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Department of Communications and Agricultural Education

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Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and Agricultural Education club Participate in Watermelon Feed

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)

Student Spotlight: Ashley McKenny

By Deanna Reid, agricultural education and communications master’s student

Ashley McKenny, a senior majoring in agricultural communications and journalism and animal science and industry with a marketing and communication option, spent her summer interning for Legacy Livestock Imaging. Legacy Livestock Imaging is based in Topeka, Kansas, and owned by Heidi and Charles Anderson. Heidi visited the Imagery in Agriculture class at Kansas State last spring to talk about her work, and McKenny was instantly interested in the summer internship opportunity at Legacy Livestock Imaging. She chose to apply because it combined two of her favorite things: livestock, especially show cattle, and photography. McKenny traveled to the Red Angus, Shorthorn, Hereford, and Limousin Junior national shows taking photos both in and out of the show ring, posting on social media, and sorting pictures after shows.

McKenny, who is working on growing her own photography business, says, “I really enjoyed my internship this summer. It gave me some great real-world experience and really taught me a lot about photography. It also taught me that photography is something I want to do in the future.” Though much of her summer was spent in the barn, she did get to explore other places like the National Mustard Museum in Madison, Wisconsin and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

Horses and 4-H’ers: My Summer Experience

By Allison Wakefield, agricultural communications and journalism junior

 

When asked about my job at the Rock Springs 4-H Center, this Marc Anthony quote immediately comes to mind: “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” This summer, I was a member of the horse barn staff. I had been to Rock Springs as both a 4-H camper and counselor, but my experiences as a child and young adult were nothing compared to what I did this summer.

In June, more than 2,200 4-H’ers from all over Kansas visited the horse barn and got the chance learn about and ride horses. Rock Springs also hosted family reunions, company conferences, camps for hearing-impaired youth, and even a 4-H exchange group from Japan.

As an agricultural communications and journalism major, I was excited to improve my communications skills and learn how to teach and interact with a wide variety of audiences and quickly adapt to their learning abilities. I was challenged to give instructions to groups of people who didn’t speak English or could not hear me. It was extremely challenging, but also rewarding. Seeing a smile on a child’s face while riding a horse and knowing that I was part of a lifelong memory was inspiring.

My co-workers, both equine and human, were fun to work with. We endured a few long, hot days, but we stayed positive and happy. It was clear that I was working with people who loved the work as much as I did.

My favorite thing about this summer was being able to use my photography skills on the trails. I took photographs of numerous trails that other barn staff members and I had cleared for future trail riders. I am so glad I had the chance to capture friends and fun through a lens and help the 4-H center at the same time.

Helping many kids ride their first horse, watching them overcome their fears, learn about horses, and begin to love them affected me greatly. At the end of the summer, I realized that I may have left a small mark on Rock Springs, but Rock Springs left an even bigger mark on me, and I’ll never forget it.

Allison, a junior from Mound City, Kansas, is serving as the Ag Council Representative for the 2018-2019 K-State Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) chapter.

Student Spotlight: Kelsey Tully

Story by Deanna Reid, master’s student

Kelsey Tully, a Wichita native, is pursuing her master’s degree in agricultural education and communication. Tully graduated from Fort Hays State University in 2016 with a bachelor of science degree in animal science. As a graduate student, she works with Professor Jason Ellis on his research, and she is a teachingassistant for the Agricultural Business Communications class.

 

When asked why she is attending Kansas State, Tully stated, “I’m in graduate school because I wanted to pursue a career in agriculture and be able to not only use my undergraduate degree but also be able to work hand-in-hand with farmers and ranchers.” Her thesis focuses on integrating new-media technology in extension as an educational tool.

 

Tully also works for the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification at K-State where she helps with graphic design, webpage design and maintenance, and research.

 

She said, “I grew up in the city not knowing much about agriculture. But I have been very fortunate to work in many different settings with all kinds of livestock, from cattle to alpacas, and I have loved every minute! I look forward to finding a job in which I can keep learning and helping others.”

 

Agricultural education faculty and students travel to Czech Republic

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

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.

 

Tagged to Teach Ag

Story by Deanna Reid, master’s student

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!”

AGCOM 420 students participate in photography experience

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

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.

Western Kansas Youth Water Advocates Conference

 

 

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.

 

 

Student organizations take part in university Open House

 

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

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.

Continue reading “Student organizations take part in university Open House”

Ag Ed Student Teacher Interns Participate in Professional Development

Story by Anissa Zagonel, master’s student

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.