Andrea Fristoe

Meet the 2020-2021 National Teach Ag Ambassadors!!!

Blog Post created by Andrea Fristoe on Oct 16, 2020

Each year the National Teach Ag Campaign selects an elite group of agricultural education majors to represent the profession and encourage others to teach agriculture. We want you to meet this year's ambassadors and look forward to engaging them in the ag ed profession!

 

 

John Bazemore
Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

Junior Agricultural Education Major

Home State: Georgia
High School Agriculture Program: N/A

 

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? I decided to become an ag educator by chance. I had little idea of what I was getting into, but I am glad I did it. I have always hoped to make a difference for the future and there is no better career to do that than an educator.

 

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? I look forward to showing the relevance of lessons you think you will never use. That is what makes learning interesting, you have to make it relevant. I remember learning Pythagorean theorem and thinking I will never use this, until one day I did. Agriculture classes seem to do that best, it is a real-world application of lessons learned in your other classes.

 

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) is the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education because ABAC has a large spread of experiences for you to not just hear and read about, but to lay your hands on. This allows you to have that personal experience to show your future students that you know it because you have done it. Through my classes I have set foot hold traps, driven brand new John Deere tractors, welded, used the CNC plasma table and professional grade laser clinometers. From forestry and wildlife to metal fabrication and power equipment, if you want to know it ABAC has a class on it. This is what I like most, for me to feel like I understand something I need to actually do it and many of ABAC’s classes are focused around being hands-on. The college has a farm on campus complete with cattle, row crops, turf plots, and an ag ed greenhouse; then a few minutes up the road lies our school forest. ABAC is also a small, tight-knit school. It is a place where people hold the door for the person behind them, where people help each other. Due to our small size the professors are able to form a personal connection and get to know you by more than your grades. The professors take a genuine interest in your education. Between the hands-on learning, the small size, and our wonderful faculty, you cannot go wrong with ABAC. 

 

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? The most rewarding experience I have had as an ag ed major was when I attended my first FFA state convention. There was a moment when all the students stood and said the FFA Creed and it sent chills down my spine and that was when I knew this was something special. 

 

Advice for someone considering ag ed? I have come to find that this is a profession not for the faint of heart and not for everyone. But if you know that teaching ag is what you want to do, go for it and do not let anyone or anything stop you.

 

The number one thing you must do in college is: attend one of our barrel races, rodeos, or truck pulls

 

Favorite hobby: Blacksmithing

 

Quote that inspires me: “We do these things not because they are easy but because they are hard”- President John F. Kennedy    

 

 

Morgan Duenke
Northwest Missouri State University

Junior Agricultural Education Major
Home State: Missouri
High School Agriculture Program: Audrain County R-VI High School

 

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? Growing up, all I ever wanted to be was a teacher. From kindergarten to eighth grade I thought I wanted to be an elementary teacher, but once I got to high school I realized how much I love agriculture. I got really involved with FFA and realized that I could use my passion for agriculture and my dream of teaching to help the future generations of agriculturalists.

 

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? Getting to be in the classroom helping students learn more about agriculture, but also seeing them grow and change as leaders.

 

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? Agricultural Education majors at Northwest Missouri State University learn about the fundamentals of agriculture in secondary education (middle school and high school). This major must be completed as part of the Bachelor of Science in education to align with Missouri teacher certification standards. A minor is not required as agricultural education is considered a comprehensive major. Recent graduates have obtained teaching positions in Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri, yet the particular certification for each state varies.

 

Students learn skills in the fundamentals of the agricultural education program and adult education while gaining an understanding of techniques within the teaching profession. This includes classroom management, lesson planning, special education and technology for classrooms.

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? I’ve been a guest judge in a couple FFA speaking events and during critiques. I always try and give the competitors some tips that I’ve learned through my past speaking events. After giving them feedback, so many students are very thankful that someone has taken the time to help them be better. So in one minute of giving someone a critique I got to see them change and become a better speaker. This is so encouraging to me because it reaffirms why I what to be a teacher.

 

Advice for someone considering ag ed? In college many students think about changing their major, they question if they’re making the right choice, and ag ed students are no different. So, if ag ed is something you are seriously considering, figure out your why. Why it is being an ag teacher so important to you? I recommend having a statement that you tell yourself when you’re questioning if this is the right path for you. Mine is: Being an ag teacher is hard work, it’s a stressful job that comes with a lot of responsibility, but I cannot think of a more rewarding career. Helping someone be better when there is no personal gain for yourself is one of the most selfless things you can do.

