Monday, April 28, 2014

Celebrating the 17 Positive Agents of Change from #PSUaged14

Our Seventeen 2014 Penn State Agricultural Education Student Teachers have returned from their fifteen week internship in secondary schools across Pennsylvania.
2014 PSU Teacher Candidates

Below is a profile of this group:
  • Taught 104 different classes to students from 7th to 12th grades that are 42 minute periods to 90 minute “block” periods in length.
  • Delivered 222 units of instruction on topics from leadership development, agricultural mechanics, environmental sciences, plant sciences, animal sciences and much more!
  • Impacted the lives of 1,802 individual students
  • Has Earned (or will earn) a degrees 7 areas: 
    • Agricultural & Extension Education (B.S.); Agricultural & Extension Education (M.Ed.); Animal Science (B.S.); Business Administration (A.S.); Business Administration (M.S.)Environmental Resource Management (B.S.); Veterinary Science (A.S.)
  • Obtained 10 Minors/areas of emphasis: 
    • Agricultural Business; Agronomy; Animal Science; Food Science; Environmental Science; Horticulture; International Agriculture; Spanish; Sustainability Leadership; Recreation, Parks, Tourism & Management
  • Has 1 Schreyer’s Honor Scholar
  • Studied abroad in 7 countries, including: 
    • Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Costa Rica, Korea; United Kingdom, Thailand
  • Will have members who are Pennsylvania Certified (with reciprocity in more than 40 states ) in the following 5 areas: 
    • Agriscience K-12; Biology; Environmental Science; General Science, Spanish
  • Earned 18 different Additional Certifications/Accreditation/Licensures, including(listed alphabetically): 
    • Accredited Parliamentarians from the Society of Agricultural Education Parliamentarians; First Aid/CPR/AED Certification; Beef Quality Assurance; Bovine and Swine Artificial Insemination; Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) Principles of Plant Science (ASP) Instructor (Summer 2014); Engineering and Community Engagement Certification; Explore Bowhunt; Keystone Aquatics Resource (Project Aquatics);Food Science ServSafe Certification; National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Instructors ; Occupational, Safety and Health Administration Certificate; Pennsylvania Song Birds curriculum; Pennsylvania Wildlife Forensics curriculum; Pennsylvania Amphibians and Reptiles curriculum; Pesticide Applicators License; Project Food, Land & People curriculum; Project Learning Tree; Project WILD curriculum; White Tail Deer Wasting Disease Sample Collector 
  • Involved in 31 professional organizations, including(listed alphabetically):
    • Agriculture Student Council, Penn State; Alpha Tau Alpha, National Agricultural Education Honorary; American Angus Association; American National Cattlewomen; American Shorthorn Association; Association of Career & Technical Education; Block & Bridle, Penn State; Coaly Honors Society, Penn State; Collegiate FFA , Penn State; Delta Theta Sigma; Gamma Sigma Delta; Graduate Student Association, AEE, Penn State; Kappa Sigma; National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE); National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA); National Veterinary Assistant Technicians Association (NVATA); National FFA Alumni; Pennsylvania Angus Association; Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators (PAEE) ; Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators (PAAE); Pennsylvania Cattlewomen; Pennsylvania Farm Bureau; Pennsylvania FFA Alumni; Pennsylvania Holstein Association; Pennsylvania Young Farmers Association; Phi Kappa Phi; Phi Theta; Pork Quality Assurance; Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Sorority; Teach Ag! Society, Penn State; York Fair Livestock Board
  • Gained experience or have been employed with 28 different relevant jobs/Internships including (listed alphabetically):
    • AgChoice Farm Credit; AmeriCorps; Belgian Olympic Rider Groom/Intern; Beef Cow/Calf Independent operator; Camp Woodward – Trail Guide; College of Agricultural Science Academic Programs Office; College of Agricultural Sciences Office of International Programs; Country View Family farms Summer Intern; Destiny Lavender Farms; DuPont Pioneer; Equestrian Instructor; Family Farm; Liberty Mountain Resort; Michaels Arts & Crafts – Floral Designer; New Holland Agriculture; North Carolina Cooperating Extension Service Field Faculty – Livestock and Water; Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture; Pennsylvania Farm Bureau – Friends of Ag Foundation Intern; Pennsylvania Farm Bureau – Governmental Affairs and Communications Intern; Stormbreak Girls Youth Home; Penn State Extension – Franklin County; Penn State Extension – Fayette County; Penn State Extension – Mifflin/Juniata County; Penn State Extension – Union County; Penn State Extension – York County; Planville Farms; Shavers Creek Environmental Education Intern; Tack Shop Manager; Wallace & Pancer, Inc. Environmental Science Intern
You can also learn more about them from their 2014 Student Showcase found here: 

