Friday, February 23, 2018

The Annual Teach Ag Essay Contest!

"Explore" is the theme for 2018's Teach Ag Essay Contest,
ran by the LEAD Society of Penn State.
Are you a current student, or do you know of current students enrolled in a secondary agricultural education class? 

Take a chance to explore a career in Ag Education! 

The Essay Contest was created by former Penn State Teach Ag! Society members and is now run by the new LEAD Society of Penn State to promote an awareness of the national shortage of agriculture educators. The contest provides secondary level students who are involved in agriculture education classes an opportunity to teach a class in their agricultural education departments. After teaching, the students write a brief essay summarizing their experience.
Participants submit applications and compete with others to win prizes. This contest has the potential to spark the interest of secondary agricultural students to teach and become agriculture educators. The Teach Ag Essay Contest encompasses the motto of the National FFA Organization by providing students with a chance to develop their leadership skills, their personal growth, and develop opportunities for career success within the field of agriculture.

Here's how it works: 

Students create and teach a lesson in an agricultural class addressing any topic they have an interest in. They will then write an essay reflecting on their experiences and answering the following two questions:

1. Why teach Ag?
2. What did you learn in your day as an Ag teacher?

Additionally, students are encouraged to submit an optional YouTube video about either why they want to be an Ag teacher, or why they love their Ag teacher. (The video should not exceed 2 minutes). Feel free to post the video on your personal social media, and tag us on Facebook (@PennStateLEADSociety). The submission of a video will add a 10% bonus to your overall score.

How to submit: 

Complete the online entry form including the following things:

1. Your essay
2. Your lesson plan
3. A photo of you teaching
4. A photo of you and your Ag teacher
5. A photo release form
6. (Optional) A YouTube link to your video

The deadline for entry is 11:59 PM on Monday, April 2nd. 

Winners and Prizes!

The "Final Four" students will be announced by May and their placings will be announced at the PA FFA State Convention in June.

Every participant will receive a Teach Ag t-shirt and an invitation to an ice cream social at the State Convention. The "Final Four" will win the following additional prizes:

First Place
$100 National FFA gift card
Free registration to any 2018 PA FFA event

Second Place
$75 National FFA gift card

Third Palce
$50 National FFA gift card

Fourth Place
$25 National FFA gift card


If you have any questions regarding the contest, please reach out to Dylan Schoemaker (

Everything you need to compete in the contest can be found here! Good luck and happy teaching!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Welcome Mr. Seaman and Ms. Mathie to PSU TeachAg! @JonSeamanAgEd @BethMathiePsu

Penn State Center for Professional Personnel Development has two new members that have been hired to assist in providing an effective impact on training new and beginning teachers as well as current educators. We welcome Jonathan Seaman and Bethany Mathie our new Co-Curricular Program Managers. Lets meet our new managers!

Jonathan is originally from Kutztown, PA, past volunteer firefighter, and a former graduate of Agriculture and Extension Education at Penn State. Jon was led to this position because of his natural passion for agriculture education and felt his skill set suited this position well. His past experiences from his childhood, working on dairy farms, training to be a firefighter, and FFA leadership and opportunities are what define his character in present times. Jon's goals in this position is to introduce nanotechnology, 3-D printing, and the use of certification programs in Pennsylvania agricultural education programs, to be a resource for pre-service and in-service educators, and to implement the use project and inquiry based learning through agricultural educators. Outside of work Jon enjoys spending time with his family and dog Axle, as well as watching Penn State Football.

Beth is originally from Montoursville, PA and a former graduate of Agriculture and Extension Education at Penn State. Beth was led to this position as she was looking to come back to Pennsylvania from the Baltimore area where she taught agricultural education. She felt that this position was the right fit for her, and wanted a change of life. Her past experiences from her supportive parents encouraging her along and teaching in various schools including urban education has defined who she is a person in present times. Her goals in this position are to do the best she can to support programs and teachers (new and beginning) to increase the teacher retention rate. Outside of Penn State Beth enjoys reading, yoga, and chasing her three year old.

WE ARE, excited to welcome you to Penn State, and we wish both of you the best in accomplishing your goals in the position you hold! 