 

The number one thing you must do in college is: Find something to get involved in. Whether it’s a club, organization or a community service group -- get involved. You can join as many groups as you like, but I would find one that you’re extremely passionate about and focus a lot of your energy on being successful with that group.

 

Favorite hobby: Reading and swimming

 

Quote that inspires me: "Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid."  -Albert Einstein

 

 

Brock Fox
Southwest Minnesota State University

Senior Agricultural Education Major

Home State: Minnesota
High School Agriculture Program: Minneota Public School

 

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? I decided to teach agriculture because I am interested in the role that effective teachers can play in the lives of their students. The mentality that students develop throughout school often has an impact on the path they choose to take their lives and the decisions they choose to make. I would love to positively impact the path that my students choose to take their life. 

 

I decided to teach agriculture because I wanted to demonstrate to students the level of effort that is needed to do great work in whichever path they take. Moreover, I wanted to teach them to take pride in the quality of work they do and learn to enjoy the process of working hard. Being a go-getter is a term I use to describe people who actively seek out and enjoy the process of doing great work. I think our world needs more people with this outlook toward their career which is why I have named my personalized hashtag: #BeAGoGetter. I would love to play a part in getting motivated people into the workforce.

           

I decided to teach agriculture because I am passionate about the industry and the broad range of disciplines it encompasses. One thing I love about agriculture is the tangible processes that must take place to grow a crop, raise an animal, build a house, fix a vehicle, sell a product, prepare a meal, and so on. The idea of reaping what you sow reigns true in agriculture, and there are many important lessons that the subject area encompasses.

           

I decided to teach agriculture because I love building things, fixing things, growing plants/crops, and understanding the many components of agriculture. Getting paid to teach kids about something that I love seems like a win-win.

           

I decided to teach agriculture because I love the family atmosphere that the agricultural education/FFA community fosters. I attended an ag teacher small engines workshop and a Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators conference, and at both three-day events, I had nothing but positive encounters with other ag ed students, as well as current ag ed teachers. I love being a part of the ag ed family.

 

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? I am most looking forward to having a job that is centered around working with kids. I love interacting with and helping kids succeed. Because of this, the idea of having a career centered around teaching kids intrigues me. I love the act of teaching someone a new concept or skill, and when students learn from my teaching I feel a sense of pride and passion for education. I am excited to be a teacher.

 

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? Southwest Minnesota State University is the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most eye-catching reasons are SMSU’s national and state rankings. Nationally, SMSU is ranked 7th for most affordable bachelor’s degrees and #1 for its commitment to veterans and their families by Military Friendly School. Statewide, SMSU is ranked #1 for safest campuses in Minnesota. These aside, SMSU provides ag ed students with opportunities that are almost unheard of at other colleges. One of these opportunities surrounds professional networking. SMSU hosts the fall and spring ag bowls, which are run largely by ag club members and those involved in the agriculture department. The ag bowl encompasses a general celebration of agriculture in Minnesota through civic engagement activities and the showcasing of renewing agricultural education programs. In the fall, this day is celebrated with food, agribusiness companies and their employees, those generally involved in the agricultural industry, a fair (petting zoo, bouncy houses) and football. The spring ag bowl is a scholarship invitational event for FFA chapters from the region. At this event, there are typically around 15 CDE’s and 20 or more competing FFA chapters. With the multiple chapters present on campus during this event, there are many opportunities for ag ed students to network with current ag teachers/FFA advisors. Ag teachers seem to always know each other regardless of how far away their chapters may be; so being able to network with current teachers is a tremendous asset.

           

Another awesome opportunity that SMSU offers its ag ed students is the chance to become an intern with the SMSU Agronomy department. I was an intern throughout 2019, and I am once again an intern for 2020. Throughout this experience, I have been able to work with a variety of pesticide and fertilizer prescriptions, crop varieties and hybrids, a wide range of machinery operating and general maintenance, and other areas pertinent to running test plots. Additionally, I have been able to conduct an individual research project which entailed inoculating red corn with over one million corn rootworm eggs. Combining the experience and knowledge I have gained from this internship, it is now my goal to conduct test plot research for various agribusinesses as a component of my future ag ed program. If I had not gone to SMSU, I doubt that I would have been offered as many opportunities.

