Monday, April 21, 2014

Doug Masser (@MasserD), #psuaged12: New Agriscience Teacher at Pequea Valley!

Doug Masser, new teacher at Pequea Valley!  
Doug Masser (@MasserD), a 2012 Penn State honors graduate, has been busy since leaving Penn State! He will complete his Master of Science in Agriculture Education at the University of Idaho in the summer 0f 2014 with research focusing on describing agriculture program supporters and their roles in agriculture education programs, effective teaching strategies and coaching behaviors of CDE coaches. His activity caught the eye of Pequea Valley High School and their current senior agriscence teacher, Mr. Clair Witwer enough to hire Doug to be a part of their agriscience team for the next school year!

Doug has always been interested in agriculture. Growing up in Pitman, PA (located in Schuylkill County), he helped a lot on his family’s fruit and vegetable farm. Whether he was on the farm or out in the woods exploring the ponds, trees, and streams near his house, it made him develop a sincere passion for agriculture. He attended Tri-Valley Jr/Sr. High School where he met one of his mentors, Gretchen Dingman, a Penn Sate AEE Alum, who was his agriculture teacher for 5 years. After completing high school, he knew that he wanted to go to school for Agriculture Extension and Education. “ I believe that agricultural education provides the best model for teaching students and from my experiences, nothing is more rewarding than watching your students grow professionally, as leaders, and personally and lead successful lives. It is because of the great students I will get to work with that makes me excited to teach ag!” 
Doug at a teacher conference with
other great PA Teachers!

Clair Witwer (the current teacher at Pequea Valley) is excited on adding on a second teacher to their Ag Science and Technology Department. Mr. Witwer stated, "I am very excited to have someone of Doug's caliber coming to Pequea Valley. I have been a single teacher department for most of my career and I am looking forward to having someone to help. As we entered into the interviews, we were looking for someone who shared the philosophy of the department and the district. As we went through that process, it became very obvious that Doug was the fit we were looking for." 

Pequea Valley currently has 135 students studying agriscience, but the addition of the new teacher, plus new courses that they will be able to provide, will increase their numbers to 300 students! Pequea Valley also has been awarded as Distinguished School from Apple. 

Doug is excited to have a school that focuses on Agriscience and Agricultural Mechanics. Since they are both different topics, they can bring in a variety of students to be a part of their program. Doug states, “He has done a tremendous job building the program there, and together we both can continue growing the program and including new classes. I am excited to work with Clair on expanding the Agriscience Fair participation of our students and to infuse my strengths in plant science and leadership into the program.”
As far as their facilities go, they have a 24X40 greenhouse, two agriscience classrooms equipped with the hoods, water, gas, etc., to conduct hands on labs in many classes, they have a huge agricultural mechanics laboratory, and an area for aquaculture! Doug has endless possibilities that he can take advantage of because of what the school has to offer!

Doug at the University of Idaho!
Through everything , Doug remembers Penn State as his beginning point in his educational career. "Penn State provided me with the opportunities to become an effective teacher. Whether it was formal classes, workshops, or Ag Teacher conferences, the teacher educators at Penn State (Dr. Foster, Dr. Ewing, and Laura Sankey Rice) modeled what it means to be a great teacher. They also inspired me to work hard to make a difference in the lives of students. I know that the skills and experiences I gained at Penn State prepared me to be a successful agriculture teacher."
Doug’s Penn State and University of Idaho family wish him well as he starts another milestone in his life! In the future we hope to check back in with him and see how much he has progressed at Pequea Valley High School. Congratulations Doug Masser!

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!






Olivia Murphy-Sweet
Student Blogger
Teach Ag! Avenger

Twitter Handle @OSweetMurph
2016 Agricultural Education Student Teacher 

Neil Fellenbaum, 2000 PSU Alumnus: Outstanding Secondary Educator!

Mr. Neil Fellenbaum,
Penn Manor High School Agriculture Educator
Agriculture Educators are making a difference in the lives of students all over the nation. One Pennsylvania Ag Teacher is being recognized for his dedication and hard work during the recent school year. Mr. Neil Fellenbaum (@NeilFell), the agriculture educator at Penn Manor High School and 2000 alumnus of Penn State AEE, will be receiving the Penn Manor School District Outstanding Secondary Educator Award! This award is based on nominations which are then reviewed by Penn Manor Administration and the school board.

