Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Outstanding in his Field: Matt Wagner, Forage Production Proficiency Winner #StudentSuccess


"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to do hard work at work worth doing."  Theodore Roosevelt.  

Penn State Agricultural Education students work hard at work worth doing through their academics and agricultural pursuits daily .   Agricultural Education and FFA are dedicated to Premier Leadership, Personal Growth and Career Success, and every year students excel in each one of these.  Our very own Matt Wagner is no different.  Matt is the State winner of the Pennsylvania Forage Production Proficiency Award. 

Matt's entrepreneurial spirit will carry him to even more success!
Proficiency Awards highlight the success of FFA members who have excelled through their supervised agricultural experiences. Winners are selected for their commitment, success and how they demonstrate their career readiness and growth in that area. Matt is an entrepreneur, owning his own business growing hay and custom baling it.  He started his experience growing hay for his family's beef cattle farm.  As he grew he started to bale more hay than was needed on the farm, that's when his business took off. He bought hay equipment and started renting land.  Matt says, "After I realized that there was some profit in the business I upgraded my equipment and rented and bought some more land to expand."  


His favorite sight on the farm is the wagons filling up!
Matt credits much of his support to his dad and who shared his knowledge and experience with him.  This honor comes with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment for Matt, "receiving the proficiency award lets me know that my project was successful."  And it was indeed!  His favorite thing about his business is watching the wagons fill up throughout the season and at the end of the day seeing a barn full of his own hay!   

Matt is a freshman at Penn State
Matt is a freshman majoring in Agricultural & Extension Education, with minors in Animal Science and Agronomy.  His involvement in FFA is paired with his student organization involvement on campus with Teach Ag! Society where he serves as an officer and is a Teach Ag! Avenger.  Matt is also involved outside the major in Penn State Pullers, Block and Bridle and the Agronomy Club.  He grew up in Orrtanna, PA and attended Gettysburg High School where he was "Tagged to Teach Ag!"  Now as a student in the Penn State Teach Ag! Program, he has started to look at Proficiency Awards and SAEs through the lens of a teacher.  Matt believes these awards benefit students saying "they provide students with a goal for their SAE career. Although I am an advocate of gaining skills in many areas, I also believe that it is important for the student to select one area of particular interest and become an expert in that area. The Proficiency award program strives to encourage that." 

Congratulations Matt! We wish you continued success as you move on to the National competition, and as you prepare to be a great Agricultural Educator steering students to this same kind of success!


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.



Kayla Hack

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @hackkayla

2017 Agriculture Education Student Teacher








Tuesday, March 8, 2016

2016 AEE Student Showcase! #psuaged16

Student of the Month: Nate Repetz (@N8_Reptz) #psuaged17 #studentsuccess

Every month we like to highlight students that have gone above and beyond in the Agriculture Education department! March we are proud to share some stories and accomplishments of Mr. Nate Repetz! 


Nate is a junior in Agriculture and Extension Education.  He spent his first year an a half at Altoona Campus where he also ran cross country.  Since his time at University Park Nate has become extremely involved.  He is the Domestic Study Away Chair for Teach Ag! Society and a second year Teach Ag! Avenger. His dedication and work ethic demonstrate his excitement for Agriculture Education.   Because of Nate's experience and passion he was chosen as one of 12 National Teach Ag! Ambassadors through the National Association of Agricultural Educators.  In his role as an Ambassador Nate continues to advocate for the "best job ever" Agricultural Education!  Not only is he involved and active in our major, but he is also involved in the larger College of Agricultural Sciences.  Nate serves as a mentor in the College of Ag Change of Campus Mentorship Program, he is a brother at Alpha Zeta an honorary professional co-ed agricultural fraternity and works at Farms Services.  


His first agricultural memories are at Pennsylvania Farm Show with his grandfather.  Nate grew up in 4-H where he was an active member of the Cumberland County 4-H for 11 years, where he went on to serve on the state officer team.  "I have come to love the world of youth development.  Growing up around peers who have no idea where their food comes from has lead me to agricultural education."  As a future Ag Teacher Nate looks forward to teaching agricultural mechanics and advising an FFA chapter!  When Nate is not in the classroom, working or participating in organizations he can be seen working on his pulling tractor or watching PA Posse Spring Car Racing!  Congratulations on being named the Student of the Month Nate!

Want to know some fun facts about Nate? Check them out below!




Hometown: New Cumberland, PA

Favorite PSU Class: AEE 349

Favorite place to eat in State College: Wings Over

Favorite Penn State Athletic Team: Football

Favorite Hangout on Campus: Anywhere with good WiFi and strong coffee! 







If you would like to read more about Nate, connect with him via Twitter: @N8_Repetz .  
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.



Kayla Hack

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @hackkayla

2017 Agriculture Education Student Teacher






Thursday, March 3, 2016

March Program of the Month: Mifflin County Academy of Science and Technology with Big Valley FFA!

In Pennsylvania we have over 150 FFA chapters that represent the Blue and Gold at its finest. There is one chapter that has stood above the rest this month to become our October Program of the Month. This month The Big Valley FFA Chapter at The Mifflin County Academy of Science and Technology High School a is that program!

Big Valley FFA Members teaching 3rd grade
students about goats at the farm tour. 