Last Updated on April 27, 2015

To learn more bout their specific student teaching experiences, check out their professional blogs and follow them on Twitter:

Jeanne Case (@J__Case) - Current Position: Agriscience Teacher, Bigfoot HS, Wisconsin

Quinn Cashell (@QCashell) - Current Position: Agriscience Teacher, Oakdale HS, Maryland

Tyler Cremeans (@TCmeansAgEd14) - Current Position: Agriscience Teacher, Woodbury HS, Connecticut

Casandra Foster (@Foster_casandra) - Current Position: Long Term Substitute

Allison Hoover (@allihoov) - Current Position: AgriCorp Volunteer, Ghana

Valerie Laub (@VLaub) - Current Position: Vet Technician

Kate Livingston (@klivingston13) - Current Position: Animal Welfare Officer, Plainwell

Todd McMillen (@ToddMcMillen1) - Current Position: Family Farm, Dupont/Pioneer

Mike Petrun (@PetrunMichaelG) - Current Position:  Agriscience Teacher, New Hampshire

Brittany Rigg (@BrittanyRigg10) - Current Position: Pre-K Learning Assistant

Jessie Ross (@JessieLeeRoss) - Current Position: Agriscience Teacher, Savage, Montana

Sean Scanlon (@cowboy4real1) - Current Position: Self-Employed

Meagan Slates (@Meagan_PSU) - Current Position: Agriscience Teacher, Penn Manor, PA

Annette Sprenkel (@AnnetteSnook) - Current Position: Agriscience Teacher, Mifflin County CTC, PA

Mindy Stoops (@irvinemindy) - Position: Agriscience Teacher, Clarion-Limestone, PA

Emily Urban (@EmilyR_Urban) - http://discoveringaged.blogspot.comCurrent Position: Graduate Student, Georgia

Caleb Wright (@thewrightcaleb) Current Position: Agriscience Teacher, Garden Spot HS, PA

Monday, April 21, 2014

Doug Masser (@MasserD), #psuaged12: New Agriscience Teacher at Pequea Valley!

Doug Masser, new teacher at Pequea Valley!  
Doug Masser (@MasserD), a 2012 Penn State honors graduate, has been busy since leaving Penn State! He will complete his Master of Science in Agriculture Education at the University of Idaho in the summer 0f 2014 with research focusing on describing agriculture program supporters and their roles in agriculture education programs, effective teaching strategies and coaching behaviors of CDE coaches. His activity caught the eye of Pequea Valley High School and their current senior agriscence teacher, Mr. Clair Witwer enough to hire Doug to be a part of their agriscience team for the next school year!

Doug has always been interested in agriculture. Growing up in Pitman, PA (located in Schuylkill County), he helped a lot on his family’s fruit and vegetable farm. Whether he was on the farm or out in the woods exploring the ponds, trees, and streams near his house, it made him develop a sincere passion for agriculture. He attended Tri-Valley Jr/Sr. High School where he met one of his mentors, Gretchen Dingman, a Penn Sate AEE Alum, who was his agriculture teacher for 5 years. After completing high school, he knew that he wanted to go to school for Agriculture Extension and Education. “ I believe that agricultural education provides the best model for teaching students and from my experiences, nothing is more rewarding than watching your students grow professionally, as leaders, and personally and lead successful lives. It is because of the great students I will get to work with that makes me excited to teach ag!” 
Doug at a teacher conference with
other great PA Teachers!

Clair Witwer (the current teacher at Pequea Valley) is excited on adding on a second teacher to their Ag Science and Technology Department. Mr. Witwer stated, "I am very excited to have someone of Doug's caliber coming to Pequea Valley. I have been a single teacher department for most of my career and I am looking forward to having someone to help. As we entered into the interviews, we were looking for someone who shared the philosophy of the department and the district. As we went through that process, it became very obvious that Doug was the fit we were looking for." 

Pequea Valley currently has 135 students studying agriscience, but the addition of the new teacher, plus new courses that they will be able to provide, will increase their numbers to 300 students! Pequea Valley also has been awarded as Distinguished School from Apple. 

Doug is excited to have a school that focuses on Agriscience and Agricultural Mechanics. Since they are both different topics, they can bring in a variety of students to be a part of their program. Doug states, “He has done a tremendous job building the program there, and together we both can continue growing the program and including new classes. I am excited to work with Clair on expanding the Agriscience Fair participation of our students and to infuse my strengths in plant science and leadership into the program.”
As far as their facilities go, they have a 24X40 greenhouse, two agriscience classrooms equipped with the hoods, water, gas, etc., to conduct hands on labs in many classes, they have a huge agricultural mechanics laboratory, and an area for aquaculture! Doug has endless possibilities that he can take advantage of because of what the school has to offer!