 

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? The most rewarding experience I have had in ag ed so far took place throughout a five-day learning segment that I was teaching during my second week of pre-student teaching. This learning segment took place in an 8th grade Introduction to Agriculture class. The central focus of the lesson surrounded arc welding practices. The students had never learned about welding before the learning segment, so it was fun to be a part of their first exposure to the welding world. Seeing my students succeed was what made this experience so rewarding. After teaching students about the tools and safe practices pertinent to the discipline, I guided students in their first attempts at arc welding. One of my welding students performed an arc welding pass with a passing score on her first try. Right after she did this, I gave her a high five for a job well done. It may not sound like much, but this was one of those reassuring moments where I think "this is what I am supposed to be doing," seeing my student excited about her success in something that I taught her was awesome.

 

Advice for someone considering ag ed? If you are passionate about helping others and the agricultural field, seek out an agricultural education major. Ag educators are some of the few teachers who can teach classes that appeal to students with almost any type of interest. Whether that be interest in the technical or labor-intensive field, the laboratory science and biological field, the business field, and many others, there is often a class that the ag education licensure allows you to teach which will let you reach out to each student’s interests. Aside from the tremendous impact that you could have in classrooms, you have tremendous potential for being hired as an ag teacher right out of college. The demand for agricultural educators greatly outweighs the supply, and this holds true throughout the entire nation. Entering the ag-ed field allow you to be flexible not only in terms of classes you teach, but also in terms of the geographic location in which you teach them. Ag teachers are needed everywhere because everyone needs agriculture. People will always need to eat; therefore, ag teachers will always be needed.  

 

The number one thing you must do in college is: Be an active student -- join clubs, get to know your professors, apply for internships/scholarships, join a study group, attend sporting and social events at your university, and meet new people. Your college experience can only be as great as you make it, so play an active role.

 

Favorite hobby: Golfing with my family and friends.

 

Quote that inspires me: “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – Steve Jobs

 

 

Amador Gonzales
New Mexico State University
Senior Agricultural Education Major
Home State: New Mexico
High School Agriculture Program: Las Vegas-Robertson High School

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher?: I decided to become an agriculture teacher because my high school program lacked consistency. Almost every year I was involved, we had a new teacher and I saw both the highs and lows of teaching and the do’s and don’ts of maintaining an active program. After serving a year as a State FFA Officer, I fell in love with the idea of teaching students new concepts and after retirement, decided to study ag ed. I have now made myself a goal to become the teacher I never had, so that no student would ever have to experience what I did.

 

What are you looking forward to most about teaching?: I’m really looking forward to the “aha” moments. It’s those moments when a student fully grasps the topics and can find a way to integrate it into their education. Think of it almost like a The Miracle Worker type of situation. This is how I measure student growth and learning because not only does it impact them, but it will help me to learn how to better be of service to my students, learn about their learning styles, and teach certain concepts that they might not pick up on right away in a way that they can understand.

 

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education?: For one, New Mexico State University is the only land-grant university in the country to have animals on campus, so there is a big opportunity to gain hands-on knowledge in different areas. But aside from that, the AXED Department has exposed me to a variety of different topics and subjects. During my college career, I learned how to weld, design with flowers, care and show animals, and have even eaten a few bugs in my entomology class! The best part of NMSU is that all the professors, not just in the AXED Department, have an open-door policy -- almost everyone knows everyone. There’s this sense of family that you can’t get anywhere else, and that part of campus literally becomes a second home to everyone. 

 

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far?: One of the best parts of being an ag ed major is getting to help out with all the major FFA events. Almost every state FFA event is hosted on campus and it literally becomes an all-hands-on-deck situation where everyone is helping with events. But what really makes this meaningful is watching the growth of FFA members over the course of several years. Someone who was shy at presenting the FFA Creed or placed dead last in their first CDE event will grow into a future state officer, or even a future state champion. Seeing that growth is what inspires me to continue to volunteer and see just how far someone can go, all thanks to the opportunities provided through their agricultural education program.

 

Advice for someone considering ag ed?: Don't be afraid to think outside the box a little. Ag ed is a great place to be innovative and creative -- nothing must be done the same twice. And teach what you're passionate about! These lessons are usually the most fun to teach and students will be engaged and participate.

 

The number one thing you must do in college is: Join a club. It’s a great way to meet new people, get involved in your college, and get opportunities to do things you wouldn’t be able to do anywhere else. Plus, free food!

