Wednesday, April 29, 2015

End of the Year Banquet: That's a Wrap! #studentsuccess

As our year comes to a close, there is always that “bittersweet” feeling in the air that never seems to go away no matter how many years pass by. Not only is it a time to remember the years accomplishments and say good-bye to our 2015 student teachers (soon to be alumni!), but it is time for a new beginning as the 2016 student teachers rise to become seniors. Last night, Teach Ag! Society, Collegiate FFA, and Collegiate 4-H, all came together to recognize club accomplishments and say good-bye to their graduating members in their clubs.
As the night started, we were fortunate enough to have several guests and attendants come celebrate our Penn State student success. In the crowd, was our keynote speaker Mr. Bill Fleet. Bill has had several accomplishments in and out of the agriculture industry and is even a Penn State Alumni! His speech was based on how teachers make an impact everyday on our student’s lives. After his speech concluded, every single person in that room, teacher or not, was effected by his kind words.
Following the keynote, there were awards that were presented to special people that were nominated by Teach Ag! Society of having accomplishments in the agriculture education career, in the agriculture industry, and being an outstanding member in Teach Ag! Society. Those people that were selected for at award are outlined below!
Jessica Morgan
Educator of the Year Award
Teacher at Juniata High School
Samantha Sessamen
Outstanding Teach Ag! Member 
of the Year Award
2016 Student Teacher 
As the banquet awards were passed out, pictures were taken, and the night was coming to a close, there was a special video that was created just for the seniors! If you would like to view the video check it out below!

Overall it was a memorable night for the seniors and all that were in attendance!

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
Blog Editor
2016 Student Teacher

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

#TeachAgTuesday: Essay Finalist Spotlight on Sarah Gonzalez

Every Tuesday until PA FFA Convention, we will be highlighting one finalist from the Essay Contest. Each finalist created a video for their submissions answering the question "What do you enjoy about agriculture education? OR What do you like about your agriculture educator?" Each finalist did a fantastic job and we want to show off their videos until our special surprise at State Days when we announce the winner. Our first student to be highlighted is:

Sarah Gonzalez
Manheim Central High School
Teacher: Heather Anderson
Class: Introduction to Agriculture Science
Lesson: Acids and Bases
Check out Sarah's video!
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
Blog Editor
2016 Student Teacher

Monday, April 27, 2015

#psuaged15 returns: Stories on making a difference

Our EIGHTEEN 2015 Penn State Agricultural Education Student Teachers have return from their fifteen weeks completing internships in secondary schools and environmental centers across Pennsylvania and beyond! 

Below is a snapshot of this incredible group of students accomplishments. To learn more about the individual candidates, please view the PSU Teach Ag! Student Showcase:

The 2015 student teachers (#psuaged15):

·         Taught 102 different classes to students from K-12th grades that are 40 minute periods to 90 minute “block” periods in length.

·         Delivered 202 units of instruction on topics from leadership development, agricultural mechanics, environmental sciences & natural resources, plant sciences, animal sciences and much more!

·         Impacted the lives of 1,878 individual students.

·         Helped their cooperating centers earn and implement $150,500 grant dollars or extramural funding.

·         Lead students in 251 hours of community service.

·         Has Earned (or will earn) a degrees 5 areas:
o    Agricultural & Extension Education (B.S.); Agricultural & Extension Education (M.S.);  Animal Science (B. S.); International Agriculture Development (Dual Title, M.S.); Wildlife Technology (A.S.);

·         Obtained 11 Minors/areas of emphasis:
o    Animal Science; Agribusiness Management; Environmental Resources; Environmental Inquiry; International Agriculture; Leadership; Military Studies; Poultry and Avian Science; Recreational Parks and Tourism Management; Wildlife and Fisheries Science; Youth and Family Education

·         Will have members who are Pennsylvania Certified (with reciprocity in more than 45 states) in the following 3 areas:
o    Agriscience K-12; Environmental Science; General Science


·         Studied abroad in 12 countries, including:
o    Cambodia; Costa Rica; India; France; Germany; Kenya; Lithuania; Mexico; South Korea; Sweden; Thailand; Trinidad & Tobago

·         Completed Domestic Study Aways in Arizona (Multiculturalism in school-based agricultural education) and Colorado (Service Learning Pedagogies with Farm to School Initiatives).

