Kansas State University


Department of Communications and Agricultural Education

ACJ students travel to Ohio for Professional Development Conference

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

Six ACJ students and two advisors attended and participated in the 2018 National Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) Professional Development Conference (PDC) held January 11-13 in Wooster, Ohio.

This year’s conference was hosted by The Ohio State University’s ACT organization and the theme was “Cultivating Communicators.”

Students (front, left-right): Mary Marsh, Jill Seiler, Samantha Albers, Janae McKinney, Chelsie Calliham, and Leah Giess. Advisors: (back, left-right): Dr. Katie Burke and Audrey King.

During the conference, students took part in discussions about crisis communication and public relations event planning. Attendees were also able to tour Weaver Leather and Certified Angus Beef.

“It’s so wonderful seeing our members attend and engage in their first PDC and really reap the benefits of our national organization and the network it provides,” says K-State ACT President and fourth year ACJ student, Jill Seiler.

The next PDC will be in conjunction with the National Association for Farm Broadcaster’s Convention held in November 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri.

AGED graduates beginning their careers CASE certified

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

K-State’s AGED graduates are ahead of the game when it comes to the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) certification.

In the past, many teachers completed this certification during the summer breaks of teaching. K-State’s program is one of only three with a course model that certifies students while they are still in college. Students are able to start teaching with one whole class plan under their belt. Many typically use these lesson plans for their freshman or introduction to agriculture class.

Students in the program go through 65 hours of professional development in a three credit course. In this rigorous class, students are challenged with concepts of inquiry-based instruction, the impact of scaffolding on year-long curriculum, and activity projects and problems. The course also requires students to prepare materials and supplies.

Master’s student and current student teacher at Cimarron High School, Brooke Harshaw (’16) says, “It’s fairly intense throughout the semester, but it’s helpful because you’re ready to go when you’re out student teaching.”

This is the second year the certification has been offered, and with the help of a grant provided by DuPont Pioneer, seven current agricultural education teachers were able to receive the certification during the course as well.

ACT to Host High School Critique and Contest

Story by Janae McKinney, sophomore (ACJ)

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 audreyking@ksu.edu.

Alumni Feature: Bleeding Blue from a Heart of Gold

Story by Katie Harbert, freshman (ACJ)

Beth Gaines, executive director of the Kansas FFA Foundation, experienced a change of heart her junior year of college. This occurrence was frightening at first, but allowed her to realize her true passion and started her on the track toward her current career.

“Follow your heart and your passions, they will take you where you need to go,” Gaines says.

Throughout her childhood and early college years, Gaines was solely interested in utilizing her Kansas State degree (’91) in agricultural communications and journalism for radio broadcasting.

“As a junior in college, I had an internship with a radio company and realized very quickly that was not what I wanted,” Gaines says.

Getting an opportunity to experience the reality of working in the radio industry allowed her to gain new insight and understand what to expect from a career in broadcasting. Although the internship caused her to drift from her original plan, it led her to her true passion within agricultural communications.

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Department Students Join in Forum for Inclusion in the College of Agriculture

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

Communications and Agricultural Education students joined others across the College of Agriculture to discuss why diversity matters in the college. This student-led forum was standing-room-only in the Leadership Studies’ Town Hall.

The crowd included Dean John Floros, assistant and associate deans, department chairs, and faculty. Industry partners were also present like Kansas Farm Bureau, Kansas Department of Agriculture, Cargill, and other stakeholders.

The discussion began with the statement, “Diversity is our reality. Inclusion is our goal.”

ACJ student, Bryanna Cook speaks up during college-wide diversity forum.

Two ACJ students, Bryanna Cook and Kyler Langvardt, were brave enough to speak out against hate and stand up for inclusion.

Cook, a junior ACJ student, spoke up saying, “We are a K-State family, and we need to act like it.”


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Opportunities for Alumni Through CREE’s Outreach Events

Story by  Michaela Hughes, sophomore (ACJ)

The Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement (CREE) is advancing its mission through outreach and training events on marketing and communications for audiences throughout Kansas and beyond. These events range from webinars and Facebook live videos to seminars and the annual New-Media Marketing Boot Camp.

“We remain focused on empowering people to feel comfortable using new-media marketing tools. Whether it’s Facebook, a newsletter, or a blog, we want people to understand the platforms they working in,” says Cassie Wandersee (’16), managing director of CREE.

Recently, CREE collaborated with partner organizations to host several events and webinars.

One of these partnerships is with the Marketing Learning Community of the Association for Communications Excellence (ACE). CREE began working with ACE to host bi-monthly webinars that focus on training participants in communications theory and practice. During the last webinar, they discussed content strategy and planning for small businesses and service organizations.

Co-creater, Dr. Cheryl Boyer and Managing Director, Cassie Wandersee presenting at the K-State Research and Extension Annual Conference.

CREE has also partnered with K-State Research and Extension. Dr. Cheryl Boyer and Wandersee presented on content strategy and communicating through multiple channels at the K-State Research and Extension Annual Conference in November. It is also working with Kansas Pride on an online seminar in January focused on launching e-commerce stores. This webinar will discuss the benefits, as well as the preparation needed, for creating an online store.

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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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