 

Favorite hobby: Reading

 

Quote that inspires me: “We all have a responsibility to ourselves as well as for our fellow man to learn all that is possible and to pass on what we have learned to those who are less fortunate.” ~ Gary N. Leger (Las Vegas FFA Advisor, 1999-2010)

 

Elena Gonzales
Fresno State University
Sophomore Agricultural Education Major

Home State: California
High School Agriculture Program: Orestimba High School

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? I decided to become an agriculture teacher after I realized that agriculture and the FFA was my passion and I could not give it up after high school. My high school ag teacher had helped me get out of my comfort zone and find my voice during freshman year. This encouragement shaped me to become the person I am today. I was so thankful for Mrs. Costilla and the rest of the ag department that helped me find my calling in life, so when I was deciding what to do for my major, I knew that by becoming an ag teacher I would be able to help other students step out of their comfort zones and find their passion in agriculture through the FFA and in the classroom.

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? The one thing I look forward to most about teaching is showing students the importance of agriculture in our world and helping students find the passion to help the future agriculturalist in the world. We need to remind the public how vital agriculture is in every sector of our lives. As a teacher, I will have the opportunity to show students that learning can be fun and the agriculture industry is so vast, there are jobs and opportunities for growth and personal development for everyone!

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? Fresno State is the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education because it is in the heart of agriculture in California! Our staff is well-rounded in agricultural production and in teaching. They are so invested in their students' education and the experiences made in college. Fresno State makes the journey to becoming an ag teacher so exciting. As students, we are required to take classes in different subjects including mechanics, plant science, and animal science. We do this because it helps us become well-rounded in subjects that we may possibly teach in our future careers. By taking different subjects, we also meet different students from other majors which allows us to create a network of contacts which is vital for an ag teacher. Our college also has so many "learning by doing" opportunities when it comes to the classroom and possibilities for internships and working on our school farm. Our school farm is a vital source for students and teachers. It allows teachers the opportunity to teach students hands-on applications of lessons in the classroom. We have 22 different units on our school farm that are truly awesome experiences for students at Fresno State. Being bold is Fresno State’s motto and our school farm exemplifies that when our faculty and students go about creating amazing experiences and products that will help students find their passion and can use their research in the classroom and future careers.

 

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? The most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far has been to become part of a family. As an ag ed major, you are brought into this world of like-minded people who share the same passion as you, and you can work together and grow in order to create the best version of yourself! What is also cool is you share this passion with the future, past, and present agriculturalists and it will never change. This passion spreads across the nation. Being a part of the National Teach Ag Ambassador program, I get the opportunity to advocate the importance of teaching ag with so many amazing, talented and like-minded peers from ag schools across the nation. The family that you join when becoming an ag ed major is indescribable and is always worth it.

Advice for someone considering ag ed? Some advice I would give to someone who was considering pursuing a degree in ag ed is to never stop learning. It is said that you always learn something new every day and by becoming an ag teacher, you live by that saying. There are many subjects you get to teach about all the different sectors of agriculture. As a student, I personally was blown away on how much knowledge my ag teachers had about the different types of industries, the science behind certain topics, and the passion they had to teach their students information that they could use throughout their life. As a prospective teacher, I find it really important that I use my time in college to my advantage and take all the classes, understand the subjects, and explore what the agricultural industry has to offer because it will help me teach my students in the future. I also think it's extremely important to create experiences in the field. I believe that it is important to be well-rounded in all subjects because you never know what passions your students might find interesting and it is your job as an educator to help them find their path. In the end, being able to help someone find who they are and discover something that they never thought would be possible is so rewarding.

The number one thing you must do in college is: football games!

Favorite hobby: Being in nature and drinking coffee!

 

Quote that inspires me: “She is clothed in strength and dignity and laughs at the fear of the future.”- Proverbs 31:25

 

Kathryn Lampi
University of Wisconsin-River Falls
Senior Agricultural Education Major

Home State: Wisconsin
High School Ag Program: Owen – Withee Agricultural Education Department

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? I decided to become an agriculture teacher because I want to make a difference in the lives of my students by helping them to find and pursue their passion in agriculture.

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? The experience I look forward to most is being able to help one of my students put on their own FFA jacket for the first time. As a student I appreciated this experience, but I did not realize that this moment would change my life in unimaginable ways. I am so excited to be able to provide that opportunity to future students.

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? The University of Wisconsin – River Falls is a place like no other! When attending college the campus quickly feels like home because of the tight-knit community that is our university and surrounding town. River Falls provides numerous opportunities for students to get involved within their major, interests, and in the community as a whole. Our campus is home of the Agricultural Education Society and Alpha Tau Alpha. The Ag Ed Society is open to all students who are interested in agriculture and look forward to making meaningful friendships while developing professionally, learning about agriculture, and serving the community as well as FFA members from Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

 

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? My most rewarding experience I have had so far as a student in the agricultural education major has been working with the Parliamentary Procedure Contest for Wisconsin FFA. It has been incredibly rewarding to help students learn more about Parliamentary Procedure through presenting workshops and working to field student and teacher questions and concerns. The greatest joy is presenting workshops and then seeing the same teams throughout the year and being able to watch those students grow as individuals and collectively as a team. Being able to see the top ten teams so excited at the end of the year at Wisconsin State FFA Convention practicing for the final time before heading into their final event as a team, knowing that I played a small part in their success floods me with so much joy. 

