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.
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.”
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.”
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
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.
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.
Jill Seiler, senior in agricultural communication and journalism (ACJ), has been involved in Kansas State University’s Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT), a club for ACJ students, for four years, holding an officer position for three years.
“Since freshman year, I’ve been involved with ACT. It’s definitely been the place where I’ve put my energy during college,” says Seiler. “I’ve seen the value from the very beginning of my college career, whether it was meeting industry professionals or getting to meet other fabulous students. There are awesome people in ACT, which is why I’m involved.”
At the local level, Seiler has been the Public Relations Director, Vice President of Development and is currently the President of K-State’s ACT. She says that it’s been a great way to take on a leadership role in college. In high school, she was very involved in activities and coming into college she felt like she needed something to continue practicing her leadership.
“I’m definitely a different leader now than I was then,” says Seiler. “I enjoy being able to give back to the organization and to see how things change from year to year.”
Seiler says the reason she ran for president because she feels like she has many ideas to contribute to the organization and wants students to gain skills through ACT that they can use to succeed in industry. Whether students attend a photography workshop and learn how to take better photos or network and meet potential employers for internships and careers, Seiler hopes students gain skills they might not be able to get in the classroom and go on and succeed in life.
“We’ve had a legacy of being a very prestigious chapter,” says Seiler. “I want to be part of continuing that tradition and getting freshman, sophomores, juniors and transfers alike excited about our major and club. I believe this club can augment and work parallel with our major and increase what you take out of college. Being able to help students see the value; that’s why I’m president and why I’m part of ACT.”
In the summer of 2017 in Snowbird, Utah, members of K-State’s ACT went to the national meeting of ACT held in conjunction with the national meeting of American Agricultural Editors’ Association, the Livestock Publications Council, and the Connectiv Agri-Media Committee at Ag Media Summit. Seiler was elected to the National ACT Officer Board as Vice President. K-State ACT won many Chapter of the Year awards and many Critique and Contest awards. Seiler says it was a good opportunity to showcase how awesome our K-State chapter is.
“Alumni were so excited for us and just to see their enthusiasm and how excited they were, made all of the late hours this year and past year all worth it,” says Seiler. “We want to win because it makes the alumni proud, and that’s a really awesome feeling.”
Seiler wants to be part of the legacy for ACT and is very thankful of the people who have come before her and put together the constitution and set up a structure for the organization.
“I remember being a freshman and looking up to the seniors who were in the major and club,” says Seiler. “I appreciate everything they have done for us and laid out for the organization. We wouldn’t be a national winning organization without the foundation we have set up by our alumni.”
Mikhayla DeMott, the newly hired audience engagement specialist for the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement (CREE), serves many roles. Agricultural communicator, Kansas State University alumna, and Miss Rodeo Kansas.
DeMott understands the need to connect agricultural based, rural businesses to information and research on new-media technology. She will foster that connection in her position at the Center for Rural Enterprise Engagement through event planning, client outreach, media relations, and content creation.
“I’m very excited to see CREE grow this year under the vision of our newly hired director, Cassie Wandersee, and staff,” DeMott says.
She graduated (’17) with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications and journalism with minors in mass communications and leadership studies from K-State. DeMott’s passion for agriculture was developed at a young age and still continues to grow. She grew up on a horse farm in Rio, Illinois, and discovered the joy in sharing the story of agriculture through rodeo.
As a small-town girl, my trip to the Southern Association of Agricultural Scientists (SAAS) Conference in Atlanta was quite an adventure. Despite my shy and nervous nature, seeing the city and learning about research conducted by graduate students and faculty across the region was a great experience. I shared a poster about my undergraduate research findings from my work with Dr. Baker.
Students across Kansas State University’ Manhattan campus have made New Year’s resolutions. From academic goals to personal ambitions, agricultural communication and journalism students have set their sights high for 2015.
Dana Schulz, a senior plans to make her last year one to remember. “My New Year’s resolution for 2015 is to finish my last year strong,” says Schulz. “This time next year, I will be graduated and ready for a career. I want to learn as much as I can and get the most out of my K-State experience.”