by Katie Burke, assistant professor in agricultural communications and journalism
Eight students from the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) Kansas State chapter attended the Ag Media Summit in Minneapolis this July. In addition to gaining knowledge from conference sessions, students received numerous awards and recognitions from National ACT. The club won Chapter of the Year for the third year in a row, Janae McKinney (senior in agricultural communications and journalism) was one of the AAEA scholarship winners, and Katherine Wist (senior in agricultural communications and journalism) was elected to the National ACT Officer Team. The K-State club also came back with several Critique and Contest awards: the Kansas State Agriculturist magazine (Fall 2018 issue) won first place in the Publication Division; Katherine Wist won first place in the Infographic Division and placed in three additional divisions; and Mary Marsh (senior in agricultural communications and journalism) won first place in the Short Feature Writing Division. “Kansas State ACT was awarded NACT Chapter of the Year … for their excellence in leadership, education, community service, social activities, and fundraising,” says the NACT Facebook page.
By Deanna Reid, agricultural education and communication master’s student
Perfect weather welcomed current and potential students and their families to the Manhattan campus to learn about majors, opportunities, and organizations at the 2019 All-University Open House. The event highlighted more than 250 majors and options and 475 student organizations available at K-State.
Students and faculty from the Department of Communications and Agricultural Education joined in on the fun. The K-State Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow created and hosted a life-size version of the game Candyland, “Launch into Aggieland” trivia game, and gave away chocolate-covered soybeans. Agricultural Education club members designed and gave away T-shirts at the event as well. Allison Wakefield, a junior in agricultural communications and journalism, said, “The open house was a lot of fun. The ACT members enjoyed interacting with everyone and especially liked playing our Aggieland game with kids!”
Faculty, staff, and students from the department attended the combined Association for Communication Excellence and Agricultural Media Summit (ACE/AMS) conference in Scottsdale, Arizona, August 4-8. Several department members presented sessions: Linda Gilmore, with Dr. Quisto Settle from Oklahoma State University, presented “Turn ‘Me’ Time into Productive Time.” Cassie Wandersee ’12, ’16 presented “Advanced Facebook Analytics,” “Building a Program Assessment Tool in Qualtrics,” and “Proving Your Worth Through Effective Social Media Metric Reporting.” Jason Hackett presented “Podcasting 101: A Direct Route to Your Audiences Through Audio.” Audrey King, Lauri Baker, and Anissa Zagonel, along with Kris Boone, Ohio State University, presented “What is Today’s Story? Exploring the Land-grant Mission Through Story Circles.” Jason Ellis ‘98 and Donna Sheffield also attended the conference.
Members of the department won a Silver Award in the ACE Critique and Awards Contest for the 2018 College of Agriculture and K-State Research and Extension Annual Report: Driving Force for Change marketing communications campaign. Those who worked on the project and are included in the award: ACE members Gloria Holcombe, Jason Hackett, Brad Beckman, Mark Stadtlander, and Amy Hartman; and non-ACE members Megan Macy, Dan Donnert, Mary Lou Peter ‘79, Jeff Wichman, Eric Atkinson, Phylicia Mau, Pat Melgares, and Randall Kowalik.
Donna Sheffield and Lauri Baker attended the ACE Board of Directors meeting. Donna is the Development Director and served on the conference committee as co-chair of the sponsorship committee. Lauri is the Research Director.
Gloria Holcombe received her 20-year certificate for ACE membership.
Several students also attended and participated in ACT activities. The Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) club was awarded Chapter of the Year for the second year in a row. This is a national ACT award. ACT adviser Audrey King praised the club saying, “The girls worked so hard this past year, but I know we all had a great time while doing it. Each and every one of these women will go on to do amazing things. I am so humbled and grateful to have a tiny part in their stories.”
In addition to the club award, Jill Seiler was one of four national Past President’s Scholarship recipients and was recognized at AMS. The scholarship is funded by the AAEA Professional Improvement Foundation and in part by CoBank. Sarah Moyer was a finalist for the Forrest Bassford award through the Livestock Publications Council.
Students who attended AMS included: Undergrads: Janae McKinney, Mary Marsh, Leah Giess, Mikey Hughes, Sarah Moyer, and Tarra Rotstein; Graduate students: Rachel Waggie; and Spring 2018 recent graduates: Jill Seiler and Chelsie Calliham. Audrey King ‘09 and Katie Burke ’10, ‘15 represented them as advisers.
By Leah Giess, agricultural communications and journalism senior
The annual Watermelon Feed, an event hosted by the College of Agriculture to celebrate the beginning of school, is a great way for students to interact with more than 35 agriculture clubs and organizations. The Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) and the Agricultural Education clubs use this event to meet potential new members and inform them about ACT and professional development opportunities.
At the 2018 Watermelon Feed, ACT officers handed out ice pops and magnets to more than 40 students interested in learning more about the club. This year, ACT officers have scheduled professional development meetings and communications workshops. They provide opportunities to grow as communicators and connect with industry professionals. Social gatherings allow club members to have fun and create strong friendships.
ACT also provides opportunities for K-State students to get involved with committees, including a fundraiser committee and a high school critique and contest committee, which is an educational outreach fundraiser for the club. ACT encourages high school students to submit writing/graphic designs and photography to be judged for a prize.
Leah Giess (president), Mary Marsh (vice president of development), Janae McKinney (vice president of membership), Tarra Rotstein (secretary/treasurer), Katie Harbert (public relations officer), and Allison Wakefield (agriculture student council representative) make up the 2018-2019 ACT officer team.
(Left to Right: Mary Marsh, Katie Harbert, Allison Wakefield, Tarra Rotstein, Leah Geiss, and Janae McKinney)
On April 21, four members of the Kansas State University Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) club competed in the Agricultural Communications/Agricultural Sales contest at the 2018 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) Judging Conference at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, Nebraska.
This year’s contest topic was “Waters of the U.S.” All participating teams were required to prepare a communication plan, a presentation and take a test during the competition. Even though the K-State ACT club has not participated in the competition before, they scored high in all aspects of the competition and placed second in the contest.
Their advisor, Audrey King, is proud of the students’ work. When asked about their performance during the competition, she said, “I think one of the things that made our team really strong is that it was comprised of students from different states who had unique views about water. They were also all in different class levels, which provided a good opportunity for them to mentor and learn from each other.”
Leah Geiss (’19), Chelsie Callaham (’18), Mary Marsh (’20), and Tarra Rottstein (’19) created an organization called the “Concerned Kansans for Water Rights” and presented their ideas on agricultural water use and conservation.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.”