Friday, October 28, 2016

College of Agricultural Science Faculty Member Honored at the National FFA Convention

                                                                                                              Webster's Dictionary defines honorary as, "given as a sign of honor or achievement."  At the 89th National FFA Convention, the Honorary American FFA Degree was conferred upon 136 individuals who have provided exceptional service on a national level to agriculture, agricultural education, or FFA.

The Honorary American FFA degree is given to those who advance agricultural education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment. Dr. Ewing is an educator who many can say has created high-quality agricultural education programs through preparation of student teachers.  Once teachers, they inspire and motivate their students to strive for success.   

We are Penn State Proud of Dr. John Ewing who was awarded the Honorary American FFA Degree!

Dr. Ewing's many years of service  and dedication to teacher preparation, FFA, and agricultural education made him worthy of such an honor!Dr. Ewing spent three years teaching agricultural education to high school students at Octorara High School.  From August 2000 to June 2003, Dr. Ewing shared his passion for agriculture mechanics and environmental science with young minds at Octorara High School.  In 2003, Dr. Ewing had the tables reserved as he once again became the student.  He attended The Ohio State University to receive his Masters and Doctorate Degrees in Agricultural Education.  In 2006, Dr. Ewing joined the faculty at Penn State University; becoming an integral part of the teacher preparation program.  

Currently, Dr. Ewing serves as the undergraduate coordinator for Agricultural and Extension Education, as well as Associate Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education.  He also serves as the advisor for Penn State Collegiate FFA.  Dr. Ewing works tirelessly to produce high quality teacher candidates, equipped with tools to become outstanding agricultural educators.  A man who's hard to catch, Dr. Ewing always has a minute to speak with a student, or lend some helpful advice.

It comes as no surprise Dr. Ewing was chosen to receive the Honorary American FFA Degree. Nominated by the Pennsylvania FFA Association, members of the National FFA board of directors approved Dr. Ewing's nomination. The Honorary American FFA Degree is an opportunity to recognize those who have gone beyond valuable daily contributions to make an extraordinary long-term difference in the lives of students; inspiring confidence in a new generation of agriculturists. 

The National FFA Organization works diligently to enhance the lives of it's members through agricultural education. Without these dedicated individuals and their efforts, thousands of young people would not be able to achieve success, in turn contributing directly to the overall well-being of the nation. 



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.

                                                                           

                                                                         Halee Wasson
Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @wasson_halee
2018 Agriculture Education Student Teacher



Tuesday, October 25, 2016

National FFA Convention: Lives transformed!

As a sophomore in High School, I attended my first National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. That year FFA celebrated 84 years of convention, and encouraged attendees to believe in their ability to create change that positively impacts the future of agriculture. After attending the first session of the convention, I was immensely impressed with the empowering atmosphere created by members, advisors, and guests that filled the arena. Fully immersed in the session, I became inspired to believe in the future of agriculture and the role I can play to make a difference in the future.

Fast forward to last week as the 89th National FFA Convention returned to Indianapolis, Indiana. Although I did not attend, I realized there could potentially be a sophomore attending convention experiencing what I did five years ago. They were encouraged, empowered, and inspired to create change in agriculture. This realization came about because their Agricultural Science teacher afforded them an opportunity to attend FFA convention. I am thankful that my Agricultural Science teacher provided me the opportunity to attend convention.I became aware of my ability to create change as a future Agriculture Science teacher. I will prepare students for these moments, when they discover their potential and ability to create a positive impact. I look forward to experiencing this next year when I travel to National FFA Convention with my cooperating centers. 

This year, the seven 2017 Penn State Student Teachers had an amazing opportunity to experience convention with their cooperating centers, and engage with their future students.

Along with the seven 2017 Penn State Student Teachers, eighteen students studying Agricultural and Extension Education and other agriculture related majors participated in National Alpha Tau Alpha competitions. Below is a list of placing and highlights from each contest:

Essay Contest
Individual Division Submission- Rosalind Cowan (1st)
Team Division Submission- Kayla Hack and Evelyn Zaleski (1st), Tony Rice and Kolbey Stewart (2nd), 

Debate Contest
Debate Team- Matthew Rider, Michael Cahill, Matthew Snyder, Rosalind Cowen

Program of Excellence
Professional Development- Penn State Teach Ag! Society (1st)
Fellowship- Penn State Teach Ag! Society (1st)
Community Service- Penn State Teach Ag! Society (1st)

Parliamentary Procedure
Parliamentary Procedure Team (R to L)- 
George Dietrich, Katelyn Brouse, Ali Emig, Alicia Gates, Emily Schultz  (4th)

Delegate Representation
Delegates for the Eta Chapter- Sara Lang and George Dietrich


Along with all the individual and team achievements, the Penn State Teach Ag! Society was able to receive recognition as the recipient of the A.W. Nolan Memorial Leadership Award at the ATA Conclave. These are achievements our members can be proud of! 

