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Department of Communications and Agricultural Education

Horses and 4-H’ers: My Summer Experience

By Allison Wakefield, agricultural communications and journalism junior

 

When asked about my job at the Rock Springs 4-H Center, this Marc Anthony quote immediately comes to mind: “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This summer, I was a member of the horse barn staff. I had been to Rock Springs as both a 4-H camper and counselor, but my experiences as a child and young adult were nothing compared to what I did this summer.

In June, more than 2,200 4-H’ers from all over Kansas visited the horse barn and got the chance learn about and ride horses. Rock Springs also hosted family reunions, company conferences, camps for hearing-impaired youth, and even a 4-H exchange group from Japan.

As an agricultural communications and journalism major, I was excited to improve my communications skills and learn how to teach and interact with a wide variety of audiences and quickly adapt to their learning abilities. I was challenged to give instructions to groups of people who didn’t speak English or could not hear me. It was extremely challenging, but also rewarding. Seeing a smile on a child’s face while riding a horse and knowing that I was part of a lifelong memory was inspiring.

My co-workers, both equine and human, were fun to work with. We endured a few long, hot days, but we stayed positive and happy. It was clear that I was working with people who loved the work as much as I did.

My favorite thing about this summer was being able to use my photography skills on the trails. I took photographs of numerous trails that other barn staff members and I had cleared for future trail riders. I am so glad I had the chance to capture friends and fun through a lens and help the 4-H center at the same time.

Helping many kids ride their first horse, watching them overcome their fears, learn about horses, and begin to love them affected me greatly. At the end of the summer, I realized that I may have left a small mark on Rock Springs, but Rock Springs left an even bigger mark on me, and I’ll never forget it.

Allison, a junior from Mound City, Kansas, is serving as the Ag Council Representative for the 2018-2019 K-State Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) chapter.

K-State Hosts Agricultural Educator Training

Story by Deanna Reid, master’s student

Twenty-three educators from 11 states were on campus at the end of June for eight days of hands-on Curriculum for Agricultural Science Educator (CASE) professional development training.

The Introduction to Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (AFNR) course covers topics including agricultural education, communication methods, natural resources, plants, animals and mechanics.

Participants spent time in a classroom learning about basic provisions, a “measure me” lab demonstrating proper measurement and safety procedures and buffering soil. All educators left the training with CASE-AFNR certifications.

Kansas FFA State Conference of Chapter Leaders

Story by Deanna Reid, master’s student

Kansas State agricultural education faculty and students participated in the 2018 Kansas FFA State Conference of Chapter Leaders at the beginning of July. More than 150 Kansas FFA members came together at Rock Springs 4-H Center for three days to form effective leadership teams for their chapters.

During that time, they competed in a scavenger hunt, packaged more than 30,000 meals for local food banks and met other leaders from across Kansas.

Student Spotlight: Kelsey Tully

Story by Deanna Reid, master’s student

Kelsey Tully, a Wichita native, is pursuing her master’s degree in agricultural education and communication. Tully graduated from Fort Hays State University in 2016 with a bachelor of science degree in animal science. As a graduate student, she works with Professor Jason Ellis on his research, and she is a teachingassistant for the Agricultural Business Communications class.

 

When asked why she is attending Kansas State, Tully stated, “I’m in graduate school because I wanted to pursue a career in agriculture and be able to not only use my undergraduate degree but also be able to work hand-in-hand with farmers and ranchers.” Her thesis focuses on integrating new-media technology in extension as an educational tool.

 

Tully also works for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification at K-State where she helps with graphic design, webpage design and maintenance, and research.

 

She said, “I grew up in the city not knowing much about agriculture. But I have been very fortunate to work in many different settings with all kinds of livestock, from cattle to alpacas, and I have loved every minute! I look forward to finding a job in which I can keep learning and helping others.”

 

Commencement 2018

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

 

Commencement 2018 for agricultural education and agricultural communications and journalism undergraduate students took place at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12, in Bramlage Coliseum.

Don Boggs, associate dean of academic programs, gave the introduction and recognition of faculty awards, while Shannon Washburn, assistant dean of academic programs, recognized graduates in the College of Agriculture with honors. The commencement address was given by Kansas State University President, Richard B. Meyers, and the student address to the graduates was given by Jeff Hadachek, an agricultural economics graduate. Department Head Jason Ellis ’98 presented degrees to our department graduates.

Agricultural education graduates include: Michael Adame, Matthew Anguiano, Ellen Blackwell, Paxton Boore, Mallory Burton, Cassie Campbell, Zachariah Cooper, Dane Cummings, Chelsey Figge, Wyatt Maurer, Michaela McKenzie, Ty Nienke, Josephine Reilly, Elizabeth Rogers, Baylee Siemens, Alexandra Walters, Caitlyn Wedel and James Weller.

Agricultural communications and journalism graduated include: Samantha Albers, Shaylee Arpin, Shannon Barry, Kelsie Beaudoin, Chelsie Calliham, Elizabeth Cooper, Ashley Fitzsimmons, Jacqueline Newland, Lauren Peterson, Karli Pryor, Hannah Schlapp, Jill Seiler and Chantelle Simon. 