Doug at the University of Idaho!
Through everything , Doug remembers Penn State as his beginning point in his educational career. "Penn State provided me with the opportunities to become an effective teacher. Whether it was formal classes, workshops, or Ag Teacher conferences, the teacher educators at Penn State (Dr. Foster, Dr. Ewing, and Laura Sankey Rice) modeled what it means to be a great teacher. They also inspired me to work hard to make a difference in the lives of students. I know that the skills and experiences I gained at Penn State prepared me to be a successful agriculture teacher."
Doug’s Penn State and University of Idaho family wish him well as he starts another milestone in his life! In the future we hope to check back in with him and see how much he has progressed at Pequea Valley High School. Congratulations Doug Masser!

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!

Olivia Murphy-Sweet

Student Blogger
Teach Ag! Avenger

Twitter Handle @OSweetMurph
2016 Agricultural Education Student Teacher 

Neil Fellenbaum, 2000 PSU Alumnus: Outstanding Secondary Educator!

Mr. Neil Fellenbaum,
Penn Manor High School Agriculture Educator
Agriculture Educators are making a difference in the lives of students all over the nation. One Pennsylvania Ag Teacher is being recognized for his dedication and hard work during the recent school year. Mr. Neil Fellenbaum (@NeilFell), the agriculture educator at Penn Manor High School and 2000 alumnus of Penn State AEE, will be receiving the Penn Manor School District Outstanding Secondary Educator Award! This award is based on nominations which are then reviewed by Penn Manor Administration and the school board.

Mr. Fellenbaum is from Washington Boro, PA and attended Penn Manor High School where he has been teaching for the past 14 years. The 1800 student high school is located in Millersville, PA. in western Lancaster County. Mr. Fellenbaum stated that “the Agriculture students are driven and interested to learn, and the administration, advisory committee and community are extremely supportive.” Penn Manor offers a variety of agriculture courses including agricultural science, horticulture, biotechnology, wildlife, agricultural mechanics, welding and many more.  

Mr. Fellenbaum and current FFA members!
The time and effort put into these classes and the students has great rewards. Mr. Fellenbaum stated that “the most rewarding part of teaching is seeing the positive changes that students make in their four years of high school.  I also enjoy seeing the look on the face of a student when they achieve a goal that they have set for themselves and the confidence that builds in them as a person.”

His words of wisdom for future agriculture educators are that “Agriculture Education is the place to be if you want to be involved in making students better people.”

Congratulations Mr. Neil Fellenbaum on receiving the 2013-2014 Penn Manor School District Outstanding Secondary Educator Award!

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!

Laura Metrick 
Student Blogger
2014 Ag Avenger

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

#TeachAg! Banquet: Special Guest Speaker coming to PSU! Tara Berescik, 2013-14 ACTE Teacher of Year

Tara Berescik
It is that time of year again where the birds are chirping, the sun is out, and banquet season is among us! For most FFA chapters, there is a banquet once a year to recognize student and chapter success. Students in the Agriculture Education major took it upon themselves to hold a banquet to recognize our student teachers, clubs, and our college success.

The banquet has been in the planning process for a while and we are proud to say that there are a ton of new and exciting things that will be happening! For starters, we all know that the student teachers get an awesome gift, there will be a photo booth with tons of props that people can use in the pictures, as well as a special guest speaker that will be coming to give a speech! You may have heard of her as the ACTE Teacher of the Year or a recipient for the NAAE Teacher mentor award, but she is one of the finest teachers in the business! Tara Berescik, Tri-Valley Central School teacher in New York, is coming to this year’s banquet!

Tara has been teaching agriculture for 11 years and has been an influence on many people’s lives. Every person that she meets she always makes sure to leave a lasting impression. After talking to Tara more, she told me how excited she is to come to the banquet! “I'm excited to get to see Penn State since I have never been there before and I have lots of Ag Teacher friends who have graduated from the school and say wonderful things,” she explained. Her presence at the banquet will be one to remember!

If you would like to come to the banquet, you must RSVP by April 14th! The banquet will be held on the April 29th at the Mount Nittany Middle School. If you have any problems or questions, feel free to contact Deanna Miller at,
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!

