Thursday, October 19, 2017

After One Year of Being an Educator - Matt Holt's (@mholt5595) Experience

Have you ever been curious to what the first year of a beginning teacher is like? If so, you are in luck for we are diving into the experience that Matt Holt had this past year teaching at Brockway High School in Jefferson County, Pennsylvania. Matt is one of the educators from the #psuaged16 cohort. The communications team had asked him several questions to better understand how his year went as a beginning teacher.

Matt Holt's experience was rather rough as he struggled with new expectations, designing new lessons, and dealing with a group of students who have never met him or only knew of him from outside the classroom. "My first year of teaching was probably the roughest year of my life," he stated. Even though his first year was a really rough transition for him he came out of it stronger and a better teacher. He was able to develop his own classroom expectations, and learned a great deal about classroom management. Even though he had incredible struggles in his first year teaching his piece of advice should not be taken lightly. His advice is, "One piece of advice I would give to any first year teacher is to just stick through it. If you can get through year one, year two becomes so much easier and I'm sure it will continue to get better after this." Matt's experience has given him more strength to succeed in being an educator.


He has had two incredibly inspiring moments in his first year educating. His first moment was when a student had blown up in front of him, and walked out of the classroom. Matt did not say a word to him, and after he had left a student had asked him how he was able to handle that with a straight face. It made him realize that one student can affect the entire atmosphere of the classroom, and how important it is to rebound from those situations. His second inspiring moment isn't negatively inspired, but rather sentimental in value. He had a student come talk to him after class about his father who died from cancer. Matt was able to relate to this student for his dad is dying from cancer. He stated, "It made me realize just how important forming bonds with your students outside of the classroom can really be." He says that his favorite part of being an agricultural educator is seeing a student who is having a hard time learning the material, and then finally understanding it especially when it is a difficult topic.



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.




Luke Kerstetter
Student Blogger
Twitter Handle: @lmkerstetter96
2020 Agricultural Education Student Teacher




Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Welcoming #psuaged21 member, Sam Loy, to the #TeachAg family!

Sam Loy and the Nittany Lion shrine.
 Penn State #TeachAg would like to extend a big welcome to new Nittany Lion and #psuaged21 member Sam Loy!

Sam comes from rural Perry County, where he grew up on the family farm where they raised chickens and vegetables. Although he wasn't heavily involved in agriculture, he said "I grew up in an Agriculturally friendly environment", as he told of  a family history saturated with prominent agriculturalists, including the founder of Loysville, PA, a St. Louis Cardinals player that build barns all across Perry County, and one of the lawyers and Pennsylvania representatives that drafted the bill to create Little Buffalo State Park, situated along the Susquehanna River. He decided to join the Greenwood FFA Chapter, led by Ms. Krista Pontius (@KristaPontius) and Mr. Michael Clark, in the 7th grade, where from there he became heavily involved in the organization, serving as the chapter parliamentarian, chapter president, and receiving his Keystone Degree, the highest degree awarded by the Pennsylvania FFA Association. He participated in several Career Development Events and Leadership Development Events, including food science, plant science, and his favorite, parliamentary procedure.
Sam with his Keystone Degree.

Sam's decision to come to Penn State came after he found how much he loved FFA, and he says he has a passion for teaching. We asked Sam if he has any advice for those thinking about going for a degree in Agriculture and Extension Education, and he says, "It’s a sure fire way to get a job doing something that directly impacts any kid in your classroom." He feels that Agricultural Education is important because, "it harnesses student’s passions for agriculture and pairs it with things like networking, job skills, and public speaking and creates a generation of agriculturalists that have the tools to help better the world." 

We wish Sam the best of luck as he starts off his time at Penn State working towards a degree in Agriculture and Extension Education, and we look forward to seeing what he brings to the #psuaged21 team in the coming years!



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.





Hunter Kauffman, Student Blogger
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
The Pennsylvania State University
Email: hlk5120@psu.edu
Instagram: kauffman_hunter




After One Year of Being an Educator - Jenna Timmons's (@jitimmons) Experience

Have you ever wondered how the first year of being an agricultural educator goes for that beginning teacher? If so, you are in luck for we are diving into the experience that Jenna Timmons had this past year teaching at Gettysburg High School in Adams County. She is one of the educators from the #psuaged16 cohort. The communications team had asked her several questions to better understand how her year went as a beginning teacher.

Her first year was an unique and interesting experience. She had felt unprepared somedays as she was entering the classroom and somedays where she thought to herself, "What did I even teach today?" However, she had realized that she has what it takes to be an effective teacher and that she will strive and try harder tomorrow. She believes that she did okay in her first year as an educator. She had increased that student numbers in the department and class size which made her feel accomplished. Her confidence has boosted for she has grown in her professional role as being a successful educated person who was fortunate to earn a role at a great school. She explained, "In addition, my confidence in being able to control a class and create purposeful lessons for a class has increased and allowed me to stand in front of a class or a room full of FFA members and know that I am adding value and purpose to my students’ lives."