From our graduate program, Randi J. Ernest received a master’s of science in agricultural education and communication at 1 p.m. Friday, May 11, in Bramlage Coliseum.

Instructor Audrey King pursues Ph.D.

Story by Deanna Reid, master’s student

 

Agricultural communications and journalism instructor, Audrey King, is moving into the next phase of her educational journey and academic career. Audrey left K-State on June 15 to work on a Ph.D. in agricultural education at Oklahoma State University.

Audrey says leaving is bittersweet. “While I’m excited for the next chapter in my career, I know that it would not be possible without my experiences at K-State. I can’t thank the department and everyone in it enough for training me and developing my skills. I hope I can go on to make everyone proud,” she says.

Audrey’s love for teaching undergraduate students began at K-State and has inspired her to pursue a Ph.D. “I am so proud of each of my students and particularly the ACT Club for the hard work they put in all year long. I hope to continue to watch them grow from afar,” she says.

After graduating with her bachelor’s (2013) and master’s degrees (2016) from K-State, Audrey worked in the department assisting with research, advising undergraduate students, advising the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) club, and teaching agricultural communications and journalism courses this past academic year.

 

 

Agricultural education faculty and students travel to Czech Republic

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

To kick off the summer, 11 students traveled to the Czech Republic. The diverse group ranged from graduate to undergraduate level with academic majors from feed science to agricultural economics, the majority being agricultural education majors. This 12-day intensive study abroad trip was led by Gaea (Wimmer) Hock ’03, ’06, associate professor.

During their time abroad, students were introduced to agricultural production management and processing practices and cultural aspects of the country. Students visited a crop research facility, private vegetable farms, a vineyard, dairy and beef cattle operations, hop farms and a brewery, university and vocational schools, and governmental agencies.

Agricultural education student Zach Callaghan says, “My favorite moments during the trip were the spontaneous, unplanned experiences where we got to tap into our natural sense of adventure. It seemed that every corner you turned, there was an abundance of history and something new to discover.”

Throughout the spring semester, attendees prepared for this trip through weekly meetings to get acquainted with Czech history, culture, and agriculture. In addition, the group was also able to meet and converse with Czech students studying abroad at K-State about their upcoming trip.

For more details about their stops while abroad and to see more about their adventures, “Czech” out their blog link at experienceagricultureabroad.wordpress.com.

 

New role for Cassie Wandersee

Story by Deanna Reid, master’s student

Cassie Wandersee has moved from her role as research assistant with the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement (CREE) to a role with the communications and agricultural education department.

In her role with CREE, Cassie created social media and blog content, webinars, participated in public speaking events, workshops and gave conference presentations.

This fall, as part of her new job, Cassie will be teaching AGCOM 590 – New Media Technologies. She will also be assisting with social media planning and implementation. She is now located in Dole Hall and working closely with Megan Macy through the News Media Services team.

“I am excited to work more closely with K-State Research and Extension and our state 4-H group. Social media is key to reaching many audiences across Kansas, I hope I can put my skills in social media analysis and planning to good work,” Cassie says.

Cassie completed a bachelor of fine arts and minor in mass communications in 2012 and a master’s degree in agricultural education and communications in 2016 at Kansas State University.

Tagged to Teach Ag

Story by Deanna Reid, master’s student

The communications and agricultural education department hosted the “Tagged to Teach Ag” event on April 30. This event brought more than 250 FFA members from high schools across the state to the Manhattan campus to learn more about what it means to be an agricultural educator.

Current Kansas State University agricultural education students and faculty gave presentations about the program and future career options. Information about the agricultural education degree and other K-State programs was also available.

FFA members also enjoyed ice cream from Call Hall and fresh cookies from the grain science and industry department while they played interactive games, collected “ag swag” and prizes  and took photos with Willie the Wildcat at the “Tagged to Teach Ag” photo booth.

“We would like to give special thanks to the ag ed students, FFA advisors and presenters for making this a great event,” said Instructor Brandie Disberger, one of the event organizers. “We hope everyone considers teaching ag as a career!”

Outstanding seniors in the department

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

Each year, departments in the College of Agriculture select an outstanding graduating senior from each academic major. The Department of Communications and Agricultural Education chose Alex Walters from agricultural education and Jill Seiler from agricultural communications and journalism.

The award is based on academic achievement, department involvement, leadership roles and work experience related to their respective major.

Walters served as vice president of the K-State Agricultural Education Club. She also was a member of the Teach Ag Students of Kansas recruitment team, College of Agriculture Ambassadors and Sigma Alpha professional sorority. She completed internships with AgReliant Genetics and K-State Research and Extension in Scott City, Kansas. Most recently, Walters has been completing her teaching internship at Haven High School. Next fall, she will begin her role as an agricultural education teacher at Peabody-Burns High School.

Seiler served as president and vice president of the K-State Chapter of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) and currently is the National ACT vice president. Seiler was part of the editorial group for the spring 2018 issue of the Kansas State Agriculturist. She was also a member of National Agri-Marketing Team, College of Agriculture Ambassadors, dairy cattle judging team, and other organizations and teams. She has completed internships with Wisconsin Holstein Association, Kansas Dairy and Certified Angus Beef.

Congratulations to these seniors and all those who graduated in May. We wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.