members toured Bryan High School, the only high school in the Omaha public school district with an agriculture and FFA program.

 

 

The group also stopped by Waverly High School and learned about their tradition-rich program. Finally, the club toured Norris High School and saw its 110-acre land lab, as well as its 50-acre range lab.

Agricultural Education Faculty and Students Attend Conferences

By Linda Gilmore, Editor, Publishing Unit

Gaea Hock attended the Western Region American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE) Conference in Boise, Idaho, Sept. 17–19. She presented a poster “Show and Tell: Using Videos to Provide Assignment Feedback” with co-authors from Texas Tech and Texas A&M universities. It was voted “Most Innovative Poster.”

Gaea, along with Jon Ulmer, Brandie Disberger ’01, ’03, and students Caitlin Dreher and Zachary Callaghan (juniors in agricultural education) also attended the North Central Region AAAE Conference in Fargo, North Dakota, Oct. 4–6. Callaghan and Hock presented their paper: “Benefits, Barriers, and Impact of the Kansas FFA Affiliate Fee Program.

Faculty and students also presented five posters:

Hock, G. “Making the Most Out of a Study Abroad Pre-Departure Class.”

Disberger, B., Hock, G., Ulmer, J. “Enhancing the Pre-Service CASE Training Experience with Visiting Professionals.”

Callaghan, Z., Hock, G., & Disberger, B. “TASKed with Recruiting Agriculture Teachers.”

Dreher, C. & Hock, G. “The Awareness and Implementation of the SAE for All Framework in Kansas.”

Hock, G., Callaghan, Z., Bohnenblust, K. “Assessing the Longitudinal Impact of a Specialized Youth Training Program.”

Student Spotlight: Darcie Gallagher

By Deanna Reid, agricultural education and communications master’s student

Darcie Gallagher, a Missouri native, is pursuing a master’s in agricultural education and communications and conducting research on the involvement of talented and gifted students in agricultural education. Before coming to K-State, Gallagher earned an associate degree of applied science in agriculture business and management technology from Southeast Community College in Beatrice, Nebraska, and a bachelor’s degree in agriculture sciences from Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri.

 

In August, Gallagher was hired as a precision agriculture instructor at Highland Community College in Wamego. She is working to expand the program and teach new technologies and farming methods.

 

When asked why she chose to attend K-State, Gallagher said, “I loved the atmosphere of the communications and agricultural education department and the opportunities that I knew I would experience throughout my time at KSU! I have never been happier in my choice of a master’s program and what the future holds.”

 

When she is not in the classroom, Gallagher enjoys running, gardening, and working on her family’s farm.

Ulmer to be Honored at National FFA Meeting

By Linda Gilmore

Jon Ulmer, associate professor of agricultural education, was selected by the national FFA program to receive the Honorary American FFA Degree. This award is given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment. The Honorary American FFA Degree recognizes those who have gone beyond valuable daily contributions to make an extraordinary long-term difference in the lives of students, inspiring confidence in a new generation of agriculturists. Ulmer will receive the award at the 2018 National FFA Convention and Expo during an onstage ceremony on Friday, Oct. 26, in Indianapolis. All recipients will receive a certificate and medal, and their names will be permanently recorded. Ulmer currently serves on the National FFA Board of Directors.

ACE/AMS Roundup

By Linda Gilmore

Faculty, staff, and students from the department attended the combined Association for Communication Excellence and Agricultural Media Summit (ACE/AMS) conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, August 4-8. Several department members presented sessions: Linda Gilmore, with Dr. Quisto Settle from Oklahoma State University, presented “Turn ‘Me’ Time into Productive Time.” Cassie Wandersee ’12, ’16  presented “Advanced Facebook Analytics,” “Building a Program Assessment Tool in Qualtrics,” and “Proving Your Worth Through Effective Social Media Metric Reporting.” Jason Hackett presented “Podcasting 101: A Direct Route to Your Audiences Through Audio.” Audrey King, Lauri Baker, and Anissa Zagonel, along with Kris Boone, Ohio State University, presented “What is Today’s Story? Exploring the Land-grant Mission Through Story Circles.” Jason Ellis ‘98 and Donna Sheffield also attended the conference.

 

Members of the department won a Silver Award in the ACE Critique and Awards Contest for the 2018 College of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension Annual Report: Driving Force for Change marketing communications campaign. Those who worked on the project and are included in the award: ACE members Gloria Holcombe, Jason Hackett, Brad Beckman, Mark Stadtlander, and Amy Hartman; and non-ACE members Megan Macy, Dan Donnert, Mary Lou Peter ‘79, Jeff Wichman, Eric Atkinson, Phylicia Mau, Pat Melgares, and Randall Kowalik.

