This year, we are excited to have five fantastic interns working on behalf of agricultural education, in the areas of communications, professional development, advocacy and Teach Ag. We can’t wait for you to meet them this year in San Antonio for the 2018 NAAE Convention!
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education?
I chose to major in agricultural education because I want to help students find their niche through agriculture. The agriculture industry has always held a spot in my heart. I was raised on a small family farm in eastern Kentucky, where my father trained horses. My love for agriculture began on the family farm, but it wasn’t until I started taking agriculture classes in high school, that I realized my calling was to become an agriculture teacher.
What are your professional goals?
Once I complete my bachelor’s degree in agricultural education at the University of Kentucky, I hope become an agriculture teacher in eastern Kentucky. I want give back to the region that shaped me in to the person I am today.
What has been the best part of your internship?
The best part of my internship thus far has been serving as a judge for the Agriscience Fair at the Kentucky FFA State Convention. I was able to serve an organization that gave so much to me as a high school student, while networking with professionals and educators in Kentucky’s agriculture industry.
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? Compared to most kids, I grew up in a rather abnormal situation -- both of my parents just happened to be teachers. My mom, a fifth grade math teacher, was the parent who constantly pushed me to perform various learning exercises, from book reports to the F.O.I.L. method – she instilled in me a love and appreciation for learning.
With my Dad, things were always a little different. Instead of written assignments, I would always beg him to include me on whatever “field trip” he had scheduled next. At first, it started out with home visit -- one in particular with a happy and hungry pig who loved marshmallows. Then, I always wanted to go with my dad on his week long summer adventures to a camp with tons of high school students dressed in interesting blue jackets, where they canoed in the lake and “played” in groups on wooden obstacle courses. My all-time favorite were the yearly trips to the fair where there were cows and sheep and pigs, oh my! So, while I received my love of learning from my mom, I found my subject passion with my dad, the agriculture teacher.
As I entered college, although I resisted at first to the idea of becoming exactly like my parents, I found a balance in a degree where I could fulfill my love of livestock with my passion for helping others – agricultural education.
What are your professional goals? Through my student teaching experiences at Western Hills High School in Frankfort, KY and The Scots School in Bathurst, Australia, I was able to discover just how much I truly enjoy making connections with students and being able to see them succeed. However, I was faced with a dilemma because I also really enjoy expanding my knowledge in the animal science industry. After much thought, I have decided to pursue a master’s degree in animal science. After that, I have aspirations to become an animal science professor at a postsecondary institution, so that I am able to teach about the subject I enjoy the most.
What has been the best part of your internship?
I have enjoyed working with my fellow interns and learning more about them and their goals and interests. I feel that I have had a great opportunity to learn from each of them by how they approach situations and problem-solve. My interactions with them have helped me to grow personally and professionally.
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? When I was in high school I was not able to take any agriculture courses because my high school did not have an agriculture program. I was not able to participate in FFA or 4-H because we did not have the programs and because of this I did not have a lot of opportunities that other students that I go to college with did and still do. This has really opened my eyes and I want to start a new high school agriculture program or an adult education program to give students the opportunities that I did not have.
What are your professional goals? I would really like to start my own business or work for a company that educates the public about the agriculture industry. I feel that the agriculture industry does not get the credit that it deserves because of biased information that is spreading. I feel that education is the key to fixing this issue.
What has been the best part of your internship? The best part of this summer has been working with my amazing team at NAAE and getting to see the wonderful state of Kentucky with them!
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? When I think back on my years in agriculture classes and how my passion for agriculture grew, I think back to one situation in particular. It was my freshman year of high school and our FFA chapter was partnering with the Jackson County Farm Bureau for Project Rural Education Day, or Project R.E.D. I was assigned to explain where all the ingredients in pizza come from to a group of third graders. As the kids came around to our station, I watched in awe as urban students became intrigued to learn where their food came from. As urbanization continues to increase, we begin to see a divide between consumers and producers -- exemplified by only 22 percent of Americans trusting that the agriculture industry is transparent about food production practices. It is now more important than ever, to ensure that individuals know where their food comes from. It was in that moment, interacting with those kids, that I had realized the agriculture industry needed me and I was excited to answer the call to service.
What are your professional goals? Upon completion of my bachelor’s degree, I will become certified to teach agriscience within the following year. In this year, I will be student teaching in an agriscience classroom, which will allow me to gain real classroom instruction experience, as well as permit me to expand my horizons in the agriculture field for a few years before pursuing a master’s degree. There are three areas that interest me greatly within the agriculture industry; communications, education, and policy. I believe that all of these areas are interconnected. You cannot effectively educate if you cannot communicate, and you cannot advocate for policy if you cannot educate. It is for this reason that I am still undecided about pursuing a master’s degree in agricultural communications, agricultural education or policy. After the completion of my master's degree, I intend to pursue a career in agriculture -- whether it be in the classroom or elsewhere in the agriculture sector, I will use my communication and advocacy skills to help guide me.
What has been the best part of your internship? The best part about my internship has been interacting and educating individuals who have had very little exposure or previous knowledge of agricultural education. As I work through a typical meeting with a Representative or Senator, I am able to provide them with background information on agricultural education, career and technical education, and the National FFA Organization. It is after showing them how unique agricultural education three circle model is, and how we are able to integrate mathematics, science and literacy through a hands-on approach in agriculture, that they realize just how amazing agricultural education really is.
Why did you choose to major in agricultural education? Agriculture is something that has always been important in my life. As I began to be more involved within the industry, I started to see the need to educate those both directly and indirectly involved in agriculture. Whether it be at the grocery store or on Facebook, you are bound to see less than factual information being spread about the agriculture industry, so I decided a major in agricultural education was a way to combat that. There are also so many opportunities available to agricultural education majors to educate others both in the classroom and through non-traditional settings. I love the versatility and variability that this major provides. The opportunities are endless!
What are your professional goals? After graduation, I would love to be an agriculture teacher for a few years and gain experience from the formal education side. Eventually, I would like to step into a more non-traditional role of education, possibly through a non-profit or the USDA. Wherever my journey as an agricultural educator takes me, I always want to make it my goal to continuously advocate for the agriculture industry.
What has been the best part of your internship? This is a tough question because I have really loved everything about it! If I had to pick something, I would probably say the opportunity to travel. I am the type of person who loves going to new places and through Teach Ag I am getting the opportunity to travel to several cities and states that I have never been to before for various conferences and events. Through these experiences, I am also getting the opportunity to expand my network and develop myself professionally. This internship provides opportunities beyond my desk and that, to me, is one of the best parts.