Tuesday, October 30, 2012

McCollum, AEE Senior and 2013 Student Teacher, excited to make impact at Central Columbia

Although she grew up on a farm, Mackenzie McCollum only enrolled in one agriculture class throughout her entire high school career. That class, during her senior year, made her think twice about her future career path when making decisions about what to study in college. Mackenzie began her career at Penn State by studying Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences; however, she soon changed her mind, and switched her major to Agricultural and Extension Education. “Although I didn’t take the traditional path as most AEE students do, including being and active high school FFA member, I feel this has given me a unique perspective on agricultural education and the importance of FFA, the intra-curricular student organization affiliated with agricultural education program. I changed my major because I love to teach, and the diversity found in agricultural education creates endless opportunities.”  

Mackenzie’s minor is in International Agriculture. Mackenzie will graduate from Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences in May with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Agricultural and Extension Education, a Pennsylvania teaching certification, and a set of experiences and resources that will enable her to feel confident in taking on the real world.  Before graduating in May, Mackenzie Mccollum, will venture off to complete her last major task as a Penn State undergraduate. She will engage in her student teaching internship for 13 weeks this coming spring semester. She will be guiding students in grades 9-12 in the agricultural department at Central Columbia High School in Columbia County, PA. Central Columbia has a three teacher agriculture program with two teachers at the high school level and one at the middle school level.

To prepare for student teaching, Mackenzie is engaged in the classroom, learning about various teaching strategies, classroom management, and the different modalities of learning. She is also gearing up for student teaching by delivering lesson plans each week  in her contextual learning laboratory and is vigorously writing lesson plans, all while keeping in constant contact with her cooperating teacher, Mr. Doug Brown.

Mackenzie says “The program I will be student teaching in focuses heavily on agri-science and agricultural mechanics. In the classroom, they place a lot of emphasis on agronomy, forestry, wildlife, and animal sciences.” While at Central Columbia, Mackenzie will be teaching over eight units of instruction, including but not limited to: Plumbing, Introduction to Electricity, Food Science, FFA Leadership, and Woodworking. She claims, “I am most excited about interacting with the students on a daily basis, just being able to teach in a real classroom setting, and being involved with FFA as an advisor. Without a strong background in agricultural mechanics, I feel a little anxious about teaching so many courses related to that topic, but feel that Penn State has done a really great job to prepare me for my student teaching.” Mackenzie is also excited about traveling to National FFA Convention this October with the Central Columbia FFA Chapter. She will be provided with a great amount of experiences to best assimilate what it’s really like to be in the profession of teaching agricultural education.

Along with Mackenzie, there are 13 agricultural and extension education students that will be student teaching this coming spring at high schools across the state of Pennsylvania. Their mission is to improve agricultural literacy and teach about the many facets of agriculture and the important role the industry plays in our everyday life. They will be a mentor and advisor to many students, teaching many life skills, while learning many valuable lessons as students themselves. Throughout their student teaching experiences and beyond graduation, these students will be supported with many professional development opportunities offered by the Center for Professional Personnel Development.

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes positive impact on the lives of students across the globe tby becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/PSUTeachAg, or on our blog at http://teachagpsu.blogspot.com

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