Her piece of advice for beginning teachers is just as significant as her teaching experience. Her advice is, "Do not give up and do not quit. You had this dream for a reason and you need to see it through. It will get better, I promise." She also added that the student who appreciates you needs you! During her first year she came upon an inspiring moment when she was able to incorporate her students with special needs into their planting of spring plants. She realized that she gave them an opportunity that they would not have had otherwise. The thing she enjoys the most is the diversity of agriculture. She teaches small gas engines and welding in the morning to turn around in the afternoon to teach horticulture. She loves the difference of content and students. Her students keep her learning and constantly growing as a leader.

Penn State Teach Ag is proud of all that Jenna has accomplished in one year, and we are excited to see what she can accomplish throughout her career.




Luke Kerstetter

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @lmkerstetter96

2020 Agricultural Education Student Teacher






Friday, October 13, 2017

Catching up in Senegal with Olivia Murphy-Sweet (@OSweetMurph)

Olivia Murphy-Sweet officially joined the Peace Corps
in September of 2017.
It's time to catch up with #psuaged16 member and Peace Corps member Olivia Murphy-Sweet from all the way in Senegal!

Olivia's decision to join the Peace Corps came after a life full of travel and international experience. She had traveled internationally multiple times, including a trip to Belize in 2015 to complete her undergraduate research looking at how agricultural knowledge is passed down. Through these experiences, she was able to integrate herself into local cultures and meet new people. "I wanted to join Peace Corps to continue to have those experiences and to learn what it was like to live with people who are different than me." When she got the news that she was accepted and traveling to Senegal, she was naturally ecstatic.

Ms. Murphy-Sweet currently serves as a Sustainable Agricultural Specialist, which requires her to teach through garden groups, seed extension, and many secondary projects that don't necessarily relate to agriculture. "Having an Agriculture Education degree allows one to be very versatile in whatever job they want to do." 

Olivia working on a component of the water line
for her water grant project.
Although her decision to join the Peace Corps isn't a typical one, she says that her degree in Agriculture and Extension Education prepared her well, and was able to help her teach in such a broad setting as hers. "I went a little off the beaten path and used my degree on a more international level than staying in America." Through her education she learned how to think critically with her projects, create lesson plans for the formations she leads in the village, and helped her be able to apply what she does know about agriculture to her current position. She just finished her first year of service, and now has one more to go, being complete in December of 2018.

Olivia says her favorite part of Senegal would be her village, and all those that reside there. "I have countless friends and great work partners that help me with projects." One of her most recent projects was a water grant, where she worked with her community to provide water to an area outside of their village. She was amazed at how well everyone worked together to help each other through the duration of the project.

Olivia (3rd from left), with a group of fellow volunteers in Senegal.
We asked Ms. Murphy-Sweet if she has any advice for those pursuing a degree in Agriculture and Extension Education. Her response; "Do it! It will open up doors if you are willing to be creative and accomplish your goals whether it is in the classroom or not. Once you have the degree, the possibilities are endless." Her degree helped her to open up a very unique opportunity, allowing her to challenge herself while experience a community that would help her through every step of the way. Olivia's experience is proof of the diversity of opportunities that an Ag Ed degree can give you. We want to thank Olivia for sharing with us, and wish her the best of luck as she finishes out her service to the Peace Corps!





Hunter Kauffman, Student Blogger
Wildlife and Fisheries Science 
The Pennsylvania State University
Email: hlk5120@psu.edu
Instagram: kauffman_hunter

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

After One Year of Being an Educator - Katherine Ranck's (@klranck) Experience

Have you ever wondered what it is like to be a beginning teacher? If this has been one of your questions that still has yet to be answered you will be inspired by Katie Ranck's experience. Katie Ranck is part of the #psuaged16 cohort, and was employed in the state of Maryland at North Hartford High School as an agricultural educator for her first year. She has returned to PA teaching at Garden Spot High School this current school year. This past year was her first year as an educator so lets dive in to her experience to get inspired to Teach Ag!

Her first year as an educator was a little different as she taught in a different state than she was trained in. Her first experience was learning how Maryland's system and contests worked which increased her learning curve. She had a hard time balancing life and work causing her to put most of her time into her work. Even though she had struggles she still enjoyed teaching, and she is excited to be back in Pennsylvania teaching. Her experiences had led her to being able to adapt as she explains, "After teaching for a year, I have learned to adapt to each student and their individual learning needs. This help me develop more compassionate and aware of what could be happening in students lives outside the school walls." She suggests that it is best to use the resources you have, and do your job the way you know how. Her piece of advice to teacher that have just begun educating she proclaims, "Make intentional efforts to make friends within the building. It is beneficial to know other teachers when you need help, need someone to talk to, or even when they are discussing another teacher or class to know who it is." 

Her most inspiring moment was when she was in her last week of teaching in Maryland her upperclassmen made her a poster wishing her well in Pennsylvania. Her thoughts are best put in her words, "That meant a lot because I was only there 7 months and, I, like the students knew what a great relationship we had and I felt great that they knew how awesome it was." She enjoys being an agricultural educator because of the students and the diversity of content. She says that the students are unpredictable and creative even though they can be frustrating. The content diversity keeps it interesting for her and her students. She loves the surprise of a new topic or lesson that gets them excited.