Luke Kerstetter
Communications Team Member
Twitter Handle: @lmkerstetter96
2020 Agricultural Education Student Teacher

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Joining the Movement to End Hunger with Greenwood FFA (@FFAgwood)

Jake Barton, a Greenwood FFA member,
shared one of the many stories of real people
 that struggle with hunger across the world.
Greenwood High School FFA (@FFAgwood) members joined the fight to end hunger with the community of the Millerstown area in Perry County on Friday, February 2nd as they held their 6th annual hunger event at the Newport Family Life Center.

This year, their hunger event was an Oxfam Hunger Banquet, through the Oxfam America organization. Oxfam Hunger Banquets give groups the opportunity to make a difference, both locally and globally. They are volunteer-led interactive banquets that bring statistics about poverty to life, and anyone interested in hosting a hunger banquet is easily able to do so. Representatives from various organizations in Perry County area were in attendance, as well as from Global Teach Ag (@globalteachag).

#psuaged18 is ready to serve: The @TeachAgPSU Student Showcase

#psuaged18 is ready to serve! Take a look at their Student Showcase to learn all about their success.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Meet your new Teach Ag! Avengers!

Your 2018-19 Teach Ag! Avengers from L to R (starting at top):
Sam Loy, Victoria Herr, Kayla Rose Stauffer, Beth Winklosky,
Maddie Bentz, Erin Langdale, Alicia Gates, and Megan Royer.
We can all probably think back to our high school days and early college years, and remember a time where we might not have even had a clue of what we wanted to do with our lives yet. How did you ultimately decide what you wanted to do? Luckily, FFA members and agricultural students have the Teach Ag! Avengers to help them find out!

If you're currently an agricultural teacher or working in the agriculture industry, perhaps you had a conversation with one of our Avengers, sparking your interest in the field of agriculture. We're showcasing our 8 outstanding Teach Ag! Avengers, who are serving as the face of the Agricultural and Extension Education major for The Pennsylvania State University's 2018 - 2019 year. As Kayla Rose Stauffer puts it, the purpose of the Avengers is, " promote agriculture in a positive light and to help decrease the shortage of agricultural educators." 

Meet our 8 outstanding Teach Ag! Avengers, who are serving as the face of the Agricultural and Extension Education major for The Pennsylvania State University's 2018 - 2019 year:

Victoria Herr (@Victoria_Herr), #psuaged19

Why do I want to teach Ag?
"I want to teach agriculture because I saw the impact that my agricultural education teachers had on my own life and I want to pass that impact onto the next generation."

Why am I a Teach Ag! Avenger?
"I chose to serve as a Teach Ag! Avenger because I believe it is important to give back to the Ag Ed community. We've all been given so many opportunities and so much support during our time in Ag Ed and it's up to us to continue that cycle and give back by recruiting and supporting the younger members of our community."

Alicia Gates (@gates_alicia), #psuaged20

Why do I want to teach Ag?
"I want to teach Ag simply because I believe in the future of agriculture. I believe that to have a positive and growing future in the agricultural industry we need to educate generation after generation on the industry that puts the clothes on our back, the shelter over our heads, and the food on our plates."
Why am I a Teach Ag! Avenger?
"I wanted to be an avenger to help maximize my experience in the field of Ag Ed so that I can provide a valuable learning environment for my students someday."

Megan Royer (@Megyyy22), #psuaged21

Why do I want to teach Ag?
"I want to become an Agricultural Educator because of the impact my teacher and my Ag program has had on me. I learned so much about myself as well as other through my program and I would like to create that opportunity for other kids. Most importantly, I want to become an Ag Teacher because I want to teach kids and get kids excited not only about information and skills that will not only set them up for a bright future but also help those kids thrive in our ever-changing world."

Why am I a Teach Ag! Avenger?
"I chose to become an Teach Ag! Avenger because I wanted the opportunity to promote and discuss an occupation that needs everyone! More importantly, I wanted to stress that just because you may not fit into the typically cookie cutter outline of what most people would consider as Ag does not mean there is not a place for you, and here in Ag Ed we would be extremely happy for you to join us!"

