2015 DuPont Challenge Winner
Lincoln County High School, Tennessee
Brad Parton, agriculture teacher
Kaitlyn Lewter, a recent graduate of Lincoln County High School in Fayetteville, Tenn., was recently recognized by DuPont for having one of the top three essays out of more than 9,000 entries in the DuPont Challenge Senior Division essay contest.
Lewter is the first high school agriculture student to place in the DuPont Challenge essay contest. Her agriculture teacher, Brad Parton, was also recognized. As a senior, Lewter was the Lincoln County High School FFA Chapter President and competed nationally in the FFA agricultural communications contest. She was able to use the skills and knowledge she gained in this competition to complete her essay.
"Katilyn has always been an outstanding student," said Parton. "She graduated at the top of her class this year and has always been very successful in agricultural communications."
Lewter titled her essay Farming Smarter, and in it discussed the use of drones in animal production. Drones have been used for many years in crop production, but Lewter believes that the same technology can be used in animal production. Her own interest for the topic was based on beef cattle production in southern-middle Tennessee, but she also applied the same principles to other areas of animal production, such as fisheries in the northeast United States. Her main focus was for the use of drones to help with heat detection, predator detection, and overall herd management.
For placing third in the contest, Lewter and Parton received an expenses-paid trip to Walt Disney World and the Kennedy Space Center, where they were recognized for their award. Lewter also received a $1000 savings bond and Parton received a $250 teaching grant to use in his classroom, along with access to programs from Encyclopedia Britannica.
Lewter plans to attend the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in the fall and major in Pre-Veterinary Medicine. Her goal is to become a veterinarian and focus her career on research in veterinary medicine.
For the last 29 years, the DuPont Challenge has awarded students and their teachers for their innovative essays. Over the years, the submissions have provided inspiration for what can be accomplished in science for DuPont. For more information about the DuPont Challenge, and to view the additional winners in the contest, click here.
A Message from our Partners:
The BFRP is planning to add a section to their website oriented to youth who are interested in becoming farmers and ranchers. BFRP wants agriculture teachers to share their thoughts about resources to include on their upcoming webpage. There will be a brainstorming session via conference call on Monday, July 6 from 4-4:45pm EDT. To participate, sign-up on the sign-up sheet available during your regional conference or call in to 1-800-299-7631 and use the access code 7610 395# at the time of the conference.
If you are unable to participate in the conference call, but would still like to provide your input, email your ideas to Julie Fritsch, NAAE Communications/Marketing Director at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NAAE is excited to have six interns this summer working in professional development, communications, advocacy, and with the National Teach Ag Campaign. Join us in welcoming these great preservice teachers to our organization and to the profession!
Professional Development Interns
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? The opportunities that the agricultural industry offers to individuals is one of the reasons why I chose to major in agricultural education. As an educator, it is my duty to prepare students for the workforce. As an agriculture instructor, it is my goal to expose students to new experiences. Traveling to National FFA Convention or even participating on a CDE team can broaden many students' horizons. Within agricultural education curriculum, there are opportunities for students to learn real, practical material that may one day put food on their family's table.
What are your professional goals? After graduation, I will be seeking a position as an agricultural education instructor in a high school setting, where I can influence students on their journey to being educated producers and consumers. After teaching for some time, I will look at taking graduate level courses and furthering my education to make myself a stronger agricultural educator.
What are you looking forward to most about being a NAAE intern? I love looking at the big picture. It is really exciting to me that I will be able to meet different agriculture instructors from across the country. By networking with different individuals, I can learn how ag ed is different across the board. I will enjoy taking the new ideas and hopefully putting them to use one day in a program of my own!
Name: Amy Zimmermann
School: North Dakota State University
Year in School: Senior
Hometown, State: Sauk Centre, MN
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? It really seemed to be the best fit for me. It was an "aha" moment. I love being a positive role model for others and encouraging them to be the best that they can be.
What are your professional goals? To help as many students as I can achieve dreams that they never thought were possible. I want to make the impossible possible for them.
What are you looking forward to most about being a NAAE intern? The connections that I will make with incredible agriculture teachers around the United States. I am excited for the opportunity to learn more about agricultural education on a deeper level.