·         Earned 18 different Additional Certifications/Accreditation/Licenses, including(listed alphabetically):
o    Accredited Parliamentarians from the Society of Agricultural Education Parliamentarians; First Aid/CPR/AED Certification; Beef Quality Assurance; Canoe Leadership; Explore Bowhunt;  Hunter Education; 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; Raptor Handling

·         Involved in 29 professional organizations, including(listed alphabetically):
o    Ag Club, Penn State Altoona; Agriculture Student Council, Penn State; Alpha Tau Alpha, National Agricultural Education Honorary; Alpha Zeta; American Boer Goat Association; American Quarter Horse Association; Association of Career & Technical Education; Block & Bridle, Penn State; Blue & White Society; Coaly Honors Society, Penn State; Collegiate FFA , Penn State;  Collegiate 4-H, Penn State; Delta Theta Sigma; Gamma Sigma Delta; Graduate Student Association, AEE, Penn State; Kansas City Barbeque Society; Keystone Elk Country Alliance (KECA);  National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE); National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA); National FFA Alumni;  New York Association of Agricultural Educators; Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Educators (PAEE) ; Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators (PAAE); Pennsylvania Farm Bureau- Young Farmers & Ranchers; Pennsylvania FFA Alumni; Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association; Potter-Tioga Maple Association; Society of American Florist; Teach Ag! Society, Penn State

·         Gained experience or have been employed with over 26 different relevant jobs/Internships including (listed alphabetically):
o    Aullwood Audubon Center and Farm - Naturalist Intern; Brydonson Farm - Labor; Centre County Youth Services Bureau’s Big Brothers - Big Sisters Program; Center for Professional and Personal Development; Children Youth Empowerment Centre - Kenya; Keystone Elk Country Alliance - Conservation Education Intern; Lost Hollow Farms; National Association of Agricultural Educators; National FFA Organization; New York Ag in the Classroom; Penn State Pesticide Education Program; Pennsylvania FFA Association; Philadelphia Zoo; Prima Tech; PSU Dairy Barns; PSU Southeast Agricultural Research and Extension Center; PSU Extension - Allegheny County; PSU Extension - Central Susquehanna Valley Extension Office; PSU Extension - Lawrence County; PSU Extension - Potter County;  PSU Extension - York County; PSU College of Agricultural Science Office of Undergraduate Education; PSU Pennsylvania Governor’s School; PSU Arboretum; USDA-NRCS; Wildwood Park (PA); World Food Prize

·         Completed action research projects, including:
o    Assessing impact on student’s academic success of teacher-centered versus student-centered lessons.
o    Analyzing best practices for student exam preparation.
o    Analyzing impact of homework and weight of homework in assessments on student learning.
o    Analyzing length of instructional class period on student learning outcomes.
o    Comparing effectiveness of face-to-face instruction and virtual learning for school field trips to the Elk Country Visitor Center
o    Comparing student achievement in plant and soil science with teacher-centered versus student-centered pedagogical approaches.
o    Comparing impact of video lecture versus face to face instruction on learning satisfaction and student achievement.
o    Comparing student achievement between individual and cooperative assignments.
o    Describing instructional practice impact on cultivating global awareness in secondary students.
o    Impact on student agricultural mechanics projects on community development.
o    Effectiveness of co-teaching on learner satisfaction.
o    Evaluating Pennsylvania schools cell phone policies.
o    Evaluating student comprehension of lab concepts through early exposure pedagogy.
o    Instruction time requirements for adolescent attitudinal shifts regarding integrated pest management.
o    Ethnographic journaling to improve student rapport.

·         Completed custom learning projects for their center, including:
o    Connecting secondary students from Mopan Technical (Belize) and Penns Manor (Pennsylvania) through a bio-digester project
o    Creating an implementation guide for blended learning in secondary agriculture.
o    Creating a Chapter Officer Training program.
o    Creating a Greenhand induction ceremony handbook.
o    Creating CDE Training Kits.
o    Describing learning styles in an agricultural education program.
o    Describing blended learning impact on student engagement.
o    Describing how music impacts creativity and focus of floricultural students.
o    Developing effective FFA Chapter website maintenance student guide.
o    Developing a chapter FFA officer accountability program.
o    Facilitating differentiated learning for successful independent studies in Animal Science.
o    Facilitating a children’s farm show
o    Improving Student literacy skills and recordkeeping in AET.
o    Integrating Forensic Chemistry Principles into Aquatic Resources Class.
o    Managing FFA chapter involvement in school spirit competition.
o    Organizing a career development event day for environmental education
o    Participate in Pennsylvania Association of Environmental Education Conference.
o    Utilizing AET for chapter online publicity.
o    Utilizing SLOs for professional development.

