Wednesday, October 9, 2013

8 Students in Agricultural Education at Penn State Receive High National FFA Award!

Every year there is a degree awarded to only .5% of FFA members. The students have shown their passion and commitment to FFA and have worked hard on their Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE).This prestigious degree is the AMERICAN DEGREE which is awarded every year at the National FFA Convention. Some of the qualifications include taking a certain amount of agricultural classes in college or high school, being within the time span between high school graduation and three years thereafter, maintaining high-quality grades, and working or investing a certain monetary equivalent towards their projects.  

This year, Pennsylvania has 74 American Degree Recipients, whom will be receiving their degrees this October in Louisville, KY. Eight of those recipients are current Agricultural Education Majors at Penn State!

Kate showing her Market Steer


Kate Livingston, a 2014 student teacher, completed her American Degree based on her projects titled Market Swine, Market Sheep and Market Steer. After she raised all three animals, she showed them at the York County Fair in September.  Kate said that her SAE exposed her to new experiences stating, “Having no prior knowledge before taking on the SAE, I made a number of connections for help and support during my first few years. This has given me the “go get it” attitude to be able to utilize a vast variety of resources and make connections.” She believes that the resources and connections she has made along the way because of her SAE projects will give her future students an advantage to additional opportunities outside of the standard curriculum.

Deanna Miller, a 2015 student teacher, partook in SAE projects titled Vegetable and Egg Production.  She grew tomatoes, potatoes, string beans, broccoli, peppers, cauliflower, squash, zucchini, and watermelons in her 2500 square foot garden. She would freeze the vegetables to use later and market them to friends and family, but most of the time she just gave it away to whoever could use it. For the Egg Production SAE she raised white leghorns and Rhode Island Reds averaging about 40 hens at a time. Deanna raised the hens from chicks herself and then kept them as laying hens.  She said that as a future educator, having an American FFA Degree is just one more thing to encourage students to keep working towards their goals. The degree also portrays her hard work and dedication, since it is admirable toward employers in a variety of agricultural fields.  

Bryanna Kenno, a 2015 Student Teacher, has an employment SAE, specifically as a sandwich artist at Subway. She worked at Subway part time for three years and it related to agriculture, as she was involved with food handling, preparation, and safety. Through receiving her American Degree, she has learned how to keep accurate records for SAE projects and will be able to help her future students do the same.

Rachel Telez, a 2015 student teacher, had a variety of SAE projects as well. She completed Entrepreneurship Goat Production, Goat Finishing, Beef finishing, Swine Finishing, Sheep Finishing and Exploratory: Vet. She raised all the animals and showed the goats at the county fair and at the state farm show. Rachel worked towards the star award in her goat breeding herd. When she worked at the veterinary office, she learned time management, experienced working with others, and developed a better sense of her career trajectory. For the market goats, she started with just one goat and ended up with over 40 breeding does! She learned time management, responsibility, and marketing. Rachel used her other livestock projects to learn how to manage money, so she could pay for college. She said that “by obtaining my American Degree, I can encourage my future students to do so as well. She added, “It has created a burning passion for agriculture in me, and I cannot wait to share it with my future classroom!”

Kelsey and her pleasure horse, Chance


Kelsey Henry, a 2016 Student Teacher, completed two SAE’s – Goat Finishing Entrepreneurship and Pleasure Horse Entrepreneurship. For the goat finishing project, she raised goats to exhibit in a market goat class at the Perry County Fair. For her first year she started with one goat, but ended up with having three by the end of her project. For the pleasure horse project, she recorded the daily activities of taking care of a horse and kept track of all the shows that she went to with her horse Chance.  She believes that getting her American Degree has helped her learn the importance of keeping accurate records on projects.  It also showed her to push her future students to work hard and reach their goals.

Olivia Murphey- Sweet, a 2016 Student Teacher, got her American FFA Degree by completing an On Farm Employment SAE project. Every summer since she was in high school, she would travel to Camp Friendship in Palmyra, Virginia for ten weeks. There she would teach the campers English horseback riding lessons and horse care. She met staff from around the world and learned different teaching techniques from them. “If you can enjoy meeting the teaching challenges of young girls who have never been away from home, never rode a horse, or be responsible for an activity that could not be left unattended, you can teach anywhere.” Through working at the camp every summer and completing this SAE, she has realized that she wanted to get an Agricultural Education Degree.
Olivia with some of the campers at Camp Friendship

Janae as Lancaster Dairy Princess

Janae Herr, a 2016 Student teacher, had a plethora of SAE projects which helped her work towards reaching her goal of receiving the American Degree. Her SAE’s consisted of Dairy Beef Finishing, Beef Finishing, Market Lamb Finishing, On-Farm Employment, Off-Farm Employment and Practicum Skills – Dairy Promotion.  Janae felt that applying for the American Degree was a very rewarding experience for her, since she got to reflect back on her FFA career as a whole and receive one of the highest honors in the FFA organization.  FFA is a huge part of who she is today, as it helped her to develop her leadership, teamwork and communication skills. She also formed friendships that will last a lifetime and jump started her passion for future involvement in the agricultural industry. As she looks forwards  eventually teaching down the road, she hopes to return to the classroom to be an FFA adviser and give back to the organization that has given so much to her.

Elizabeth Lauver, a student at Penn State Harrisburg, will be awarded the American Degree Award as well at National FFA Convention. This is a shout out to highlight some of the success of the students in the Penn State Agricultural Education program!

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 teachag@psu.edu. 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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