Name: Cadie Nicole Giba
School: Clemson University
Year in School: Transfer- Sophomore
Hometown, State: Cherokee, Alabama
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? I chose to major in agricultural education because I want a career that will allow me to express my passion for agriculture and help others. Although at this point I am still unsure of what path I would like to pursue with my degree, I know that being an agricultural education major will allow me to build a future for myself and inspire others every day. I have interest in teaching high school agriculture, but would also like to consider a career in agricultural communications. Whichever career path I choose, I know that my degree in agricultural education will allow me to be successful in educating others about the importance of agriculture.
What are your professional goals? My most challenging goal is to help other people realize that you do not have to wear boots and be constantly occupied by tractors and crops to have an appreciation for the industry that sustains life -- the agriculture industry. This realization has encouraged me to obtain a degree and to travel across the United States and overseas to learn about the face of hunger and the need to be more aware of how to be effective in our agricultural pursuits. Through a ministry approach, I will be the voice of agriculture and the people it affects.
What are you looking forward to most about being a NAAE intern? I am looking forward to being in the professional environment and being able to see how the job gets done. Communications and agriculture are my passions and to be able to combine them is an incredible opportunity. I look forward to learning about new software and learning how to publicize professionally. It will also be exciting to be able to live in the city for a few months!
Name: Shelby Cooper
School: University of Illinois
Year in School: Senior
Hometown, State: Downs, Illinois
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? I chose to major in agricultural education to reach high school students through agricultural applications. I have always valued education and I love how relatable the hands-on material is in agricultural education. I look forward to teaching science, communication, business, and leadership in an agricultural setting and introducing the possible career opportunities in agriculture to high school students!
What are your professional goals? My professional goal is to teach agriculture in a high school classroom. I intend to earn my master's degree in agricultural education while teaching as well.
What are you looking forward to most about being a NAAE intern? I am greatly looking forward to getting to know other interns and staff at NAAE, as well as seeing the city of Lexington! I am thankful for the opportunity to support agricultural educators with this national organization, and I hope to learn more about how to use the materials and connections available to me as a future teacher.
Name: Justin R. Hall
School: Mississippi State University
Year in School: Senior
Hometown, State: Molino, Florida
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? I chose to major in agricultural education due to my personal experiences going through the curriculum in middle and high school and my upbringing on a family farm. Agricultural education has been a tremendous influence in my life and is one of the reasons I am the person I am today. My passion is educating young people, and I have a great love and respect for the AFNR industries; therefore a career as an agricultural educator is a natural choice for me.
What are your professional goals? After graduation from Mississippi State University, it is my goal to obtain a Master's degree in agricultural education (or a related field). Following graduate school, I will obtain an agricultural educator's position at the secondary level. There, I will strive to build a community-centered program using an approach that emphasizes all aspects of the agricultural education model as interdependent, equal parts. Through this position, I hope to impact the lives of students and support the agriculture industry.
What are you looking forward to most about being a NAAE intern? I am excited about the opportunity to interact with the members of the agricultural education profession and, most importantly, share my passion for agricultural education with the leaders of our country. It is my hope that this position will make me a better advocate for agricultural education and career and technical education. Also, on a more selfish note, I am looking forward to spending time in our nation's capital.
Teach Ag Intern
Name: Alan Green
School: Michigan State University
Year in School: Sophomore
Hometown, State: Hopkins, Michigan
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? I've known since third grade that I wanted to be a teacher. As a ninth grader, I enrolled in plant science, and instantly fell in love with both the content and the context of the classroom. The authentic relationship that I was able to build with my agriculture teacher, Jessica Couch, ultimately inspired me to pursue this profession.
What are your professional goals? My professional goal is simple -- I want to teach. After graduating with a degree in agricultural education, I would love to return to the high school classroom and teach agriculture. Eventually, I'd like to transition to a postsecondary education institution and work as either an agricultural education or agricultural economics professor.
What are you looking forward to most about being a Teach Ag intern? I am so excited to learn more about NAAE and especially the Teach Ag Campaign. Seeing that my interest in agricultural education was sparked after visiting the Teach Ag Booth at National FFA Convention, I am excited to take in as much information as I can, so I can encourage other students to become agriculture teachers themselves. I am also very excited to meet NAAE members from across the nation, as well as explore the beautiful city of Lexington, Kentucky.
