Thursday, July 28, 2016

Hired! Teacher Candidate Janae McMichael Hired at Lampeter-Strasburg High School! #psuaged16

Hometown. A place we know, with people we know- a place that has seen our best and seen our worst, a place of familiarity and expectations.  A place some of us are lucky enough to go back to.  Mrs. Janae McMichael (Herr) received that opportunity to go back to the place she calls home.  Teacher candidate from the class of 2016, Janae McMichael will be teaching at Lampeter-Strasburg High School! 

During her time at Penn State Janae was an agricultural business management minor and was involved in Teach Ag! Society where she served as the President and chair of the Domestic Study Away, which she attended twice in Colorado and Mississippi.  She served as a Teach Ag! Avenger for Penn State Teach Ag! and Ag Advocate for the College of Agricultural Sciences.  She was also involved in Collegiate FFA.  Janae student taught with Mr. David Bittner and Mr. Greg Erb at Midd-West High School where she learned how to effectively and efficiently incorporate technology and involve community members and stakeholders.  Janae said she hopes to “actively seek opportunities to do the same.”

She was “Tagged to Teach Ag!” in some of the same places she will Tag others to do the same thing.  Growing up on a generational dairy farm certainly influenced my passion for production agriculture, but my involvement in 4-H and FFA helped cultivate that passion focus more so on the future of agriculture.”  She credits her Dad and her Agricultural Educator, whom she will teach alongside, for being “incredibly influential individuals in helping me solidify my career choice in agriculture education.” 

Janae and her students at Midd-West
Lampeter Strasburg is a two-teacher program where Janae will teach alongside Holly Oberholtzer.  Together there are 180 students in the program.  The Agriculture Program has courses in Veterinary Science, Agricultural Science, Landscape and Plant Design, Agricultural Mechanics, Welding, Electricity and Small Gas Engines. 

When thinking about teaching in the same school where she grew up, Janae reflected on what she looks forward to while teaching.  The opportunity to give back to the community that I grew up in; the challenge of helping my students discover the immense amount of opportunities that agricultural education allows for its students; playing a role in preserving the rich heritage of agriculture in our community; changing students lives.”  Janae will be well on her way to challenging her students and giving them opportunities to grow; in her classes, as well rounded students as she strives to work on cross curricular projects while meeting the needs of the community she calls home.

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.

Kayla Hack

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @hackkayla

2017 Agriculture Education Student Teacher

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Hired! Teacher Candidate Jenna Timmons Hired at Gettysburg Senior High School! #psuaged16

It is the home of the battle of Gettysburg, the famous Gettysburg address and now the new home of Penn State graduate Miss Jenna Timmons!  This fall Jenna Timmons, 2016 graduate of Agricultural and Extension Education will be the Agricultural Educator & FFA Advisor at Gettysburg Senior High School.

From her Dairy farming roots, to her time as a student at Chambersburg High School and most recently as student teacher at Kennard-Dale, Jenna’s agriculture experiences will serve her well as a new teacher.  She is excited to work alongside current agricultural teacher, Laura Kennedy.  Jenna will teach plant science and agricultural mechanics including: horticulture, floriculture, advanced landscaping, small gas engines and welding.  A tour of the Gettysburg facility would showcase two greenhouses, a hydroponics system, courtyard used for design and an outdoor classroom.  Jenna will use these facilities to serve her classes and students well.  

Jenna and the crew on the DSA trip to Mississippi

As Jenna looks to the future full of new classes and new students, she reflected on how her past experiences will aide her in her new classroom.  She was involved in Teach Ag! Society and attended the Domestic Study Away to Mississippi with an emphasis on financial literacy in Appalachia; particularly related to Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE).  Jenna learned the importance of incorporating career development events in the agricultural education program through her time student teaching with Ms. Abby Smith.  Ms. Smith required students to participate in one Career Development Event per marking period, relevant to their class content.  “I felt this was a great way for our students to get involved in FFA and participate in a CDE as well as fulfill their class requirement. Therefore, I would like to see all students in each of my classes at Gettysburg compete in a CDE as a class requirement. I believe this will help promote our program as well as increase our FFA involvement.”  Jenna credits Ms. Abby Smith and her mentoring for increasing her drive to become an amazing agricultural educator. 

At the end of the day Jenna hopes to leave her students with two things: Worth and Value.  “I believe in the potential of each of my students and I am dedicated to making sure that through my program each of my students will find their value and importance to become positive agents of change.”

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.

Kayla Hack

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @hackkayla

2017 Agriculture Education Student Teacher

Friday, May 27, 2016

It's a Wrap: Domestic Study Away 2016 #PSUAgEd2TN

Editors Note: The following is the final blog instalment of #psuaged2TN, our domestic study away program. Nate Repetz (@N8_Repetz), a junior and member of #psuaged17, shares below. This incredible opportunity is made possible by the generosity of the CHS Foundation.