Advice for someone considering ag ed? I believe in going forth each day living your why. This is based on the three-circle model. Too many times in life we spend too much time worrying about the how and the what and not enough on the reasons why. It is so valuable to find out what our why is take ever 

The number one thing you must do in college is: Join a club!

Favorite hobby: Telling stories and making people laugh 

Quote that inspires me: “Leave the house each day with a smile on my face, a song in my heart, and the will to make a positive difference in the lives of those around me” 

 

Lisandra Mejia
North Carolina State University
Sophomore Agricultural Education Major

Home State: North Carolina
High School Agriculture Program: Watauga High School

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? I decided I wanted to become an agriculture teacher because of the impact that has been made on my life by my high school agriculture teacher. She changed my life in more ways than one, but one of the most valuable things she gave me was an appreciation and passion for the agriculture industry. 

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? I am most looking forward to watching my students fall in love with the industry and the organization that is essential to the survival and development on this world. 

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? NC State is the best place to pursue agricultural education because we have well-known and award-winning professors that dedicate their lives to developing the best next generation of educators. Not only are they valuable for their professional titles, but they are inspirational and caring friends and mentors. The community of agricultural education professors, students and alumni is what makes our institution stand out from the others.

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? Last fall when I traveled to the National FFA Convention and Expo, I got to serve as a representative for my college at the college booth. In that position I got to meet students from across the country who are eager to pursue a career in agriculture, and the connections I built with them is probably one of the most rewarding experiences I have had so far. 

Advice for someone considering ag ed?  If you are on the fence about pursuing ag ed, take the leap and follow it with your whole heart. There are probably a lot of things that people are telling you when you tell them you are thinking about becoming an agriculture teacher, but the good outweighs the bad. Not every person gets to actually see the change they are making in the world, but for every student's life that you touch, you get to know that you played a role in making a difference. Ag ed is a difficult job, there's a reason there's a shortage, but if you really want to make an impact on the agricultural industry and the world through generations, choose ag ed. 

The number one thing you must do in college is: Attend every event you can. Whether that is a club meeting, football game, career fair, or anything else, these events are where you are going to make the friends that stick with you for life. You have four years of these opportunities and they will go by fast -- your chances to do them will get smaller and smaller, so make sure you are experiencing more in college than just classes. 

Favorite hobby: I enjoy fishing and hammocking, but really anything outdoors.

Quote that inspires me: “When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.”- Kay Yow

 

Zach Mills
University of Tennessee at Martin
Senior Agricultural Education Major

Home State: Tennessee
High School Agriculture Program: Riverside High School

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? Becoming a teacher was never on my radar until my junior year of high school; in fact, I wasn’t sure if I even wanted to go into the agriculture industry. During my FFA career, I found a passion for agriculture and began considering a career in that field. My grandparents always used to tell me that a quality education in something I am passionate about is something that can never be taken from me. I decided I want to take that a step farther and do my part in educating aspiring agriculturalists about the growing industry and its importance today.

 

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? As UT Martin’s Chancellor, Dr. Keith Carver says, “Stepping outside of your comfort zone is how you reach new levels of awesomeness.” When I enter the classroom, I look forward to watching my students step outside of their comfort zones and fulfill their personal potential in learning and leadership.

 

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? The University of Tennessee at Martin provides agricultural education students the opportunity to work hands-on in some branch of agriculture from the very beginning to the very end of their college careers. Because the university is located in an extremely rural part of Tennessee, hands-on learning for the students comes with ease as local farmers want nothing more than to help upcoming agriculturalists. The small class sizes also help students connect more with their instructors on a more personal level, which enhances their learning experience.

 

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? While doing my classroom observations, I was fortunate enough to work with some of the students in my CT’s classroom. Whether I was working with them on DNA sequencing, dog grooming, or agricultural issues, I took the time to learn about the students' lives. I realized the importance of building relationships with my future students and using those relationships to facilitate an effective learning environment.

 

Advice for someone considering ag ed? Jump on every opportunity you have to learn and grow during the process. Your continuous learning now will benefit you in the future.

