Monday, August 26, 2013

Janae Herr as a National Collegiate Ag Ambassador

Janae Herr, a sophomore at Penn State, heard a lot about the National FFA Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador Program from Jill Gordon (2015 Student Teacher; @jillianpsu) and Dr. Foster (@FosterDanielD) as they flew to Arizona at the beginning of the summer for the domestic study tour of Agricultural Education programs in other states (Written about here:

Group picture outside of the Syngenta Crop Lab
After what seemed like the blink of an eye, Dr. Foster made plans for her to present to class of secondary Navajo students in Arizona and had her fill out the application for the Collegiate Ag Ambassador position on his iPad while they were on the trip. The application consisted of her resume, five short essay questions and a five minute YouTube video of her presenting to an audience, which she did at the Monument Valley High School where she gave the 10th grade Vet. Science class a lesson on why they should teach agriculture. After hearing back from National FFA, Janae was booking plane tickets and heading down to Greensboro, North Carolina!

Syngenta's new Greenhouse/ Crop Lab
they toured
In North Carolina, Janae was joined by 19 other Ag Ambassadors from across the nation. The National FFA Collegiate Agricultural Ambassador team has three corporate sponsors – Syngenta, BASF, and CSX. Syngenta’s headquarters are in Greensboro, NC which is where their training was held during the week.  The Ag Ambassadors four days of training included a lot of logistical discussions, greetings, presentations and networking from and with Syngenta staff. The ambassadors also had tours of Syngenta facilities, team-building activities and rigorous facilitation training from the National FFA staff. Despite all the hard work the Ambassadors had to put in, they still took a little downtime to watch the hometown Greensboro Grasshoppers play baseball.

As an Ambassador, Janae has to complete 30 hours of presentation time. The presentations can involve any part of the agricultural industry and to audiences of any demographic. During the training, the ambassadors were given some lesson plans to use in the presentation. The lesson plans had topics ranging from Food Safety to Advocating for Agriculture or Dairy to GMO’s as starters but they were also asked to design some of their own lessons to share with their teammates at the winter training in Jacksonville, FL with CSX. Janae is excited about getting started because she wants to positively reflect “an industry that has a very important story to tell.”

Syngenta employee round table discussion
about all things agriculture
Looking forward, Janae is excited for not only the professional development and networking opportunities that the team provides but also how this experience will make her a better advocate for the agricultural industry. She is thankful for all the resources that she has been given, which will help her out as she continues to peruse a career in Agricultural Education. Janae said that “that week in Greensboro was a fantastic and refreshing reminder to never stop desiring to learn new things”. She was also very happy to have walked away from the experience with 19 new friends and a lot more information about the agricultural industry!

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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