·         Fun Facts
o    One school had over 108 inches of snow - and only TWO snow days :)
o    Multiple guest speakers and community members were integrated in instruction.
o    One student published an opinion piece on PBS:
o    One student conducted a Global Competency Lesson for Iowa Students from Millersville, Pennsylvania.
o    One student taught for 7 weeks in Belize
o    One student taught for 5 weeks at the Elk County Environmental Center
o    One student lead a multinational effort for the development of educational model bio-digester.
o    One student started a female mentorship program for young girls in their county.
o    Three students are former Pennsylvania State FFA Officers.
o    Teach Like a Pirate was a popular summer reading choice!
o    One student was a Teaching Assistant for THREE different college courses.
o    One student was accepted to present their undergraduate research to the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Conference.
o    Two students presented undergraduate research at the PSU Gamma Sigma Delta Expo.
o    Three students had not prior experience with FFA to the PSU Teacher Education Program.
o    One student was an active member of the Penn State ROTC.

To learn more about their specific student teaching experiences, check out their professional blogs and follow them on Twitter or their story at #psuaged15:

Kate Bassett (@bassklynn). Teach Ag! Army Style
Post Graduate Plans: U.S. Army

Janae Bickhart (@JanaeBickhart). Janae's Journey
Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity

Morgan Campbell (@mcamp400). Blossoming at the Blackboard
Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity

Cassidy Cheddar (@crcheddar). Sharing the Journey
Post Graduate Plans: Returning to Penn State!

Amanda Forstater (@CityAggie). Enjoying the Interval
Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity

Jillian Gordon (@jillianpsu). Traveling (future)Teacher
Post Graduate Plans: Grad School - Georgia

Jasmine Graybill (@JasmineGraybill). Jazzy Adventures
Post Graduate Plans: Pequea Valley Ag Teacher!

Hannah Harris (@han_lou93). History in the Making. 
Post Graduate Plans: Returning to Penn State!

Rea Ianson (@rnianson908). Rea’s Road. 
Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity

Megan Keller (@MeganLego). From Barn to Classroom. 
Post Graduate Plans: Country View Valley Farms

Bryanna Kenno (@bkenno4). Fulfilling My Niche. 
Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity

Laura Metrick (@Its_LauraBeth). The Metrick System. 
Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity

Deanna Miller (@deannapsu15). Half Way to Somewhere
Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity

Jenna Moser (@JennaLeeMoser). Ready...Set...Teach AG! 
Post Graduate Plans: AgriCorp - Ghana!

Toby Neal (@tjn5065). Neal Valley View.
Post Graduate Plans: Environmental Educator - Elk Country

Howard Poole (@howie_poole). Pooling for Ag Ed
Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity

Carly-Jean Schaefer (@CarlyJeanBean). Carly-Jean: Ag Ed Machine. 
Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity

Rachel Telesz (@rachie12rach). Down the Rabbit Hole
Post Graduate Plans: Union City Ag Teacher (PA)!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

#TeachAg Tuesday: Four Agriculture Education Rockstars and their Research

This summer, four Agriculture Education majors are going above and beyond the average Penn State student. Instead of lounging on a beach or reading relaxing book, these four ladies are pushing their education to the max! Each student has selected to conduct research this summer in and out of the country. On top of conducting the research, these ladies have received $16,500 in grants! Read their stories below!
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Sarabeth Royer
2016 Student Teach Canidate
My undergraduate research involved examining student and teacher participation in Career Development Events (CDE’s). FFA CDE’s are basically competitions where students can showcase their knowledge and skills, while also honing 21st century skills such as leadership, effective communication, and team-work. There are a plethora of CDE’s offered in Pennsylvania, from Aquatics, Livestock Judging, Public Speaking, Wildlife, Floriculture, Job Interview, and much more! My research is looking into why students decide to participate in certain CDE’s, and how participation may affect their future career goals, etc. I am also examining the historical significance of CDE participation by schools and FFA programs throughout the Commonwealth.

