Kansas State University


Department of Communications and Agricultural Education

Summit on the Summit

Story by Mikhayla DeMott, (ACJ)

Snowbird, Utah was the host of this year’s Ag Media Summit and was held over the course of five days, July 22-26. The resort hosted many Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) chapters plus industry professionals and among those were eight of Kansas State University’s very own. Audrey King, ACJ instructor and ACT advisor, and seven students made the trip to Utah and returned with some serious hardware.

“I am just plain proud,” King says. “Not only did the girls represent the organization well at the conference but winning these awards proves they work hard and represent our program really well every single day.”

They were named chapter of the year in the membership, leadership and community service categories. Topping the list of awards was being named this year’s overall outstanding chapter.


from left to right: Taylor Matheny, Jackie Newland, Jill Seiler, Audrey Schmitz, Leah Giess, Anissa Zagonel, Samantha Albers and Audrey King

The Kansas State Agriculturist won first place in the ACT national contest. Lisa Moser is the instructor for the agricultural student magazine course, which is offered during the spring and fall semesters. The students on this leadership team were Melissa Grimmel Schaake, editor; Audrey Schmitz, associate editor; Lindsey Ashmore, assistant editor and Marie Annexstad, advertising manager.


Fall 2017 Agriculturist

ACJ senior, Topanga McBride, won the 2017 Forrest Bassford Student Scholarship from the Livestock Publications Council. Three of the four finalists who received travel scholarships to attend the Ag Media Summit this year were from K-State. Jill Seiler and Taylor Matheny were the other two K-State finalists.

Another senior, Jackie Newland, won the Dr. Evans Presidential Scholarship from the American Agricultural Editors’ Association. Newland and Audrey Schmitz, agricultural communication and journalism graduate and last year’s chapter president, were two of the four scholarship finalists.


from left to right: Jackie Newland and Topanga McBride

K-State ACT members continued their success in the Critique and Contest competition where students submit writing and design pieces to be judged. In the writing division, Schmitz won second place in the Short Personality Profile and Research-Related Writing categories and Jill Seiler, ACJ senior and current chapter president, finished second in the Long Personality Profile and third in the News Story areas. Shaylee Arpin, senior, placed third in Research-Related Writing and Schmitz had a fourth place in the Single Blog Entry.

In the publications division Schmitz won second in the Newspaper, Tabloid, or Newsletter division and went on to win the Graphic Design for Print of Web and the Blog Design categories. Schmitz also won the overall Excellence in Design award with her graphic design. This year’s Critique and Contest had 595 entries from 12 schools.

“AMS and my awards were the cherry on top to my undergraduate involvement in ACT,” Schmitz says. “I hope my success inspires current and new members to enter articles and design pieces to next year’s contest.”

Moreover, Seiler was elected to serve as the 2017-2018 National ACT First Vice President.

“It was really exhilarating to see the K-State ACT chapter represent our agricultural communications program so well at a national level,” Seiler says. “I am excited to work with the K-State officers and the national officer team on continuing to strengthen ACT at all levels.”

While in Utah, King and her students went on a few adventures. The group road a tram to a mountain top for the welcome reception, saw many beautiful mountains and also fit in a trip to Salt Lake City. This expedition west allowed for continued relationship building between King and her students, her favorite part.

“I love developing relationships with students and watching them achieve such greatness,” King says. “It is a privilege to be the ACT advisor at K-State, but the rest of the wonderful faculty deserve credit for developing these students into well rounded communicators.”

This annual conference is loaded with professionals and provides an outstanding networking and professional development opportunity for its attendees. Ag Media Summit is a joint meeting of the American Agricultural Editors’ Association, Livestock Publications Council, Connectiv Agri Media Committee, and the annual meeting of the National ACT chapter.

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