Thursday, May 12, 2016

Domestic Study Away Day 2: My Major is Better Than Yours... #PSUAgEd2TN

Editors Note: The following is a reflective observation from different students participating in #psuaged2TN, our domestic study away program. George Dietrich (@TheGeorge4H), a sophomore and member of #psuaged18, shares below.  This incredible event is made possible by the generosity of the CHS Foundation.
The DSA crew with President Aiken
Our day started off great aside from traffic problems, going to meet the Tennessee Farm Bureau. At first I thought we were going to meet with two members of the Farm Bureau, but instead we met the newly elected president, Jeff Aiken, along with what felt like half the staff. The tone of sincerity they gave us along with the southern hospitality made me realize how much they appreciated us visiting. Learning about everything Tennessee Farm Bureau does taught me the importance of building my network as an Ag Teacher. Partnerships with organizations like Farm Bureau provides incredible development in a successful Agricultural Department. Also the phrase, “Thank you for being an Ag Teacher,” was said repeatedly to us in our visit by all of them. They found value in what we want to accomplish. This was a moral boost for the entire group. After ending our visit with Farm Bureau we were off to Nashville to really learn about STEM.

Our second workshop was on STEM and agriculture. It was led by the legen- wait for it - dary Dr. Kris Elliot.  He taught us the  importance of incorporating STEM theories into the classrooms by giving us examples and engaging us in conversation. Then Dr. Chaney Mosely (another rockstar Ag Ed doctor) came in provided more context around how Nashville Metropolitan Agriculture Programs incorporate STEM and Agriculture. 

Dr. Elliot provided us numerous resources to engage in using technology. 

The crew with Dr. Elliot & Dr. Mosley
With four professors in one room they began talking about a lot of things that are near and dear to us as future agricultural educators. Getting a chance to get advice from four different stellar professors all with different agricultural education experiences was something that I would not miss in a life time. They told us different theories and experiences they had as high school agriculture teachers, then gave us practical advice on looking for the right high schools for each of us. They gave us a glimpse of what a really good ag program should look like. This is one of the few times I can say I have engaged in honest conversation and
discussion with four professors about career and major related topic, and it was refreshing.

Grand Old Opry fun!
To end a great day of learning, we convinced Dr. Foster to allow us the opportunity to bond as a team and go to the Grand Ole Opry. Yes that’s right the seven of us that went on DSA this year got the chance to see six artists in two hours (insert the jealousy of all our peers). We all learned a valuable lesson here: sometimes after a hard days work you need to relax as a team before you begin a the many hard days of work as a potential new teacher. The chance to relax is a good bonding opportunity that we could apply to our possible FFA Officer Teams.

These lessons we learned Tuesday were not something that could be taught in the classroom. The opportunity to learn the value of a strong network, the application of a new theory in the classroom, and the chance to learn from four great professors will develop us today as the stellar ag teachers of tomorrow. This is why our major is better than yours. The opportunities available to us this week have just begun and they will keep building down the road. Stay tuned for more details about our visits to Nashville Urban High Schools and our time in Cookeville, TN, let the Tennessee adventures continue!

Follow along with our experience on Twitter by using #PSUAgEd2TN!  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.

George Dietrich 
2018 Student Teacher Candidate
Agricultural & Extension Education
Food Science

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