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.

                                                                           
                                                                           Halee Wasson
Student Blogger
Twitter Handle: @wasson_halee
2018 Agriculture Education Student Teacher

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: National FFA Convention #studentsuccess

It's the most wonderful time of the year. National FFA Convention is finally here! It's time for four days with 60,000 people, and the future of agriculture! FFA members and guest travel across the country to Indianapolis, Indiana to join the opportunities that the National FFA Convention provides through sessions and keynote speakers, the expo and career fair, tours, workshops, concerts, rodeos, dances and so much more.

11 of the 25 students enjoying the 89th National FFA Convention!
Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences has 25 students actively involved at the National FFA Convention. 
The seven 2017 Penn State Student Teachers are attending convention with their cooperating centers; allowing them to gain a valuable experience by planning and traveling to an event with students.Three students are serving as student volunteers in the educational resource booths for National FFA. One student is serving as an intern in the National FFA communications department. The remaining 14 students are serving as public speaking judges, assisting with the parliamentary procedure CDE, and working the State FFA photo booth.  In addition, many of the 25 members are also competing in the National ATA Conclave, in events such as: Parli Pro, Quiz Bowl, Debate Team, Essay Contest, and Nolan Award/Program of Excellence.

Also, our very own Penn State Teach Ag! Society member--Katie McLaughlin, is competing to serve as a National FFA Officer! She is representing the state of Pennsylvania as the National FFA Officer candidate. She is surly making Pennsylvania FFA proud because she made it to the final rounds of the National Officer interviews! We wish her the best of luck as she continues on.

Katie McLaughlin pictured with
her National Officer Candidate Jacket
Stay connected for a recap of how Penn State students continue to excel at the 89th National FFA Convention.


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.


Halee Wasson

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @wasson_halee

2018 Agriculture Education Student Teacher

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Student of the Month: Michael Cahill (@cahillms89)

Every month, we like to highlight students that have gone above and beyond in the Agriculture Education department! In October, we are proud to share the stories and adventures of Mr. Michael Cahill!

Michael is earning a Master's Degree in Agricultural and Extension Education and
International Agriculture and Development. He will be student teaching at Bald Eagle Area
High School in Centre County, Pennsylvania this Spring! Michael is a native of Richmond, Virginia whose passion for agriculture did not spark until an older age. His quest in becoming a positive agent of change as an Agriculture Educator is driven by his determination to inspire youth to actively engage in making the world a better place. He gained this determination after his experiences of traveling abroad, and working with youth across the world earlier in his life.

Michael also enjoys learning about natural systems and applying it to agriculture and sustainable design. He loves to teach and learn from others, which is why he takes an active role at the PSU Student Farm. From this role he has had the opportunity to “teach agriculture and help others in the community see the value in growing and raising food on their own.” As a father of two, Michael believes it is important for future generations to understand and comprehend the importance of agriculture beyond the soil. He plans to cultivate change with youth development through education focused around sustainability and agriculture. 

Michael is a great student and community member. Congratulations Michael for being October’s Student of the Month!

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


Hometown: Richmond, VA
Graduation Year: 2017
Birthday: June 20th
Favorite PSU Class: AEE 505 Leadership Development 
Favorite place to eat in State College: GiGi's
Favorite PSU athletics team: Football
Favorite hangout on campus: Arboretum

If you would like to read more about Michael, connect with him via Twitter: @cahillms89


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.


Halee Wasson

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @wasson_halee

2018 Agriculture Education Student Teacher

Friday, October 14, 2016

#FlashbackFriday September Program of the Month

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 to become our September program of the month. The W.B. Saul FFA Chapter!