Big Valley FFA was chartered in 1958, and has continued to grow since then! Big Valley FFA and the Agriculture Program is uniquely located in Mifflin County's area technical school. When Ms. Annette Sprenkel started at The Mifflin County Academy of Science and Technology it was only a half day program, now the Academy is a full day program!  The Academy is a three year program that is housed at the area vocational school.  Each year of the program is different.  The first year is introductory to agriculture classes, the second year is "management" level agriculture and the third year is the true career development part.  In the third year of the program students participate in veterinary science, business and entrepreneurship driven classes and experiences.  


Student gaining technical experience at their
Artificial Insemination Certification Course.

The school is home to various animal and plant projects, including an onsite barn and greenhouse.  The barn is home to sheep who are lambing, chickens, rabbits and hogs and a sow expecting piglets soon!  The greenhouse flowers will bring in nearly $1400 this spring at the annual spring Greenhouse Sale.   Big Valley FFA members are always receiving hands on technical training, including  being certified in artificial insemination, which four of her students received.  Big Valley FFA is proud of their seniors and all their accomplishments.  Her students' success demonstrate that they truly "believe in the future of agriculture".  


Senior Accomplishments:
1 Accepted to Pittsburgh Vet Tech Institute
1 accepted a part time combine crew position in Texas 
1 Accepted to Delaware Valley College with a $28,000 yearly academic scholarship
1 Accepted to Point Park with a $30,000 yearly academic Scholarship
1 Accepted a full time position at a local Farrowing unit



Recent Chapter Accomplishments:

4 Keystone Degree recipients at PA Farm Show
6 Students Received FFA Jackets at PA Farm Show
Recently sold and finished 6 Market hogs


Farm Show Success!

The growth and commitment to preparing the next generation of agriculturalists is eveident at Big Valley FFA!  Congratulations on being named the March, Teach Ag! Program of the Month! 

Want to hear what is going on right now at Mifflin County and Big Valley FFA? Check them out on Facebook!

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.




Kayla Hack

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @hackkayla

2017 Agriculture Education Student Teacher






Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Teach Ag! Legend: Mr. Bob Lauffer

"If it was easy everyone would do it,"
 Tom Hanks in a League of Their Own was on to something, and our Ag Education Legend, couldn't agree more!  Mr.  Bob Lauffer taught high school agriscience for thirty seven years at Garden Spot High School, the same school he student taught at.  His dedication to the profession, accomplishments and joy for teaching are an encouragement to those in the classroom and hoping to be.   
Mr. Lauffer & his students at National FFA Convention.

His plan: to work at a national park as an interpretive naturalist.  He knew a teaching certification would place him on that path, but then he started his student teaching experience, where his plans changed a little...  "Truthfully, I never intended to teach," he said.  Once he started teaching he loved everything about it, he loved the variety and loved that it wasn't easy.  He loved the "teacher as a coach" mode of teaching.  A  combination of teaching knowledge and skills and decision making and then putting students into situations where they can demonstrate mastery of that skill set. He found that far more satisfying than teaching solely for a test.  

Those thirty seven years led him to many accomplishments.  Mr. Lauffer is the founder of the Wildlife Career Development Event for the state of Pennsylvania, a project he did for his Master's thesis.  He helped develop the state Aquatics CDE and served as the campaign manager for MeeCee Baker, the first female NAAE President.  He served on Lancaster County's Ag Ed Organization Board (LCVATA), and held various offices including President and Vice President for PAAE.   His favorite memories though, were working with students on community service projects.  His school participated in Building Our American Communities.  "I enjoyed the way a group of students could identify something they wanted to improve, develop a plan of action, go after the necessary resources and then culminate all the effort and planning with getting it done."  

The work of legends goes beyond the classroom.  His accomplishments created programs for students to strive for accomplishments and learn about our industry, but it was his dedication to his students and the profession that inspired others to join him.  "One of the accomplishments I am most proud of is that 6 of my  former students became ag teachers."  His advice? "Be open to every experience and glean as much as you can. Always ask the question, how would I approach that lesson if I were teaching it? Is there anything I could do that might make it better? Lastly, be real with yourself, your peers, your professors and once you start to teach especially with your students. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something and let kids see your willingness to learn from and with them."


As Penn State prepares Agricultural Educators, we look to legends in the field for advice and inpiration.  He was a "non-aggie" who never thought he would step foot into the classroom, but has continued to be someone who holds true to the values of the Ag Teacher's Creed

I am an agricultural educator by choice and not by chance.
I believe in American agriculture; I dedicate my life to its development and the advancement of its people.
I will strive to set before my students by my deeds and actions the highest standards of citizenship for the community, state and nation.
I will endeavor to develop professionally through study, travel and exploration.
I will not knowingly wrong my fellow teachers. I will defend them as far as honesty will permit.
I will work for the advancement of agricultural education and I will defend it in my community, state and nation.
I realize that I am a part of the school system. I will work in harmony with school authorities and other teachers of the school.
My love for youth will spur me on to impart something from my life that will help make for each of my students a full and happy future.

Congratulations Mr. Bob Lauffer!  You are an example all of us look to in Agricultural Education!  




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.




Kayla Hack

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @hackkayla

2017 Agriculture Education Student Teacher