A Message from our Partners:
Now that our school year is coming to a close, we need to be thinking about what we going to do for next year. How are we going to improve our programs so that we move them to the next level? How are we going to maintain the interest level and give our students something new and exciting to learn? We do not want to fall into the trap of teaching exactly the same thing year after year ....that's too easy! What we must do is keep increasing our knowledge and skills for the betterment of our programs and our students. This is where professional development can play a key role in taking your program to the next level. Each year, NAAE provides many opportunities for professional development and hits timely topics that can improve our programs. These opportunities exist at regional conferences, National FFA Convention, and at NAAE convention and can supplement our programs in so many ways.
Another way to participate in a major professional development is to sign up for a CASE Institute -- in my mind, the best way to take your program to the next level. I participated in the Plant Science Institute last year and I am enrolled in the Animal Science Institute this summer. I can personally attest to the benefits of CASE. These programs can energize both young and experienced teachers by helping them to incorporate the latest tools and concepts into their program.
As you plan your curriculum for next year, think new, think different, think innovative, and make your program the best it can be.
A Message from Our Partners:
For most, school is out for the summer (or almost). By now your calendar is filling up with SAE visits, livestock shows, FFA camps, leadership workshops, professional development opportunities, and numerous other activities. Some of you may even try to squeeze in a mini-vacation somewhere this summer.
Our question this month is…..
What is your ultimate vacation? Pretend your calendar is clear and your budget is not an issue. Chime in and let us know your thoughts!
2014 NAAE Region II Outstanding Young Member Award Winner
As educators, we all want to see our students succeed. We walk into our classrooms each morning thinking of ways to help our students achieve at a higher level than they did the previous day. For Danielle Newsom, agriculture teacher at Abbeville High School in Abbeville, Louisiana, student achievement is her top priority.
Newsom has taught at Abbeville High School since 2012. The majority of the school population consists of high-risk students who live at or below the Louisiana poverty line. Many of her students have never seen or been on a farm, since they typically live in the inner city of the Vermilion Parish. For this reason, Newsom uses her classroom as a place where her students can develop personal, life, and occupational skills.
"My success is based on the success of my students," said Newsom. "I became an agriculture teacher because of the experiences my agriculture program gave me and it is my career goal to provide students with a similar experience."
In order to better serve her students' needs, Newsom's program offers dual enrollment credits in welding, electricity and carpentry with South Louisiana Community College. This allows her students to develop skills and receive training they can use to be successful outside of the classroom. These opportunities help her students secure employment after graduation, or attend South Louisiana Community College for postsecondary education and additional training.
She also provides her students with various other hands-on experiences in the classroom. Newsom uses an interactive white board to test her students' knowledge of properly setting up an oxy-acetylene cutting torch before they are able to work in the shop. The activity teaches her students the importance of following directions and safety when working with hazardous materials. She also facilitates an engine building competition with her students in her small engines class. Students work in teams to disassemble and reassemble an engine block. The competition engages students and allows them the opportunity to apply their knowledge of engines in a real-life setting.
"The students really get competitive and enjoy watching each other," said Newsom. "They show me what they have learned by telling their peers what to do next or what is wrong with the engines. I enjoy this because the students are learning without realizing it because they are having fun."
Newsom has also made it a career goal to rebuild the Abbeville FFA Chapter. In 2011, there were only 20 FFA members. As of 2014, there are nearly 110 members -- almost a 400% increase in only two years. She encourages her students to participate in the FFA chapter by taking them to FFA leadership camp, FFA conventions, Career Development Events (CDE's), and livestock shows. Over the past two years, nearly 30 of Newsom's students have participated in FFA activities beyond the local level.
"I plan to continue to recruit and increase involvement in chapter activities in the years to come. I am very proud of the student success achieved while I have been at Abbeville, from being selected to serve on the state nominating committee, to winning various area CDE's," said Newsom. "I look forward to many future successes."
Danielle Newsom's hard work and determination to help her students succeed is the reason she was selected as the 2014 Region II Outstanding Young Member award recipient. The Outstanding Young Member award is sponsored by John Deere, as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. For more information about NAAE award programs, click here. To read about all the 2014 NAAE award winners, follow this link.
A Message from our Partners: