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.
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.
Over spring break, 22 students traveled throughout Kansas to take pictures as part of an agricultural communications and journalism photography class. This is the first year the photography class was offered in our department to give students an applied photography experience in agriculture and natural resources. The photography tour was held March 17-20.
Students prepared for the trip by meeting each week to learn about photography and get accustomed to their own cameras.
During the tour, students explored cattle operations, farms, the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, the Chase County State Lake, small businesses, small town downtown areas, and other outdoor venues.
The class displayed their work in a photography showcase in early April. Furthermore, University Printing will be printing calendars with all of the best photos from the class and will be available for purchase in the fall.
The Agricultural Education Club and the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) club each hosted a booth at the university-wide K-State Open House on Saturday, April 7. These booths were among many in the College of Agriculture (COA) “hub,” where several other agricultural student organizations hosted booths.
The weather wasn’t ideal, so the agricultural organizations’ booths were housed inside Waters Hall. However, it didn’t stop alumni, kids, or students from visiting campus for this fun weekend event.
The AgEd Club coordinated the COA Scavenger Hunt with the help of Matthew Schick, a junior in agricultural education, who spearheaded the event for the club. He gathered donations from 13 different organizations to sponsor over 300 printed t-shirts. Individuals who visited the booth and completed the scavenger hunt earned a free t-shirt, while student volunteers passed out scavenger hunt cards and t-shirts.
The Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow were busy during the month of March with social activities and philanthropic efforts.
Officers hosted a “Paint Your Own Flower Pot” party for members to prepare for Spring. Students designed their own terracotta pots while enjoying snacks and sweets. All enjoyed a relaxing, fun evening while learning about upcoming events on the club’s schedule like K-State Open House, Ag Media Summit, NACTA Ag Media Team, and fundraising opportunities.
“During this social, I loved seeing how creative members got when designing their flower pots, while also being productive and hearing about our events,” says Leah Giess, ACT Officer.
In addition to social activities, members have also been busy working with the Flint Hills Breadbasket. Flint Hills Breadbasket’s mission is to minimize hunger and poverty through the distribution of available food and to nurture projects that will help alleviate hunger and poverty. As part of ACT’s philanthropic efforts, members design and prepare a newsletter for mailing. ACT member, Ashley Fitzsimmons designed the newsletter, and ACT members and officers prepared over 1,500 newsletters for distribution by tabbing and labeling.
“Our club loves supporting such an amazing organization that does so much for our community, and we enjoy getting to use our skills and knowledge to help them with their duties,” says Giess.
Although Amanda Tomlinson did not initially plan on a career in agricultural communications, the field has given her many opportunities.
Tomlinson has been working as an editor for the Publishing Unit in the Department of Communications and Agricultural Education for the past two years. She edits and publishes research reports created by Kansas State University faculty.
The faculty that she edits for receive research funds from the Kansas Agriculture Experiment Station, which include agricultural experiment stations located throughout the state. Before these faculty submit publications to outside journals and papers, she reviews the manuscripts to ensure correct formatting and grammar.
“My role is helping faculty get their message out there by editing, printing and publishing their work so that farmers, producers, and others can read the material,” says Tomlinson.
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.”
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.
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 email@example.com.
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.”