Story by Jackie Newland, sophomore (ACJ)
Hannah Anderson is a shining star in the agricultural education program.
The senior currently serves as the department’s recruitment and retention student intern. This past summer, Anderson interned for the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE), where she helped plan and execute professional development events for teachers across the United States. In October, Anderson was one of thirty students from across the nation selected to participate in the National Agriscience Preservice Teacher Program.
“The National Agriscience Preservice Teacher program taught me how to incorporate inquiry-based instruction into agriscience curriculum, and it helped me better understand the importance of teaching STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics),” says Anderson. “The workshop incorporated inquiry-based labs and strategies for classroom management and literacy. We will be able to use these methods as student teachers and in our own classrooms.”
Anderson was also given the honor of speaking on behalf of preservice NAAE members at the National FFA Convention. She spoke to FFA members about her journey to agricultural education, in an effort to inspire other future teachers.
“Our nation is currently facing a shortage of ag teachers, so the recruitment of future agricultural educators is a vital part of establishing a secure future for ag ed and FFA,” says Anderson.
Anderson’s passion for agricultural education stems from her background and mentors in Newton, Kansas. In high school, she participated in FFA, golf, and student leadership. This is where Anderson discovered her passion for agricultural education.
“My ag teachers opened my eyes to what this profession could be. My ag teachers continue to serve as role models and mentors,” Anderson says.
Anderson wants to do the same for her students when she becomes an agricultural educator.
“I want to work with students who are at that pivotal point and to be able to create leaders. It combines all my passions for agriculture and for the students,” she says.
Anderson’s main focus has always been helping students discover agriculture and the opportunities the industry offers. The next step on the way to becoming a teacher and reaching her goals is student teaching.
“I am nervous and excited for student teaching. I know I will have my support system, so I am looking forward to it,” says Anderson.
There are 14 other students that will be student teaching across the state this spring. This close-knit group is very supportive of each other as they continue to develop as future teachers.
“This support system extends from my peers to agriculture teachers across the United States. Every ag teacher I have met has offered assistance and wished me luck on my journey,” says Anderson.
After student teaching, Anderson will either attend graduate school or begin teaching to help meet the demand for agricultural educators. Until then, she will continue to inspire others to follow in her footsteps.