The whole group at Clarkrange High School

On Sunday May 8th, seven future agricultural educators and one brave teacher educator loaded a van. The destination was the Volunteer State. The reason was the 4th annual Domestic Study Away trip. The focus was STEM in agricultural education in urban and rural settings. We each had different reasons for going on this trip, but we all ended with renewed passion for agricultural education.

This was our fourth annual Domestic Study Away, and each has had a different feel to it. Others have questioned why we would sacrifice a week of summer to visit ag ed programs. This year, our four greatest take-aways are why we do this trip.

4 Take-Aways

2016 crew downtown Nashville
1. Exposing ourselves to agricultural education throughout the nation: Agriculture is truly a global industry. You do not always need a passport to see these differences. The agriculture industry, and therefore agricultural education, looks different in TN than it does in PA. This trip allows us to see these differences so that we may feel prepared to teach in any location we choose after graduation.

2. Expanding our professional network: We had the pleasure of meeting several wonderful individuals during this trip. Each one was open to future questions and advice. It is never to early to make connections throughout the nation.

3. Connecting OUR classroom content to concrete experiences: Agricultural Education is always hands on, but in teacher education it is hard to have these hands on experiences before we student teach. This trip gave us the opportunity to work with hundreds of different students with numerous backgrounds in a very short period of time. Also, we were able to apply educational theory that we learned in our own classes. One example was Kolb's Experiential Learning Theory. We had our concrete experiences during the trip, every day we reflected and learned from the experience, and tried to implement what we learned the next day. This trip provided a glimpse into the life of a teacher
Grand Ole Opry

4. Grow as a cohort: There is no better way to get to know someone than by spending a whole week with them in hotels and rode trip in a van. With all the experiences we have as ag ed majors, our fellow students start to feel like our family. This trip is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with some of our best friends.

In conclusion, the 2016 Teach Ag Society Domestic Study Away was one for the record books. We could not have done this trip without the help of our 4 continued sponsors: The PSU Center for Professional and Personnel Development in Agricultural Education, the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, the University Park Allocation Committee, and most importantly, the CHS Foundation. I would also like to thank Dr. Billye Foster, Dr. Chaney Moslty, Dr. Kris Elliot, Ms. Beverly Flatt, the Tennessee Farm Bureau, and all of our other partners. Without their support, this trip would not have been possible. Here’s to the bright future of Agricultural Education!

Here is short fun video I made of our experience and the "Cascarones" experience we culminated with:

We are excited to begin planning our 2017 experience to Wisconsin. This will be lead by our co-chairs, Heather Wasson (hlw5145) and Rose Cowan (rvc5334). If you are interested in partnering with us in 2017 or would like to be considered as a 2018 destination, please contact the student chairs or our adviser, Dr. Daniel Foster, @FosterDanielD,

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.

Nate Repetz

2016 Teach Ag! Society Domestic Study Away Chairman

2017 Student Teacher

Monday, May 23, 2016

7th Annual Teach Ag! Essay Contest – Finalist Announcement!

The time has come to announce the 4 finalists of the 7th Annual Teach Ag! Essay Contest! This year we had 52 participants from 22 different schools from across the state!

The Penn State Teach Ag! Essay Contest is an awesome opportunity for Ag students from across Pennsylvania to experience what it is like being an Ag teacher for a day. Students must pick an agriculture topic, develop a lesson plan and teach their class, and then write an essay answering the questions, “Why teach Ag?” and “What I learned as an Ag teacher for a day!” Students also have the option to create and submit a YouTube video about “why they would want to teach Ag” or “why they love their agriculture teacher.”

This event was created to promote an awareness of the national shortage of agricultural educators, and it has the ability to spark the interest of secondary agriculture students to become Ag Teachers. In addition to allowing students to explore the career of agricultural education, there are also some neat prizes for participating!

Each contestant receives a limited edition PSU Teach Ag! T-shirt and is invited to attend an ice cream social in their honor after the opening session of the State FFA Convention. In addition, the top four each receive a gift card for National FFA, and the first place winner also receives a free registration for a 2016 FFA Event of their choosing! 

And now, in no particular order, it is our pleasure to announce the top four finalists of the Teach Ag! Essay Contest:

Alaina Davis – Octorara Area High School

Agriscience Teacher: Ms. Jenna Moser

Thomas Gabel – Newport High School
Agriscience Teacher: Ms. Natalie Barkley

KamiLee Woodring – Bald Eagle Area High School
Agriscience Teacher: Mr. Todd Biddle

Bethany Comp – Greenwood
Agriscience Teacher: Mr. Michael Clark

Congratulations to the top four and all participants! We will announce the winner of the contest during the opening session of the Pennsylvania FFA State Convention at Penn State! Congratulations once again!

Rosalind Cowan
2018 Agricultural Education Student Teacher
Twitter Handle: @cowan_rosalind