 

The number one thing you must do in college is: GO TO CLASS! Showing up is half the battle.

 

Favorite hobby: Sport shooting

 

Quote that inspires me: “The ‘Amazing’ Can Only Be Created By Facing Fear, Risk, And Failure During The Process.” – Superman

 

Madeleine Musick
Oklahoma State University
Senior Agricultural Education Major

Home State: Oklahoma
High School Agriculture Program: Elgin High School

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? I grew up moving from school to school every four years. The military lifestyle allowed me to see much of the world. However, when it came to deciding where I would live or where my own life was headed, I was indecisive. When I moved to Oklahoma, I joined an agricultural education program and instantly felt welcomed. When I began to get involved in the program, I found a subject I was truly passionate about. The memories and lessons learned over the years pushed me into pursuing my passion and I decided teaching agriculture would be a lifelong pursuit. 

 

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? My agricultural educators were an inspiration and a blessing. Without them, I would not have found a drive to pursue this profession. As a teacher, my goal is to help youth find what drives them. I look forward to teaching for many reasons, but giving back is a large portion. I look forward to teaching because I have the opportunity to be creative and discover new interests in agriculture.  Teaching agriculture is an incredibly diverse experience and I look forward to the opportunity.

 

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? When I first applied to college, I only applied to one. I chose Oklahoma State University as my future home and had absolutely no doubt in my mind. Two years later, I am thankful for my choice. The faculty and student body at OSU are incredibly welcoming and I have truly found a community within my cohort. Pursuing a degree in agricultural education at Oklahoma State University is the best choice you can make when looking for your home away from home. 

 

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? Being an agricultural education major means there is always an opportunity for growth. This summer, this statement became much more apparent as everything switched to virtual programming. Instead of putting on workshops throughout the summer, I was tasked with developing virtual summer camps. As the summer continues, I know there will be many learning opportunities and plenty of room for improvement. However, I am excited to see such a rewarding experience pan out. With so many experiencing a new normal, I am grateful I can continue to do what I love.

 

Advice for someone considering ag ed? If you are considering pursuing an agricultural education degree, I encourage you to give this dream your complete consideration. Throw yourself all in and explore every opportunity. Look at this profession from every angle and imagine yourself in this position. Speak with your ag teachers and other mentors and ask them for their perspective. Every individual has a different experience teaching agriculture, so keep in mind that not every detail needs to be perfect.

 

The number one thing you must do in college is: Try something you would typically never do! I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but college is where you branch out and find new interests and hobbies.  Take this time to figure out what you do and do not like.

 

Favorite hobby: Painting with watercolors after a long, stressful day is my favorite hobby and way to destress. 

 

Quote that inspires me: “You have to accept whatever comes, and the only important thing is that you meet it with the best you have to give.”  Eleanor Roosevelt

 

 

Tyler Noyes
Montana State University
Junior Agricultural Education Major

Home State: Montana
High School Agriculture Program: Broadwater High School

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? I decided to become an agriculture teacher because of my strong passion for agriculture and the inspiration I received from my advisor, Mrs. Jemma Loughery. She encouraged me to pursue an agricultural education degree due to my passion for advocating for agriculture and my ability to connect with others.

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? I am looking forward to helping my students discover their interests and passions, and inspire them to stay in the field of agriculture as they pursue their career choice.

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? Montana State University is a great place to pursue an agricultural education degree because of its amazing faculty and staff. The Montana State Ag. Ed. staff have years of experience in teaching agricultural education majors, and are constantly adjusting their teaching style and curriculum to stay relevant with the current times. Montana State University is also a great place to pursue an agricultural education degree due to the wide variety of classes, strong community support, and constant connection with Montana agricultural educators.

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? The most rewarding experience as an ag ed major has been creating a network of passionate, like-minded individuals who have become both colleagues and friends.

Advice for someone considering ag ed? Pursue the major. We need intelligent, passionate individuals who can educate others about the agriculture industry and help raise the next generation of leaders. Having a passion for agricultural education can open a wide range of opportunities and possibilities.

The number one thing you must do in college is: Strive to make connections with kind-hearted, reliable people who can give you advice, ideas, and support.

Favorite hobby: Welding

Quote that inspires me: A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.” - John C. Maxwell

 

Grant Sanchez
Purdue University
Junior Agricultural Education Major

Home State: Indiana
High School Ag Program: Fairfield High School

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? I decided to teach agriculture because being in the classroom and seeing that “Aha!” moment in the students' eyes is something I love. Agriculture is an industry that has an unlimited amount of avenues and holds a place for everyone, so relaying this to my future students with the intent to help change their lives is something I’m ecstatic for!