Mr. Fellenbaum is from Washington Boro, PA and attended Penn Manor High School where he has been teaching for the past 14 years. The 1800 student high school is located in Millersville, PA. in western Lancaster County. Mr. Fellenbaum stated that “the Agriculture students are driven and interested to learn, and the administration, advisory committee and community are extremely supportive.” Penn Manor offers a variety of agriculture courses including agricultural science, horticulture, biotechnology, wildlife, agricultural mechanics, welding and many more.  

Mr. Fellenbaum and current FFA members!
The time and effort put into these classes and the students has great rewards. Mr. Fellenbaum stated that “the most rewarding part of teaching is seeing the positive changes that students make in their four years of high school.  I also enjoy seeing the look on the face of a student when they achieve a goal that they have set for themselves and the confidence that builds in them as a person.”

His words of wisdom for future agriculture educators are that “Agriculture Education is the place to be if you want to be involved in making students better people.”

Congratulations Mr. Neil Fellenbaum on receiving the 2013-2014 Penn Manor School District Outstanding Secondary Educator Award!

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!





Laura Metrick 
Student Blogger
2014 Ag Avenger
@Its_LauraBeth

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

#TeachAg! Banquet: Special Guest Speaker coming to PSU! Tara Berescik, 2013-14 ACTE Teacher of Year


Tara Berescik
It is that time of year again where the birds are chirping, the sun is out, and banquet season is among us! For most FFA chapters, there is a banquet once a year to recognize student and chapter success. Students in the Agriculture Education major took it upon themselves to hold a banquet to recognize our student teachers, clubs, and our college success.

The banquet has been in the planning process for a while and we are proud to say that there are a ton of new and exciting things that will be happening! For starters, we all know that the student teachers get an awesome gift, there will be a photo booth with tons of props that people can use in the pictures, as well as a special guest speaker that will be coming to give a speech! You may have heard of her as the ACTE Teacher of the Year or a recipient for the NAAE Teacher mentor award, but she is one of the finest teachers in the business! Tara Berescik, Tri-Valley Central School teacher in New York, is coming to this year’s banquet!

Tara has been teaching agriculture for 11 years and has been an influence on many people’s lives. Every person that she meets she always makes sure to leave a lasting impression. After talking to Tara more, she told me how excited she is to come to the banquet! “I'm excited to get to see Penn State since I have never been there before and I have lots of Ag Teacher friends who have graduated from the school and say wonderful things,” she explained. Her presence at the banquet will be one to remember!

If you would like to come to the banquet, you must RSVP by April 14th! The banquet will be held on the April 29th at the Mount Nittany Middle School. If you have any problems or questions, feel free to contact Deanna Miller at, dwm5353@psu.edu.
To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!


Olivia Murphy-Sweet
Student Blogger
Teach Ag! Avenger

Twitter Handle @OSweetMurph
2016 Agricultural Education Student Teacher 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Teach Ag Avenger Spotlight: Rea Ianson, #psuaged15

Rea Ianson
2014 Teach Ag! Avenger
The Teach Ag Avenger we are shining the spotlight on this month is Rea Ianson! Rea (@rnianson08) is a perfect example of a small town girl with big time dreams. She grew up on her family’s maple farm in Coudersport, PA where she has helped every year with the syrup production along with the beef cattle her family raises.

While attending Coudersport Jr. Sr. High School, Rea was involved in many things but nothing stole her heart as much as FFA. She was an active member and officer in the Spud Growers FFA Chapter. Her love for her family’s farm and her experiences in FFA began Rea’s journey in the agriculture industry. Along with being an AEE major, her time as an avenger have reassured Rea that Agriculture Education is the right path for her!

Rea’s favorite part of being an avenger is getting to promote something she is very passionate about and help others realize the infinite possibilities in agriculture. She also stated “I love the connections I have been able to make through this experience. I have met amazing leaders in FFA, incredible agriculture educators and students who are going to create a great future for this major!”

Rea and fellow Teach Ag! Avengers
Laura, Olivia & Howard
Along with the connections she has made with people in the public, Rea, a 2015 student teacher, values the relationships she has made with the other avengers throughout this year so far. “It’s great to go through this experience with other AEE students, we really have become like a family!”

Rea has participated in numerous events as an avenger and says the skills she is learning will benefit her future in so many ways. “I’m learning public speaking skills, communication skills and professional development all while recruiting and promoting this major!”

Rea’s future plans include becoming the best agriculture educator and FFA advisor she can be, raise a family of her own and living on her own maple farm!

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!