                                                               College of Agricultural Sciences Grant: $4,500

Janae Herr
2016 Student Teacher Candidate 

Research Question: Developing a comprehensive recruitment and retention plan to address needs a Pennsylvania school-based agricultural education
Objective 1: Identify perceived barriers of the agricultural education career by PA Ag Teachers

Objective 2: Identify specific strategies for effective recruitment

The National Teach Ag! Campaign as determined Pennsylvania to be a state with a shortage of agriculture teachers. Through surveys collected from both current post-secondary agriculture education students in Pennsylvania and current Pennsylvania agriculture educators data will be collected to design a recruitment and retention plan to address the shortage of school-based agriculture educators in Pennsylvania and beyond.

College of Agricultural Sciences Grant: $3,000

                                                                                                         Kayla Hack
                                                                                         2016 Student Teacher Candidate 

For my research I will be Identifying characteristics of effective contextually relevant Spanish language immersion experiences in Turrialba, Costa Rica.  Based in the theories of Kolb and Dewey about experiential learning and reflection, I will look at how these assist in Spanish language acquisition around the discipline of agriculture.  We know that the agriculture industry around us is changing in how we produce, process and grow food, and our labor that may not speak English as their first language is one of the changes.  According to the National FFA Organization Agricultural educators must explore new opportunities and experiences to continue to ensure agricultural students are prepared for their careers in the highly interconnected global agricultural industry, one of these changes is language, specifically Spanish.   I am hoping this research will further the global and intercultural skills needed in today’s society, especially in the area of agriculture and encourage others in the agricultural education family to provide immersion and language learning opportunities for their students, and that I will learn how I too can do that someday!

College of Agricultural Sciences Grant: $3,000
International Agriculture Minor Grant: $1,500

Olivia Murphy-Sweet
2016 Student Teacher Candidate
My research will be focusing on identifying the specific need and possible barriers to the development and implementations of a new agricultural youth organization to cultivate and preserve local Belizean indigenous knowledge in agriculture. There are currently fourteen 4-H programs in Belize, but none in the Cayo District in western Belize. The specific study site that I will be at is called CELA Belize in the community of San Jose Succotz. There are community leaders who are searching for an effective, sustainable way to pass on indigenous knowledge to local youth. I will be interviewing current 4-H leaders and members and Belize, participate in an observation of a 4-H club, interview community leaders, and then write about my research.

College of Agricultural Sciences Grant: $3,000

International Agriculture Minor Grant: $1,500
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
2016 Student Teacher Candidate
Blog Editor

Thursday, April 9, 2015

April Student of the Month: Stacia Creed (@stacia_creed) #psuaged16

Every month, the Agricultural and Extension Education Department chooses to highlight certain students who are excelling well in our major or someone who has gone above and beyond each month. For the month of April, Stacia Creed (@stacia_creed), a 2016 Student Teacher Candidate was selected as our Student of the Month!
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As a graduate student, Stacia has had a long college career pursuing what she loves and that is of course agriculture. She started her educational career at Delaware Valley College (now known as Delaware Valley University) majoring in Livestock Science and Management due to her love for animal production. After she graduated with her bachelors, she knew that something was missing which led her to the Penn State Agricultural and Extension Education Department. After discussing options for her to get her degree and to become a teacher, she started Penn State University in the spring of 2014.
Since Stacia has been at Penn State, she has taken it upon herself to make a difference everywhere she goes! She is currently the Teach Ag! Society Student Advisor and apart of the AEE Graduate Student Association. Along with the various clubs she is involved in, she also is conducting her own research with the 2015 Photo Contest submissions.

Stacia plans on graduating in May 2016 with a Master’s of Education in Agricultural and Extension Education. After she receives her degree, she plans on teaching at the high school level and becoming an agriculture teacher. Her goal is to teach in Pennsylvania but, she is not opposed to teaching in the Midwest because of its open spaces and community. Another dream that she has is getting into Agritourism. “I don’t know if it will happen, but I would love to teach the general public about where their food products come from while showing them a working farm” We know that Stacia is going to do great things in the future, and with a full education behind her, who knows what she will do next!

Olivia Murphy-Sweet
Blog Editor
2016 Student Teacher Candidate