 

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? When it comes to teaching, one of the things I’m looking forward to most is connecting the education gap from those of us directly involved in agriculture and the consumer. I’m specifically looking forward to this because my main goal is to start an urban agriculture program around the Indianapolis area and help these students learn that agriculture holds a place for everyone, from rural to urban.

 

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? Purdue is the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education because while we are a small group, this makes it all the better. Every student in the major knows each other, which allows us to utilize one another when it comes to academics and fellowship. In addition, we recently have revised curriculum to include a student gaining experience in the classroom through observations starting your freshman year and leading up to student teaching. If interested or looking for more information, feel free to reach out to me @ sanch165@purdue.edu.

 

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? My most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far has been traveling to Jamaica for a Maymester and experiencing what agricultural education looks like there, as well as explore what their tropical agriculture industry looks like. With this we got to visit the College of Agriculture, Sciences and Education, two high schools, a coffee, banana, and sugar cane farm, and much more. To date, this experience has been my favorite that I have taken with Purdue.

 

Advice for someone considering ag ed? Like many things, you will experience a lot of discomforts or fear. The biggest fears we experience in this field is having to student teach or worrying about not knowing enough/the curriculum. Know that these are fears that all of us experience, but also know that the end product will change the life of your future students.

 

The number one thing you must do in college is: Study Abroad! Whether it be for spring break or a semester, studying abroad changed my perspective on a variety of avenues.

 

Favorite hobby: Hammocking

 

Quote that inspires me: “Fear has two meanings: Forget Everything and Run or Face Everything and Rise. The choice is yours.” – Zig Ziglar

 

Jordan Stanford
Stephen F. Austin State University
Sophomore Agricultural Education Major

Home State: Texas
High School Ag Program: Winnsboro High School

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? I decided to become an agriculture teacher because I wanted to agriculturally impact future generations.

 

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? I cannot wait to build positive relationships with my students and share all of the agriculturally-based knowledge I have. I’m also looking forward to all the school supplies I can get because I LOVE school supply shopping!! 

 

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? Stephen F. Austin State University is a smaller university located in the heart of East Texas with acres and acres of beautiful scenery . Every faculty, staff, and student here at SFA is rooting for you to succeed!  SFA is rooted in hands-on learning, with over 700 acres of farmland available at the Walter C. Todd Agricultural Research Facility and an agriculturally rich history, you will leave SFA prepared for your future career as an Agriculture Educator.

 

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? I was given the opportunity to teach a lesson plan with pre-kindergarten, kindergarten, and first-grade students local to SFA in the fall of 2019. I taught these students about the pumpkin life cycle as Halloween was just around the corner. This was such a fun experience, but what made it so memorable was one group of those children wrote us thank you cards and three of those students had written down the image of the pumpkin life cycle which was in my lesson plan and said they loved it! It was the cutest, sweetest thing in the world! 

 

Advice for someone considering ag ed? If you’re considering agricultural education I’d like to ask you about your most favorite and proudest memory in agriculture, inside or outside the classroom. Think about why that’s your favorite and how you felt the moment it happened! How incredible would it be if you could give another kid that same amazing feeling? As an agricultural educator you have the opportunity to impact countless lives in and out of the classroom! #impAGt!

 

The number one thing you must do in college is: Enjoy it! Time will fly by quicker than you think, take hold of every moment! 

 

Favorite hobby: I love fishing and have always from a young age. I fished in high school with the Texas High School Bass Association and won second at the state championship my senior year.

 

Quote that inspires me: “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.” -- Martin Luther King Jr.

 

Renee Stillwell
Delaware Valley University
Senior Agricultural Education Major

Home State: New Jersey

High School Ag Program: Allentown High School

 

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? I knew all my life that I wanted to be a teacher, but it wasn’t until I experienced my first agricultural education class that I knew that this was the classroom I belonged in. I know first-hand the impact that a teacher of agriculture can have on a classroom and on a community. Now more than ever, it is essential to promote agricultural literacy and inform others about this industry, and I am excited to be on the forefront of this important task!

 

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? Working and learning from students, while teaching the subjects I am most passionate about within agriculture!

 

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? Delaware Valley University provides a close-knit, welcoming environment to explore and learn about all areas of agriculture, and provides a well-rounded curriculum to help prepare all future teachers to handle any given classroom situation. All of the ag ed majors at Delaware Valley University are close and supportive, which has created a network of like-minded people to share ideas and advice amongst, both in college and in our future classrooms.