Laura Metrick
Student Blogger
2014 Teach Ag Avenger
@Its_LauraBeth

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Checking in with 2014 Student Teacher Jeanne Case! #psuaged14



Jeanne Case, 2014 Student Teacher

Jeanne Case (JRose_Case), a 2014 student teacher has come a long way to get to where she is today! From her countless hands on experience with the blog, her internship at the PA Farm Bureau, her involvement with the College of Agriculture, and so many more, she can honestly say that it all has prepared her for this experience. Jeanne is under the watchful eye of Mrs. Barzydlo in Dover Area High School in York County. Her everyday interactions with the kids and her enthusiasm to teach has made everything worth it for her.



Students in her auto
shop class

When Jeanne first arrived she had a lot of experiences to prepare her for this position. She has dealt with so many different people that have been in her life it is easy for her to deal with difficult situations. She was a part of Delta Theta Sigma (an agriculture fraternity), multiple clubs including Teach Ag! Society and CFFA, and her internship with the PA Farm Bureau. With all of the people skills she attained she was able to apply them at her student teaching experience! Jeanne stated, “Some students "tested" me by turning a blow torch on when they were behind a box and I could only see them from shoulders up. I calmly told them "no, no, turn that off" and apparently I passed the test because I didn't freak out and start yelling at them. At least, that is what they told Mrs. B. I didn't think it was a big deal, growing up with farm friends and dealing with my fraternity brothers, it didn't really phase me.”  At least all of her life situations ended up in her benefit!

Students working in the
green house

Jeanne was surprised to learn how much she was interested in teaching subjects that she had no idea she would love! She found out that she actually has a knack for teaching horticulture, which was funny to her because she hated making those lesson plans! She had the “ah ha moment” when she realized that she actually learned a lot of horticulture and plant science from her parents when she was growing up!

 Jeanne also made sure to leave some advice for the future student teachers! Her senior fall picked up so quickly that she realized she had to get her “Moodles” and assignments done quickly to make sure to be ready with all the lesson plans she needed to get done. She also stated, “Go to your cooperating center with an open mind. I did not meet any of my students except for one before I started teaching. They turned out to be AWESOME! I am glad that I got to meet them when I started teaching because it has let us learn together”
Jeanne and some of the students!


 “My students make my student teaching experience, if we did not have such a good time together, teaching would not be worth it for me.” Jeanne Case is going to do great things in the future and we can’t wait to check back in and see where she is and what she has been up to! 

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!

Olivia Murphy-SweetStudent Blogger
Teach Ag! Avenger

Twitter Handle @OSweetMurph
2016 Agricultural Education Student Teacher 

#psuaged16, Janae Herr in Honduras!

Janae Herr, 2016 Student Teacher candidate
on her trip to Honduras!
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page.” Over spring break this year, Ag Ed major, Janae Herr, added a few more pages to her book. Janae, a 2016 student teacher candidate, had the privilege of visiting Zamorano University in the Yeguare Valley in Honduras. This trip was part of an embedded course (CED499B) here at Penn State. The course is a Community, Environment and Development class that studies Agricultural communities and development in the surrounding areas.  There were seven students in the group and two faculty members that attended.

While in Honduras, Janae (@kjherr17) had the opportunity to visit several different, small communities in the valley around Zamorano. She said “You could consider Zamorano the equivalent of a Land Grant University here in the states. They operate by a “learning by doing” model, Agriculture Education in its simplest, most effective terms.”

Milking cows with the Zemorano students!
While in some of the communities, the group learned about the efforts going on to increase the tourism industry in order to increase the communities’ income. She also hiked through a biological reserve and visited two elementary schools.

 While the trip was full of awesome opportunities, the ones that stood out to Janae were the ones that related to her passion; agriculture. One of the interesting agriculturally related activities was participating in a number of farm tours. Janae stated

Janae’s greatest takeaway from her trip was the experience she had milking cows with some of the Zamorano students. “Hands down, my most favorite memory of the trip is most assuredly waking up at 3:30 in the morning to join the third year students to milk the cows on campus. Being raised on a Dairy farm, I really enjoyed comparing my farm operation to the University operation while working alongside students.”


Janae showing off her Teach Ag! pride in Honduras!
Traveling to Honduras was Janae’s first time out of the country but she ensures it will not be the last. She recommends taking any chance you get to travel, especially Ag Ed Majors. “As a future Agricultural Educator, I will have the responsibility of preparing my students who are the future of fields like Environmental Resources and Agriculture Research. What better way for me to teach them but with my first hand experiences!”  Along with the Agriculture and Extension Education major, Janae has an International Ag minor. 

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog!



Laura Metrick 
2015 Student Teacher
Twitter: @Its_LauraBeth
Teach Ag! Avenger