Olivia Murphy-Sweet
Student Blogger
Teach Ag! Avenger

Twitter Handle @OSweetMurph
2016 Agricultural Education Student Teacher 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Teach Ag Avenger Spotlight: Rea Ianson, #psuaged15

Rea Ianson
2014 Teach Ag! Avenger
The Teach Ag Avenger we are shining the spotlight on this month is Rea Ianson! Rea (@rnianson08) is a perfect example of a small town girl with big time dreams. She grew up on her family’s maple farm in Coudersport, PA where she has helped every year with the syrup production along with the beef cattle her family raises.

While attending Coudersport Jr. Sr. High School, Rea was involved in many things but nothing stole her heart as much as FFA. She was an active member and officer in the Spud Growers FFA Chapter. Her love for her family’s farm and her experiences in FFA began Rea’s journey in the agriculture industry. Along with being an AEE major, her time as an avenger have reassured Rea that Agriculture Education is the right path for her!

Rea’s favorite part of being an avenger is getting to promote something she is very passionate about and help others realize the infinite possibilities in agriculture. She also stated “I love the connections I have been able to make through this experience. I have met amazing leaders in FFA, incredible agriculture educators and students who are going to create a great future for this major!”

Rea and fellow Teach Ag! Avengers
Laura, Olivia & Howard
Along with the connections she has made with people in the public, Rea, a 2015 student teacher, values the relationships she has made with the other avengers throughout this year so far. “It’s great to go through this experience with other AEE students, we really have become like a family!”

Rea has participated in numerous events as an avenger and says the skills she is learning will benefit her future in so many ways. “I’m learning public speaking skills, communication skills and professional development all while recruiting and promoting this major!”

Rea’s future plans include becoming the best agriculture educator and FFA advisor she can be, raise a family of her own and living on her own maple farm!

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!

Laura Metrick
Student Blogger
2014 Teach Ag Avenger

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Checking in with 2014 Student Teacher Jeanne Case! #psuaged14

Jeanne Case, 2014 Student Teacher

Jeanne Case (JRose_Case), a 2014 student teacher has come a long way to get to where she is today! From her countless hands on experience with the blog, her internship at the PA Farm Bureau, her involvement with the College of Agriculture, and so many more, she can honestly say that it all has prepared her for this experience. Jeanne is under the watchful eye of Mrs. Barzydlo in Dover Area High School in York County. Her everyday interactions with the kids and her enthusiasm to teach has made everything worth it for her.

Students in her auto
shop class

When Jeanne first arrived she had a lot of experiences to prepare her for this position. She has dealt with so many different people that have been in her life it is easy for her to deal with difficult situations. She was a part of Delta Theta Sigma (an agriculture fraternity), multiple clubs including Teach Ag! Society and CFFA, and her internship with the PA Farm Bureau. With all of the people skills she attained she was able to apply them at her student teaching experience! Jeanne stated, “Some students "tested" me by turning a blow torch on when they were behind a box and I could only see them from shoulders up. I calmly told them "no, no, turn that off" and apparently I passed the test because I didn't freak out and start yelling at them. At least, that is what they told Mrs. B. I didn't think it was a big deal, growing up with farm friends and dealing with my fraternity brothers, it didn't really phase me.”  At least all of her life situations ended up in her benefit!

Students working in the
green house

Jeanne was surprised to learn how much she was interested in teaching subjects that she had no idea she would love! She found out that she actually has a knack for teaching horticulture, which was funny to her because she hated making those lesson plans! She had the “ah ha moment” when she realized that she actually learned a lot of horticulture and plant science from her parents when she was growing up!

 Jeanne also made sure to leave some advice for the future student teachers! Her senior fall picked up so quickly that she realized she had to get her “Moodles” and assignments done quickly to make sure to be ready with all the lesson plans she needed to get done. She also stated, “Go to your cooperating center with an open mind. I did not meet any of my students except for one before I started teaching. They turned out to be AWESOME! I am glad that I got to meet them when I started teaching because it has let us learn together”
Jeanne and some of the students!

 “My students make my student teaching experience, if we did not have such a good time together, teaching would not be worth it for me.” Jeanne Case is going to do great things in the future and we can’t wait to check back in and see where she is and what she has been up to! 

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!
Olivia Murphy-SweetStudent Blogger
Teach Ag! Avenger

Twitter Handle @OSweetMurph
2016 Agricultural Education Student Teacher 

#psuaged16, Janae Herr in Honduras!

Janae Herr, 2016 Student Teacher candidate
on her trip to Honduras!
“The world is a book, and those who do not travel only read one page.” Over spring break this year, Ag Ed major, Janae Herr, added a few more pages to her book. Janae, a 2016 student teacher candidate, had the privilege of visiting Zamorano University in the Yeguare Valley in Honduras. This trip was part of an embedded course (CED499B) here at Penn State. The course is a Community, Environment and Development class that studies Agricultural communities and development in the surrounding areas.  There were seven students in the group and two faculty members that attended.

