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.
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!”
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.
At the end of April, Agricultural Education Club members built and painted beehives to help the Kansas Department of Agriculture (KDA) with a local service project for the Servicemember Agricultural Vocation Education Farm. As part of National Volunteer Month, KDA employees worked with students to help save bees through the SAVE Farm located near Manhattan, which helps veterans and service members find a pathway to farming.
Club members volunteered more than 50 hours by painting and constructing beehives. The SAVE Farm will sell the beehives to increase the presence of bees for hobbyists or commercial businesses. Money from the beehives is used to hire veterans and support the rest of the SAVE Farm.
Beekeeping classes are offered for veterans, which give them hands-on training of the basic beekeeping culminating in harvesting and bottling honey. With the help of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant, the SAVE Farm plans to grow its apiaries to 500 colonies over the next two and a half years.
Dr. Gaea (Wimmer) Hock (’03, ’06) assisted with the Western Kansas Youth Water Advocates Conference in Garden City, March 23–24.
This conference helps high school FFA members learn more about water issues and develop skills for advocating in their communities. Ten students from six FFA chapters participated in the event.
Dr. Hock taught sessions about considering the target audience and the basics of research. Melissa Poet (’17) and Russell Plaschka co-hosted this conference and served as mentors for students and sponsors for the event. Poet currently teaches agricultural education at Greeley County High School, and Plaschka serves as the Career and Workforce Development Specialist at the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
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.
K-State agricultural education student teaching interns recently participated in two days of professional development for the Ag Ed Enhancing Pre-Service Instruction (EPIC) Experience sponsored by Kansas Corn Commission. Students were able to tour and talk with various production agricultural sectors in Garden City, Kansas.
During the tour, students:
visited Royal Farms Dairy and learned from Kyle Averhoff about the farm’s story, goals, and the role of corn in the dairy industry;
toured Bonanza Ethanol Plant, where Jeff Gilbert and colleagues spoke about the ethanol industry and their Garden City plant;
visited Reeve Cattle Co., where the Reeve family discussed their use of ethanol, feed distillers grains, and other corn feedstuffs in their cattle operation;
visited the K-State Research and Extension Southwest Research Station, where Dwane and Grace Roth, Mike Meyer, and Michael Kempke discussed water issues in southwest Kansas and emerging technologies for sustainable water use;
heard perspectives from individual corn producers, Russell Komlofske, Kyler Millershaski, and Jeff Mai;
visited Sublette High School agricultural education teacher, Will Johnson who shared advice for starting a new agricultural education program and beginning careers as educators;
and visited Cimarron High School agricultural education teacher Ryan Miller who spoke to students about the importance of positive community relationships to create successful agricultural education programs.
At the beginning of February, the AgEd Club hosted their annual KSU Speech Contest in Bluemont Hall. There were over 180 Kansas FFA members competing and 45 K-State students helping throughout the day.
Categories of speeches included freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, creed, and extemporaneous.
K-State’s AGED graduates are ahead of the game when it comes to the Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) certification.
In the past, many teachers completed this certification during the summer breaks of teaching. K-State’s program is one of only three with a course model that certifies students while they are still in college. Students are able to start teaching with one whole class plan under their belt. Many typically use these lesson plans for their freshman or introduction to agriculture class.
Students in the program go through 65 hours of professional development in a three credit course. In this rigorous class, students are challenged with concepts of inquiry-based instruction, the impact of scaffolding on year-long curriculum, and activity projects and problems. The course also requires students to prepare materials and supplies.
Master’s student and current student teacher at Cimarron High School, Brooke Harshaw (’16) says, “It’s fairly intense throughout the semester, but it’s helpful because you’re ready to go when you’re out student teaching.”
This is the second year the certification has been offered, and with the help of a grant provided by DuPont Pioneer, seven current agricultural education teachers were able to receive the certification during the course as well.
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