 

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? My most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far is doing field experience and observation hours in a variety of classroom settings. Being able to interact with current students and teachers, learning from their experiences and seeing first-hand how different classrooms operate and how different students learn and engage.

 

Advice for someone considering ag ed? Get comfortable with being uncomfortable! When I first started studying in this major, I anticipated focusing primarily on animal sciences, which I am most comfortable with and have the most first-hand experience with. But because of the requirements at my school, I was forced to explore all areas of agriculture in my studies and found a true appreciation and interest in botanical, horticultural, and environmental sciences. Because of my participation in these required classes, I have filled my elective classes with similar courses!

 

The number one thing you must do in college is: Introduce yourself to your professors and shake their hand! Getting off on the right foot with all of your professors immediately will pay off later! Establishing good relationships with all people you come across in college (especially professors) will help in guiding the success of your years of study!

 

Favorite hobby: Reading, hiking and camping!

 

Quote that inspires me: "The path and task may be unfamiliar, but have courage and know you have the passion and skills to conquer it."

 

 

Haley Talaski
Michigan State University
Senior Agricultural Education Major

Home State: Michigan

High School Ag Program: Harbor Beach High School

Why did you decide to become an agriculture teacher? My sister was a big influence in encouraging me to join the FFA when I was in high school. She was involved when she was younger and knew that I would gain skills in the FFA that I wouldn’t get anywhere else. Being an ag teacher herself, my sister saw a passion in me and as I visited her program throughout the years, I was drawn to the classroom setting. But it wasn’t until I became a State FFA Officer that I realized my true passion. I loved not only seeing the lightbulb in students, but watching their creativity come to life as they dived deeper into concepts to reach a higher level of understanding. Being in the classroom just reassures my excitement for the future generations of leaders as well as where agricultural education will take my students throughout their journey in life.

What are you looking forward to most about teaching? I look forward to being able to create a welcoming classroom environment for my students. Being able to not only provide a place for students where learning and creativity are encouraged, but a place for them to feel safe to do so. I believe that students gain skills better when the environment that they are in is one where they feel like home. Having only one year left of college before I start student teaching, I can’t help but feel anything but excited about teaching my students and giving them an environment that they look forward to being in each day, just as my ag teacher did for me.

Why is your university the best place to pursue a degree in agricultural education? The support system at Michigan State University is like no other! Not only do the staff members and mentors make you feel welcome, but your other classmates do the same. Even before transferring to MSU, I felt like I belonged on a team of individuals that are constantly working on personal and group growth. We are a huge family that continues to expand and grow each year. MSU Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Education programs are always working towards building future teachers and preparing them to inspire their future students!

What has been your most rewarding experience as an ag ed major so far? The most rewarding experience has truly been getting to know all of the other students in the major, not only in my home state, but in other states too. They are not just colleagues, they are some of my best friends and the best advice-givers because they are going through the same hardships and triumphs as me. The people that you meet in this major are going to be the people who will always stick with you. Building more new relationships is one thing that I continue to look forward to.

Advice for someone considering ag ed? I know from experience how hard it can be to think about and secure the future. I am a planner myself and I sometimes struggle with uncertainty. My advice to someone who is considering agricultural education can vary based on the type of vibe someone is looking for. But what I would say to everyone is to not let negativity take over when you are trying to figure out your passion. Don’t let others bring you down and certainly don't let you bring yourself down. Don’t think that you aren't good enough or that you won't be a good teacher. Everyone has the potential to be great, but not everyone takes that risk to do so.

The number one thing you must do in college is: Use a planner to stay organized! When I was in high school, I never used one. I quickly realized when I began college that with having so many different assignments, it’s amazing how much more you can get done effectively when you write things down. Using a planner allows you to know when due dates are approaching and when you have appointments. I also use my planner to write in time with friends, time for myself, and most importantly, time with family.

Favorite hobby: I love all things outdoors, but I would say that my favorite would be snowmobiling in the winter with my family! Don’t get me wrong, it can get really cold sometimes but being on the trails when the sun peeks through the trees and makes the snow shine, there is nothing more beautiful. One of my favorite things to do while on the trails near my family’s cabin in Northern Michigan, is to stop by the heat shack where snowmobilers gather from all over the state. It’s relaxing and always a good time for me and some of my favorite people.

Quote that inspires me: “We’re all rough drafts of the people we’re becoming” -- Bob Goff

Outcomes