Thursday, August 22, 2013

Gaining Global Competency and Applied Research Skills: Bryanna Kenno's European Adventure

Study abroad group in the English Gardens in Munich, Germany
Bryanna Kenno, a junior at Penn State, was chosen to help Laura Rice (@laurasankeyrice) this summer with her Ph.D dissertation work in Sweden. She was recommended for the position by Dr. Foster, her adviser. Bryanna was eligible for the position because she is majoring in Agricultural Extension and Education with a minor in International Agriculture, as well her good grades and involvement in extracurricular activities. Bryanna fit the bill perfectly and was ready to travel to Europe.

To get to Europe, Bryanna traveled with a group of eight students and two adults from Penn State Altoona as they made their way to Germany for a short term study abroad experience. Bryanna arrived in Germany in early May to complete the short course study abroad, and then left the group to travel to Sweden by herself. Bryanna stayed in Sweden for about three weeks and said that that travel experience was definitely different, as she had to deal with delay or gate changes which can be scary in a foreign airport alone.

Group representing Penn State at the Ritter Sport factory in Waldenbuch, Germany
When she was in Germany with the Altoona group, the study abroad class focused on agricultural production systems. The class got to tour three dairy farms, the Ritter-Sport chocolate factory, a brewery, a winery and vineyard, a German McDonald’s, and the Viktualien Market in Munich. Sweden didn't have as many sightseeing opportunities but Bryanna spent a few days exploring the city of Uppsala then joined Laura to tour the Viking Burial Grounds. She and Laura also went to the coast of the Baltic Sea with a couple that Laura had met at the University.

Besides traveling across Europe, Bryanna also did some work while she was there. Bryanna helped Laura research effective instruction in post-secondary agriculture courses, specifically working to develop operational definitions of teaching practices of award winning agricultural educators at Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences ( She accompanied Laura to interviews with faculty, entered data into spreadsheets and completed a review of literature. Bryanna was able to work with faculty members and students of the college.
Viking Burial Grounds in Gamla Uppsala, Sweden. Grounds date back to the 1500's and Vikings were usually cremated and buried in a tomb underneath the mounds. 
With a more globalized view on agriculture, Bryanna said that the traveling she did and her research experience has impacted her as a future educator in numerous ways. She had the opportunity to experience agricultural systems in Germany and interact and discuss agriculture with students her age from both countries --- students from Hohenheim University in Germany and students from SLU in Sweden. When she got home she felt a sense of reassurance and knew that entering the field of agricultural education was the right decision. In both Germany and Sweden their secondary schools don’t have agricultural education classes and the students that Bryanna met were amazed that so many American high schools offer agricultural programs. This made her appreciate agricultural programs and FFA in a whole new way. “I also knew that I made a great decision by conducting undergraduate research involving agricultural education because the field means so much to me. I want to leave a lasting impact on my future students and all of my experiences in Europe will allow me to do this.”

Bryanna starts undergraduate research in the fall that will partially stem off of Laura’s work from this summer. She will be researching how student’s evaluations of classes in the College of Agricultural Sciences affect the way professors teach the classes in the future.

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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