 

Donna Sheffield and Lauri Baker attended the ACE Board of Directors meeting. Donna is the Development Director and served on the conference committee as co-chair of the sponsorship committee. Lauri is the Research Director.

 

Gloria Holcombe received her 20-year certificate for ACE membership.

 

Several students also attended and participated in ACT activities. The Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) club was awarded Chapter of the Year for the second year in a row. This is a national ACT award. ACT adviser Audrey King praised the club saying, “The girls worked so hard this past year, but I know we all had a great time while doing it. Each and every one of these women will go on to do amazing things. I am so humbled and grateful to have a tiny part in their stories.”

In addition to the club award, Jill Seiler was one of four national Past President’s Scholarship recipients and was recognized at AMS. The scholarship is funded by the AAEA Professional Improvement Foundation and in part by CoBank. Sarah Moyer was a finalist for the Forrest Bassford award through the Livestock Publications Council.

 

Students who attended AMS included: Undergrads: Janae McKinney, Mary Marsh, Leah Giess, Mikey Hughes, Sarah Moyer, and Tarra Rotstein; Graduate students: Rachel Waggie; and Spring 2018 recent graduates: Jill Seiler and Chelsie Calliham. Audrey King ‘09 and Katie Burke ’10, ‘15 represented them as advisers.

K-State Student Teachers Attend Conference

By Deanna Reid, agricultural education and communications master’s student

 

Nineteen agricultural education student teaching interns attended the Kansas Ag Growth Summit on August 23 at the Kansas Department of Agriculture in Manhattan, Kansas. This year’s summit was the largest ever, with more than 500 people attending to talk about growing agriculture in Kansas. Participants included farmers, ranchers, agribusiness owners, policy makers, city/county representatives, and leaders of agriculture organizations. The K-State student teachers not only learned about all aspects of Kansas agriculture but were active participants in the event.

Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and Agricultural Education club Participate in Watermelon Feed

By Leah Giess, agricultural communications and journalism senior

 

The annual Watermelon Feed, an event hosted by the College of Agriculture to celebrate the beginning of school, is a great way for students to interact with more than 35 agriculture clubs and organizations. The Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) and the Agricultural Education clubs use this event to meet potential new members and inform them about ACT and professional development opportunities.

At the 2018 Watermelon Feed, ACT officers handed out ice pops and magnets to more than 40 students interested in learning more about the club. This year, ACT officers have scheduled professional development meetings and communications workshops. They provide opportunities to grow as communicators and connect with industry professionals. Social gatherings allow club members to have fun and create strong friendships.

ACT also provides opportunities for K-State students to get involved with committees, including a fundraiser committee and a high school critique and contest committee, which is an educational outreach fundraiser for the club. ACT encourages high school students to submit writing/graphic designs and photography to be judged for a prize.

Leah Giess (president), Mary Marsh (vice president of development), Janae McKinney (vice president of membership), Tarra Rotstein (secretary/treasurer), Katie Harbert (public relations officer), and Allison Wakefield (agriculture student council representative) make up the 2018-2019 ACT officer team.  

(Left to Right: Mary Marsh, Katie Harbert, Allison Wakefield, Tarra Rotstein, Leah Geiss, and Janae McKinney)

Student Spotlight: Ashley McKenny

By Deanna Reid, agricultural education and communications master’s student

Ashley McKenny, a senior majoring in agricultural communications and journalism and animal science and industry with a marketing and communication option, spent her summer interning for Legacy Livestock Imaging. Legacy Livestock Imaging is based in Topeka, Kansas, and owned by Heidi and Charles Anderson. Heidi visited the Imagery in Agriculture class at Kansas State last spring to talk about her work, and McKenny was instantly interested in the summer internship opportunity at Legacy Livestock Imaging. She chose to apply because it combined two of her favorite things: livestock, especially show cattle, and photography. McKenny traveled to the Red Angus, Shorthorn, Hereford, and Limousin Junior national shows taking photos both in and out of the show ring, posting on social media, and sorting pictures after shows.

McKenny, who is working on growing her own photography business, says, “I really enjoyed my internship this summer. It gave me some great real-world experience and really taught me a lot about photography. It also taught me that photography is something I want to do in the future.” Though much of her summer was spent in the barn, she did get to explore other places like the National Mustard Museum in Madison, Wisconsin and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.