Saturday, June 8, 2013

Two National Teach Ag Ambassadors for Consecutive Years! WE ARE...PENN STATE!

Meagan and Jillian at National Convention,
 one could say they are passionate for FFA

Two Penn State students were chosen to be Teach Ag Ambassadors for National FFA, for the second year in a row! Meagan Slates and Jillian Gordon are two out of 11 students across the country that will be talking to high school students at the National FFA Convention about majoring in agricultural education.

The purpose of the campaign is to increase awareness of the need for more agricultural teachers. Their is a critical shortage of teachers across the nation, a crisis that has been acknowledged in public comment by both the USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and the USDE Secretary Arne Duncan. In the next three years, there are more than 700 agricultural teachers expected to retire. There are also new programs opening up that are in need of teachers to fill their positions. Every student deserves the opportunity to be engaged in a outstanding agricultural education program and the agriscience teacher is the most important element to the success of a secondary agricultural education  program. More information about the Teach Ag Campaign can be found at their website.

Applicants submitted an application, resume, references and an essay on their desire to be a National Teach Ag Ambassador. The next step involved a phone interview. The ideal candidates are friendly or easy to talk to and have a passion for agricultural education. Their duties include attending the nation’s largest annual gathering of students, National FFA Convention, and staffing the National Teach Ag booth in the National FFA Career Expo where more than 54,000 students, teachers, school administrators, former FFA members and guests tour the More than 350 exhibitors at the Expo. In addition, all the ambassadors will be paired with an agriculture teacher as a mentor who will help and guide them to plan, prepare and present an agriculture lesson at a Louisville area middle school, a great field teaching experience! Other opportunities or duties could be assigned as they arise!

Meagan Slates is a senior and going to student teach in spring 2014
Meagan Slates believes that AEE majors in college have the opportunity to pay it forward by really connecting with high school students and get them thinking about life after high school and the best major out there – agricultural education.  Meagan feels honored to be a part of the National Teach Ag Campaign. She highly enjoys interacting and teaching students. Her goal is to have every student that walks by the booth at national convention to at least consider the amazing career of  teaching agriculture. Meagan thinks this position will be a huge learning experience for her. It is bigger than anything that she has ever experienced as an educator. As a girl that does not typically leave the state of Pennsylvania, this position is out of Meagan’s comfort zone, but she looks forward to the challenge. Meagan went with the PSU Teach Ag Society to Arizona to visit agricultural educational programs and learned that there is so much more out there and so many programs to be involved in. Being involved in the Campaign will help her to become a better leader and educator. 

Jillian Gordon is a junior and will be student teaching in spring 2015
Jillian Gordon is a veteran Teach Ag Ambassador. She had to re-apply the same as everyone else and made the cut again. She really enjoyed her first year as a Teach Ag Ambassador and with a year of experience under her, she will be able to take full advantage of the opportunity.  Jill is excited to have the chance to connect with other NAAE (National Association of Agricultural Educators) members around the country. It is important as an agricultural educator to network as much as possible in order to gain experience and become the best agricultural teacher she can be for her future students.  Jill said the position will be very similar to last year, although the structure of the program has changed since last year. The booth will be all new this year and they will receive a workshop day, so they really understand the purpose of the National Teach Ag campaign.

I know Meagan and Jillian will represent Penn State and our agricultural education program well. With Penn State2 again, I hope it really becomes a continuing tradition to always have PSU students involved. Heather Pray, a girl that was a Teach Ag Ambassador last year with Jill, recently graduated this spring and is looking to go into working with youth through 4-H. 

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

Jeanne Case
Student Blogger
2014 Dover HS Student Teacher
Twitter: JRose_Case

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