While in Honduras, Janae (@kjherr17) had the opportunity to visit several different, small communities in the valley around Zamorano. She said “You could consider Zamorano the equivalent of a Land Grant University here in the states. They operate by a “learning by doing” model, Agriculture Education in its simplest, most effective terms.”

Milking cows with the Zemorano students!
While in some of the communities, the group learned about the efforts going on to increase the tourism industry in order to increase the communities’ income. She also hiked through a biological reserve and visited two elementary schools.

 While the trip was full of awesome opportunities, the ones that stood out to Janae were the ones that related to her passion; agriculture. One of the interesting agriculturally related activities was participating in a number of farm tours. Janae stated

Janae’s greatest takeaway from her trip was the experience she had milking cows with some of the Zamorano students. “Hands down, my most favorite memory of the trip is most assuredly waking up at 3:30 in the morning to join the third year students to milk the cows on campus. Being raised on a Dairy farm, I really enjoyed comparing my farm operation to the University operation while working alongside students.”

Janae showing off her Teach Ag! pride in Honduras!
Traveling to Honduras was Janae’s first time out of the country but she ensures it will not be the last. She recommends taking any chance you get to travel, especially Ag Ed Majors. “As a future Agricultural Educator, I will have the responsibility of preparing my students who are the future of fields like Environmental Resources and Agriculture Research. What better way for me to teach them but with my first hand experiences!”  Along with the Agriculture and Extension Education major, Janae has an International Ag minor. 

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!

Laura Metrick 
2015 Student Teacher
Twitter: @Its_LauraBeth
Teach Ag! Avenger

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

#psuaged13 Britney Marsh's YouTube Video on her Program

Watch this awesome YouTube video created by Britney Marsh (@b_marsh216) and her students on the power of school-based agricultural education at Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center  - Red Mountain (@AAEC_FFA).

It was entered in the NAAE (@NAAE) Advocacy Video Contest and selected as an honorable mention video! It will be showcased  at the 2014 NAAE Convention in Nashville, TN!

Jenna Moser's (@JennaLeeMoser) adventures in Mexico!

Jenna Moser
2015 Student Teacher

Jenna Moser (@JennaLeeMoser), a 2015 student teacher, has used her professional networking to her benefit for her spring break! Jenna traveled to Guanajuato, Mexico with her online class that she heard about through Pennsylvania’s former Secretary of Agriculture and former member of the House of Representatives, Sam Hayes! She has known Sam since she was seven years old, seeing him at fairs and other Ag events, Sam knew Jenna would be the perfect addition to the Mexico trip! She traveled with students from Penn State Lehigh, Altoona, and Harrisburg commonwealth campuses that were all enrolled in the online Civic Engagement course.
One of the greenhouses that
they visited!
When they all got to Mexico, they were able to do some awesome things! They traveled to several museums where they learned about the cultural history, saw beautiful cathedrals, attended an outdoor rodeo, learned about agave (the plant that is used to produce a juice that is then fermented to make tequila), see a 32 acre strawberry farm, visited the Green Giant vegetable processing plant and so much more!

The cultural aspect of Mexico spiked Jenna’s interest as well. She said, “I was able to enjoy the warmth of the sun and experience the present culture and sense of community.  In the evenings there were always people on the streets watching movies on a huge screen, playing music using string instruments, and simply living in the moment and taking time to enjoy each other’s company.” It is the small things in life that really count!
The outdoor rodeo.

Jenna’s greatest take away from the trip was the importance of the partnership between the United States and Mexico. Jenna was also truly influenced by the migrant workers. She states, “ I firmly believe that American agriculture would not be as successful as it is today without the aid of migrant workers. “ She truly appreciated all that Mexico has done for the United States and vice versa! Sam Hayes stated it well. He says “Our two countries are joined at the hip whether we like it or not, so we might as well like it.”

Strawberries that were grown in Mexico!

Since Jenna has been back, she has brought her new learned experiences back to the United States. It has helped her realize how important and how much we rely on the global market. For one example, she learned how much we rely on Mexico for strawberries during the winter months. Jenna is so excited to start teaching her students about the global market. "Agriculture Education and the FFA leadership program emphasize on the experiential learning component, and if I can use my experiences to teach my students about our vast industry of agriculture, than I am living out the FFA motto: “Learning to Do; Doing to Learn; Earning to Live; Living to Serve.”

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!
Olivia Murphy-SweetStudent Blogger
Teach Ag! Avenger

Twitter Handle @OSweetMurph
2016 Agricultural Education Student Teacher