Thursday, May 12, 2016

#PSUAgEd2TN Day 1: And the Adventure Begins…

Editors Note: The following is a reflective observation from different students participating in #psuaged2TN, our domestic study away program. Rose Cowan (@cowan_rosalind), a sophomore and member of #psuaged18, shares below.

The DSA & Broadway High School Students with Janae Bickhart
It was the first full day of our 4th annual Domestic Study Away Trip for the Teach Ag Society, and I began my first DSA experience. The previous day, six of my Penn State Agricultural and Extension Education peers, myself, and our stalwart advisor Dr. Foster (@FosterDanielD) left Happy Valley for Tennessee! But first we had a chance to visit a rock star first year agricultural educator, Janae Bickhart (@JanaeBickhart) who is a 2015 PSU AEE graduate (#psuaged15), at Broadway High School where she teaches.

Student made dual engine pulling tractor!
While at Broadway High School, we had the chance to talk with her ecology students about their research projects they were conducting. From projects that analyzed the effects of road salt on plants to the growth rate of common trout species, it was evident that these students were really challenging themselves and learning a lot about sciences and technology involved in agriculture!

Next we went and toured Mr. Jim Peters’ Technical Education classroom to learn, while I certainly did not realize it then, how integral STEM education can and should be in Agricultural Education classrooms. The projects that he conducts with his classroom were absolutely awesome and all of the topics he addresses in these projects could be taught through an agricultural lens! We certainly gained a lot of ideas for our future classrooms.

Then, thanks to the power of twitter, it was off to Daniel Boone High School, which is located just over the border in Tennessee. There we met with Agricultural Educators Mr. Jason Dossett (@jdossett3) and Ms. Leann Turner (@ag_nerd) as well as seven of their freshman FFA members. While Dr. Foster conducted a Parliamentary Procedure and Conduct of Meetings training with the seven students and Mr. Dossett, we as AEE students went with Ms. Turner to tour their Ag Ed program. 

Program Mascot, Hank!
Daniel Boone had a school farm that gives their students an opportunity to gain experience caring for, handling, and showing livestock. That was the first time I had ever experienced an on school farm, so I was really impressed. It was truly inspiring to hear about their backgrounds, why they are passionate about ag ed, and some of their experiences and advice.

After leaving Daniel Boone, we stopped in Cookeville to pick up the one, the only, the legendary Dr. Billye Foster. An extremely wise, experienced, fiery, strong woman, it was a pleasure to meet Dr. Foster – or Dr. Mom as we call her.

Exhausted and full of new knowledge and experiences, we reached Nashville and headed off to bed to rest up for the following day.

Check out our video of Day 1:

Rosalind Cowan
2018 Student Teacher Candidate

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