Walter Biddle Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences was founded in 1943. It was first known as the Wissiahickon Farm School until it was later renamed in 1957. Although the name has change, their mission remains the same. Their mission is to create and withhold a diverse learning community to develop in students the understanding of and appreciation for the career and leadership opportunities that are available to them in the many fields of agriculture. It is also their commitment to cultivate each student’s individual abilities to prepare him or her for a lifetime of productive academics, vocational, and civil endeavors. This mission of providing students a unique educational experience of both high academic expectations as well as a deeply rooted commitment to agriculture is one of many reasons why W.B. Saul was chosen as September’s Program of the Month.

Current Program Teachers: 
Jane Arbasak
Guy Amoroso
Lisa Blum
Scott Geller
Gail Koskela
Jessica McAtamney
George Ruvarac
Garth Schuler
Val Simmens
Greg Smith
Tiffany Turrentine

These educators believe in the future of agriculture and developing an appreciation of agricultural science along with developing a responsibility for improving, preserving, and managing the earth’s natural resources. They are fully committed to preparing their students to become active citizens who work and/or study within their chosen field of interest. 

To help aid educators in achieving this, W.B. Saul was recently awarded the STEM mentoring award in the category of excellence in public-private partnerships, during a STEM Mentoring Symposium at the White House. Jessica McAtamney noted, "With this grant, our teachers will be able to provide a true hands-on application of the agricultural curriculum that is currently being taught. The grant will enable Saul's teachers to be at the forefront environment technology."

This grant has allowed them to expand upon their newest project. Through this project they have two goals that they would like to achieve. First, to increase interest in green careers that involve science, technology, engineering and math by putting students in touch with mentors and immersing them in project-based learning. Second, to engage the broader school community in the value of green infrastructure for urban settings, which could include bioswales, small wetlands, green roofs and rain gardens.

Recipients from W.B. Saul High School in Philadelphia, the CH2M Foundation and The Nature Conservancy show their award for a public-private partnership to teach STEM to high schoolers. Source: CH2M.

Along with environmental focused courses, W.B. Saul offers multiple courses for their students to choose from within many agricultural topic areas. W.B. Saul offers courses in the following agricultural topic areas:
Plant Science
Food Science
AgroEcology
Large Animal Science
Equine Science
Small Animal/ Veterinary Science
Aquaculture
Natural Resource Management

W. B. Saul high school has been noted as the cornerstone for the future of agriculture. The teacher and staff at Saul are preparing students to become premier leaders of agriculture by providing opportunities to expand their knowledge through hands on learning in their chosen agricultural topic area. 

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 TeachAgPSUon Facebookor on our blog.

Halee Wasson

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @wasson_halee

2018 Agriculture Education Student Teacher

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

October Program of the Month: Central Columbia FFA Chapter

Pennsylvania is home to over 150 FFA chapters, representing 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. The Central Columbia FFA Chapter!

The mission of the FFA is to create a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Since 1942, Central Columbia’s Agricultural Science Program and FFA Chapter strives to achieve this mission through opportunities provided in an intracurricular experience combining classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experiences, and FFA!

Classroom Instruction:

In 1942, Mr. Robert Eckrote laid the blueprint and built the foundation of the Central Columbia Agriculture Science Program. Mr. Eckrote was able to provide opportunity of schoold based education to those who had interest in pursuing a career in agricultural production at the time. Later, Mr. Carl Everett would build upon the foundation of Mr. Eckrote by continuing to teach traditional agricultural production curriculum; however, he recognized the importance of expanding the program’s involvement in other agriculture industries by adding an additional emphasis to animal sciences. In 1991, the third Agricultural Science Instructor Mr. Doug Brown not only continued to build upon the past, but he expanded and created blueprints to build a foundation to take the program into a new direction of curriculum. Mr. Brown added courses in areas such as Forest Science, Wildlife
Science and Environmental Resources.  Creating more interest among students, and increasing student enrollment. In turn, this created growth for the program and chapter as a whole, making it necessary to add a second agricultural instructor.  The fourth agricultural science instructor, Mr. Curtis Turner was able to build upon Mr. Brown’s new direction of curriculum leading the program in the direction of land surveying and animal sciences. Together Mr. Brown and Mr. Turner provide diverse opportunities to students. They recognized at the high school level, it was important for students  to understand fundamental agricultural through education at the middle school level. This allowed Central Columbia to be 1 of 6 programs in Pennsylvania to have a middle school chapter. The middle school program puts much emphasis in the exploration of agriculture to develop the students’ interest in the high school programs. With instruction at both the middle and high school, Central Columbia is able to provide instruction in multiple topic areas of agriculture including the following: Ag Science I, II, III, IV, Environmental Science, Land Surveying, Animal Science, Forest Science, and Wildlife Science

Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE):


Mr. Brown and Mr. Turner recognize the students’ achievements inside and outside of the classroom. “As a program, all students carry an approved SAE project that can be very diverse from Agricultural Research to On-Farm Employment and all projects in between.  Our chapter’s most common SAE project would be Off-Farm Employment.” These diverse experiences provide each student the chance to apply the knowledge they learn in the diverse classroom courses offered. It is obvious students put forth a lot of effort into to their experience. In recent years numerous students have been named Northern Region Stars, and State Stars in their project area. There have even been a few students that competed at Eastern States for Eastern Regional Stars and continued on to be a National Star Finalist. This was achieved through the students’ ambition and good record keeping as they utilized the AET program.

FFA:

Mr. Brown and Mr. Turner also recognize the students’ interest to test their knowledge gained through classroom instruction and SAE. Students are provided the opportunity to participate in FFA Career Development Events to test their knowledge in chosen areas. Mr. Brown states, “Our FFA Chapter has had many great students and members in which each accomplished an honor at some time in their educational career.  The Central Columbia FFA Chapter and Agricultural/Environmental Science Program strives to enable all students to learn and become effective members of their society through Career Pathways which educates all students for success in adulthood.”
  
Recent FFA Accomplishments:
·        National Chapter Award program recipient at the National FFA Convention
·        National Tribute Chapter from the National FFA Organization
·        Beyond the Blue Jacket Campaign Chapter
·        5th place Agronomy Team at the Big E
·        Various Career and Leadership Development Event individual and team placings at State and National level


Overall, the Central Columbia Agricultural Science Program and FFA Chapter provides students with opportunities that can lead them to success as they combine their experiences of classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experience, and FFA. All these opportunities allow the students of this program to strive to grow in leadership and career success as they continue to build on their interest of their career pathway in agriculture. 


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 TeachAgPSUon Facebookor on our blog.


Halee Wasson

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @wasson_halee

2018 Agriculture Education Student Teacher

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

FAST Reflection: Victoria Herr @Victoria_Herr

September 20-22, George Dietrich and I had the opportunity to travel to the Future Agriscience Teacher Symposium in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This event was hosted by National Teach Ag to welcome 23 future agricultural educators from 14 states. During these few days we were able to network and learn through workshops, before coming together to celebrate National Teach Ag Day! Some of these workshops focused on inquiry learning, teaching strategies, CASE curriculum, resume writing, and more. However, we still had time to explore! On Wednesday we had the opportunity to tour a POET ethanol plant and speak with their employees about agricultural education. This was an interesting experience, especially for those of us who did not know much about the biofuels industry. 

George and I showing appreciation during the live Broadcast!
After an exciting few days of experiencing some great professional development, we had the opportunity to engage in the live national broadcast for the National Teach Ag Day celebration! The program included a question and answer session with both agricultural educators and supporters of agricultural education, connections with agricultural education programs across the country, and more. It was so cool to experience behind the scenes efforts that it takes to create an inspiring broadcast! At the end of the day, it was announced that the 2017 FAST Symposium and National Teach Ag Day will be held in Chicago, Illinois and hosted by the Chicago High School for Agricultural Sciences! I would highly recommend that Penn State AEE students apply for this wonderful opportunity next year!

Although this week was packed with amazing experiences, I would say the workshop that meant the most to me was a question and answer session that we had with two agricultural educators. One of the teachers we talked with had been teaching in Nebraska for 15 years and the other had been in South Dakota for 3. Hearing the different perspectives of these teachers and having them answer our questions was so insightful and encouraging. While I did learn a lot and enjoyed our other workshops, I really appreciated being able to connect with these educators and I appreciated their openness and the inspiration they provided. 


Overall, the Future Agriscience Teacher Symposium was the greatest event I have attended in terms of professional development as a future agricultural educator. I know that George and I are both so thankful for the opportunity to have attended. We would like to thank the CHS Foundation, DuPont Pioneer, and Growth Energy for sponsoring this event, the National Teach Ag Campaign for hosting, and the Penn State Center for Professional Personnel Development for making it possible for us to attend. 

All 23 future agriculture science teachers thanking our sponsors!
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 TeachAgPSUon Facebookor on our blog.




Victoria Herr

Guest Blogger

Twitter Handle: @Victoria_Herr

2019 Student Teacher Candidate