Kayla Rose Stauffer (@krstauffer19), #psuaged19

Why do I want to teach Ag?
"I want to teach Ag to create a world where consumers understand where their products come from and not that they come from the shelf at the supermarket. I also want to teach Ag to reach out to those children that don't know what they want to do, and to explain the benefits of teaching agriculture."

Why am I a Teach Ag! Avenger?
"I chose to be a Teach Ag! Avenger to help reduce the shortage of agricultural educators. I also chose to be an avenger to show students the important of agricultural education and why agricultural education is a great career pathway to choose!"

Sam Loy (@samloy_ag), #psuaged21

Why do I want to teach Ag?
"I want to teach Ag because I believe it's one of the only subjects you can teach that directly prepares students for a world outside high school, through the knowledge of where their food comes from, CDE's, and the multitude of different subjects (math, bio, chemistry) covered by Ag."

Why am I a Teach Ag! Avenger?
"I chose to be a Teach Ag! Avenger because I want to help directly impact youth in FFA programs around Pennsylvania while furthering my teaching and professional skills."

Elizabeth Winklosky (@Winklosky_Beth), #psuaged19

Why do I want to teach Ag?
"I like the individuality and the impact that I have on a part of each student's lives."

Why am I a Teach Ag! Avenger?
"This is where we can get other people to feel the same passion that I do. Many people don't know what they want to do until it happens, and that's exactly what happened with me, so I want to be there to let them know that teaching Ag is an option for them!"

Erin Langdale (@ItsErinLangdale), #psuaged20

Why do I want to teach Ag?
"Simply put: we ALL need agriculture to survive. By 2050, there will be over 9 billion people living on this planet, and it’s the challenge of agriculturalists, to figure out how we will provide enough nutritious food for everyone. Agricultural education not only informs people of that fact, but it shows students how they play an active role in the agriculture industry. It is vital that all people be knowledgeable of where there food comes from, and agricultural education is a huge factor of informing the general public about the agriculture industry."

Why am I a Teach Ag! Avenger?
"Agricultural education is something that I am so passionate about, and being a Teach Ag! Avenger, means getting to spread that passion to others. I thought that being a Teach Ag! Avenger would be a great opportunity to represent Agricultural Education, and Penn State (two things I love so much). I also decided to become a Teach Ag! Avenger, because it would give me valuable experience in advocacy, and sharing my story in agriculture."

Maddie Bentz, #psuaged21

The Avengers are attending each weekend of the ongoing PA FFA ACES Conference, held February 3rd - 4th, 10th - 11th, and 17th - 18th, to engage with current high school FFA members, recruit for the Agricultural and Extension Education major, and answer any questions students may have about a future career that creates a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe.

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 Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog.

Hunter Kauffman, Student Blogger
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
College of Agricultural Sciences
Instagram: kauffman_hunter

Friday, February 2, 2018

Agricultural Educators Become Students: Chesapeake Bay Foundation Press Release (@chesapeakebay)

January 31, 2018
For Immediate Release
Contact: B.J. Small, 717-200-4521

CBF to provide agricultural teachers a lesson
in the value of meaningful watershed experiences

(HARRISBURG) – Agriculture teachers will become students when meeting with Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) educators to learn about the value of providing hands-on environmental education that connects students with real-world issues. Called Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEE), many teachers have found that supporting classroom work with investigations into local environmental issues engages students in their community and improves critical thinking. The workshops are being held in Harrisburg in February.

“We are excited for the opportunity to share information and resources with these teachers to support and enhance their approaches to teaching about sustainability and the impact of agriculture on water quality, particularly in their local communities,” said Dr. Amy Green, Director of Teacher Professional Learning at CBF. “We also want to show them how the MWEE model can help advance environmental literacy and stewardship through field-based learning, in the context of agricultural sciences.”

CBF staff will partner with the Penn State Center for Professional Personnel Development (CPPD) to address 170 agriculture teachers over the first three Saturdays in February at the Sheraton in Harrisburg.

The workshops for teachers coincide with the annual Agricultural Cooperation Establishes Success (ACES) conference for about 1,500 students from 100 Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapters throughout Pennsylvania. At ACES, students will learn social skills, leadership, and teamwork.

