Thursday, August 22, 2013

Getting my intern on with Pennsylvania Farm Bureau!!

In front of the White House in DC
Hello everyone, I am Jeanne Case, 2014 student teacher and the 2013 Student Teach Ag! Blogger. This summer in addition to blogging and taking a summer English class, I was an intern at the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau for the Friends of Agriculture Foundation. I worked with the non-profit educational part of the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau and had lots of projects such as developing the take home activity for Ag Progress Days and the game that the kids played on-site. I also helped out with the FACE youth conference which I posted a blog about earlier in the summer; Greg Peterson was the keynote speaker and talked about advocating for agriculture.

Agriculture in the Classroom was the other major conference that I helped run this summer at Penn State.  In addition to the projects with the Foundation I also got experience in the Member Relations Division. Attending the membership kick-off conference, working membership in my County and traveling around Adams County with a Regional Organization Director (ROD), kept me busy.  I was able to travel to Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg to see what our lobbyists do, as well as attend the Policy Development Kickoff meeting and the Commodity meetings with the third division, Government Relations.

A student at FACE conference
 giving a thumbs up
The FACE (Fueling Agriculture and Cultivating Excellence) conference was easily my favorite week at Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, even while working 27 hours of over-time! It was great to watch the students come in shy on Monday, then not want to leave all the friends they had made  when it was time for them to depart on Friday.  I was in charge of the Swine Commodity group with Brittany Courson, the Regional Organization Director. Our group was responsible for making a video and Facebook page to advocate for the swine industry. The students gained a new perspective; they do not typically need to explain the importance of their industry. The students also had to write bills to send in to the FACE version of the House of Representatives where they were discussed.

Some of the female employees at the FACE conference
The students in my group kept asking me where I was going to be student teaching and looked sad when I said Dover High School; none of them go there. I asked them for tips on how to be a good student teacher and they said to not make my students feel dumb. The students said it’s not good for the student teacher to talk over their heads and then get frustrated when the students don’t understand the lesson because the student teacher isn't explaining it well. I am also supposed to be strict…but not too strict, and BE EXCITING! If I don’t move around the classroom and instead just stay in one spot and am really boring the students won’t pay attention and will fall asleep. It was really great to hear that from a student’s perspective as I will try my best to not be boring in the classroom!

Attendees and volunteers at AITC
AITC, Agriculture in the Classroom is a conference for teachers to attend to get graduate program and/or ACT 48 credits. It is a whole week focused on different aspects of agriculture ranging from mushrooms, to livestock, to trees, gardens and bio-energy, to name a few. Teachers from across the state attend, teaching a variety of subjects and ages. This was a super great experience, to be able to meet such as diversity of teachers. A math teacher told me to incorporate music into my classroom, for instance to not call on someone until a song or music clip is done so the students will have more opportunity to think and form an answer. Or to have a sound clip on almost every slide to act as an attention grabber and make the students pay closer attention to what is on a screen. Music can also be used as a reward if the students are working well on something – and it can be taken away as a punishment.

When I traveled around with Owen Weikert, the Region 3 Regional Organization Director, all day in Adams County, I saw a lot of aspects of agriculture that I was not previously knowledgeable about. I was able to tour an apple orchard.  This orchard provides most of the apple tree starts on the east coast, stretching even to Michigan. I had no clue that you could not plant apple seeds and that you had to graft the variety you wanted on root stock. My student teaching school students have an apple judging day;  it is good that I will at least have a little background knowledge! I also got to tour a dairy farm and see their milking parlor, as well as look at Mason Dixon Dairy. During the meeting in the evening I got to meet a lot of farmers in the area and even met a woman who writes about agriculture for different publications; I am sure she will be a very good contact in the future.

Interns with a PSU Alumni
Pennsylvania Farm Bureau also treated their interns very well. One benefit was to spend a night in Washington, DC. While we were there we met with all of our congressmen as well as a senior policy person in the senate, (who is a Penn State Ag Sciences Alumna). Going to all the meetings we walked  or rode trains in tunnels underneath the buildings, even to the capital, making it very hard to keep my bearings. I know that I would not have ever been able to experience anything like this if it wasn't for PFB. To wrap up the trip we went to the American Farm Bureau office and got a tour of their facilities and met a lot of important people. Unfortunately their internships are not paid, but even so, that still may be a great experience/opportunity for next summer!

Interns on the Capitol steps in Harrisburg
Harrisburg was great to see, as so many of the governmental  issues that directly affect our farmers begin there. We got to meet another Penn State College of Ag Science alumni who helps to make sure the voting members know about agriculture. We talked about her position and the different issues she deals with on a daily basis. It was also great to just tour the capitol since I had not been there since 4th grade and it truly is a beautiful building, something that Pennsylvania should definitely be proud of. 

All in all this was a great internship experience. I went into it thinking that I knew what to expect as I have known multiple people who had gone through the program before, but it really reached above and beyond those expectations. The experience I got, and the connections I made are truly irreplaceable. Everyone that I worked with was really helpful and wanted to watch us interns succeed in our lives. I know that they are sad to see us leave, but also happy that there are three women that are just starting to enter the workforce with a strong passion for agriculture.
Interns in front of the building. Thank you PFB!
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

1 comment:

  1. Jeanne,
    How is student teaching going? Are you being the room roving, exciting, non-dumb feeling, and music playing teacher that you said you want to be? For the first time ever, I have to team teach with a special education teacher. Being a teacher means that you are always a student. Remember if you are not having fun, then neither are your students.
    Best Wishes,
    Tina Argot
    Math Teacher