Teachers will learn about Pennsylvania’s relationship to the Bay; the Commonwealth’s progress and challenges in reducing pollution; and how agricultural education connects to and can include environmental education with field-based learning, student action, and stewardship.

“We want to expose teachers to some of the tools and strategies we’ve been working with in Maryland and Virginia, and how they can be applied in Pennsylvania,” said Norah Carlos, Education Outreach and Communications Coordinator at CBF. “Studies have shown that environmental education improves academic performance, increases civic engagement, and instills a belief that individuals can make a difference.”

CBF also has a Susquehanna Watershed Environmental Education Program. This field-based program supports MWEE in Pennsylvania, investigating the health of local waterways. Students study the physical characteristics of the waterway, the shoreline, and adjoining lands. They use water chemistry tests to determine water quality, examine stream health through examining the aquatic life that is present in the stream, and use maps to orient themselves in their watershed.

CBF also provides a Mentors in Agricultural Conservation (MAC) program that pairs FFA and 4H students with CBF restoration specialists, to participate in restoration work and learn about agricultural conservation projects on local farms.

“Issues like water quality, soil health, and implementation of best management practices are central to agricultural education, and provide prime opportunities for hands-on study,” Carlos added. “We will also use computer technology to show these teachers how they can compare water quality across the watershed in the Commonwealth.”

The CBF and CPPD partnership at the workshops will have long-term benefits to both organizations and for the teachers attending the workshops.

“Developing a partnership between the Penn State CPPD and CBF will allow Pennsylvania’s agricultural education teachers to obtain the most current knowledge and skills related to protecting our water,” added Dr. John Ewing, Associate Professor of Agricultural Education at Penn State University.


CBF Photos
Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEE) are learner-centered experiences and investigations into local environmental issues that lead to informed action and civic engagement.

Editor’s note: more information on the benefits of environmental education can be found at:
NAAEE (North American Association of Environmental Education)

We request that all the Agriculture Educators that are participating in this workshop to interact on social media to promote the partnership between the CBF and Penn State Center for Professional Personnel Development.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February's Student of the Month Libby Baker-Mikesell (@Baker_Mi16)

Each month we like to highlight students that have gone above and beyond in their involvement in the agriculture education program at PSU! We are proud to announce that Libby Baker-Mikesell was selected as the February's Student of the Month! Lets learn about her adventure and accomplishments so far.

Libby is a plant science major at Penn State, and she was inspired to become a plant science major due to her involvement in the National FFA Agriscience Fair. Libby's research had started on investigating issues within her family's beef farm, and eventually her research expanded into regional issues. She explained, "My primary research area was Plant Science, as I investigated best management practices to increase the health of the Chesapeake Bay. It was my research that led me to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in plant science." Her passion to purse this major is driven by helping students learn as they realize their potential. She believes that earning her Bachelor's Degree and studying agricultural education in a informal fashion will allow her to gain the hands-on knowledge necessary to succeed in and outside the classroom. 

After graduating with her Bachelor's Degree, Libby plans to earn her Master's Degree in Agricultural Education and teach either environmental or agricultural education in a informal setting. Her career goal is to learn something new every day. She states, "I believe that life is a learning experience and that everyone you meet has a different knowledge base. If I can approach life with a growth mindset and the goal of learning something new every day, I will have a successful career."  She stays motivated towards her major by maximizing her time on campus is reassuring that she will achieve her goals in life. 

Libby is also involved in several activities outside of class which include: Ag Student Council Secretary, LEAD Society Secretary, Collegiate Farm Bureau Ag Student Council Rep, and Lutheran Student Community Member. 

Fun Facts about Libby:
Hometown: Port Royal, PA
Graduation: Fall 2021
Birthday: September 25
Favorite PSU Class: HORT 101
Favorite places to eat in State College: Baby's, Primanti Bros.
Favorite athletics team/sport: Penn State Football, of course!
Favorite hangout on campus: Ferguson or the coffee shop above the bookstore

Luke Kerstetter
Communications Team Member
Twitter Handle: @lmkerstetter96
2020 Agricultural Education Student Teacher