Katie Ranck had some struggles when she began, but she overcame them to do her best in educating and inspiring the future generation. We are proud of your efforts as an educator, and wish you the best for your future years as an agricultural educator.



Luke Kerstetter

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @lmkerstetter96

2020 Agricultural Education Student Teacher





Friday, October 6, 2017

College of Ag Sciences Alumni Society Award presented to #psuaged19 member Victoria Herr (@Victoria_Herr)

Victoria and two of the Lehigh Valley Zoo's education animals.
It's a wonderful thing to see our #psuaged students achieve, and from time to time, we like to recognize their hard work and achievements.  Therefore, we want to take the time to congratulate #psuaged19 member Victoria Herr (@Victoria_Herr) for winning the annual $1000 internship award from the College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society for her summer internship with the Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville, PA.

When asked what motivated her to apply for the internship, Victoria said she always had a passion for the outdoors and working with animals. "...growing up, I dreamed of being a zoo keeper or having my own show on Animal Planet. "Although she admits her goals have changed a bit since that time, she still holds the same passion. She came across the Lehigh Valley Zoo at Ag Career Day in her freshman year at Penn State. After reading about their Conservation Education internship, her sights were set, and she prepared for the next career day, where she scored an interview and was hired to serve in the Conservation Education position for this past summer.

During her internship, she had the opportunity to lead zoo tours, nature hikes, creek studies, and educated guests on native plants and animals. At the end of her time, she had easily completed hundreds of hours teaching, and she was able to give educational presentations on over 30 different animals in the zoo!

Victoria and Doug, and African Grey Parrot, and one of
the Lehigh Valley Zoo's education animals.
'On-the-job' experience is important, she says, and even in a non-formal setting there's lots to learn. Victoria says, "I’ve had a lot of people ask me how this internship was relevant to my career and I don’t think they realize just how relevant it was!" She continued to explain how such a different environment allowed her to pick up on a variety of teaching techniques and gain many unique experiences, which will make her a better teacher in the long run. Seeing education from the non-formal side allowed her to contextualize what she has been learning in the classroom for the previous two years and get a handle on essential skills for teaching, such as public speaking and overcoming common teaching obstacles.

Victoria admitted that it was very hard to pin down one favorite thing about her summer, but the impact that she was able to make on visitors was meaningful to her. "I believe that a connection to nature is a really important thing that our society is really pushing further and further away so getting the chance, even for a few minutes, to help people make that connection was a really incredible thing." 


When asked if she has any advice for those thinking about a career in Agricultural Education, she says to go for it; "Whether or not you see yourself in a classroom, there are so many opportunities for a career with a degree in Ag Ed." Victoria truly believes in the great experiences and wide breadth of knowledge that the major gives you access to. "That opens the door to so many careers, seriously!" She encourages AEE majors not to just look at formal Ag Ed internships, but rather look at a variety of opportunities that get you out and in front of people. Victoria's internship is a prime example of just one of the many opportunities that a degree in Agriculture and Extension Education can lead to.

If you're interested in her time at the Lehigh Valley Zoo, check out Victoria's blog about her experiences this past summer!

We're proud to see a fellow #psuaged member be recognized for her hard work and dedication to agricultural education! We wish Victoria the best of luck in her future career as an agricultural educator!



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.





Hunter Kauffman, Student Blogger
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
The Pennsylvania State University
Email: hlk5120@psu.edu
Instagram: kauffman_hunter

Thursday, October 5, 2017

September and October Students of the Month: Allyson Balmer (@allyson_balmer) and Macy Fisher (@macy_fisher)

Every month, we like to highlight students that have gone above and beyond in the Agriculture Education department! We are excited to announce that Allyson Balmer (@allyson_balmer) was selected as the student of the month for September, and Macy Fisher (@macy_fisher) was selected for the month of October. Let's learn about their accomplishments so far:

Allyson Balmer (@allyson_balmer)


Allyson is currently a senior majoring in Agriculture and Extension Education. She plans to graduate in the spring of 2018. Her interest came from growing up on her family's dairy farm, where she says she has been instilled with the desire to teach others about agriculture. Being an agricultural educator is a great passion of hers. "Today's society is so far removed from the farm and it is my responsibility, as a future educator, to develop well-informed consumers." 

Allyson is pretty busy outside of the classroom, being the reporter for Collegiate FFA, as well as a member of Teach Ag! Society, the Dairy Chairman and Livestock Committee member of the Manheim Community Farm Show, and a 4-H Leader for the Lebanon County Cedar Crest 4-H Dairy Club. 

Fun Facts about Allyson:
Hometown: Manheim, PA
Birthday: July 10th
Favorite PSU Class: AEE Classes and AGECO 154
Favorite Place to Eat in State College: Hands-down, Panda Express and Chick-fil-A
Favorite Athletic Team/Sport: Penn State and the New England Patriots
Favorite Thing about PSU: "The one aspect about Penn State that I really like and think is unique is how much EVERY student shows pride in the university. Whether there is a home football game or the middle of the week, Penn State students create a great atmosphere of camaraderie and school spirit."  

Macy Fisher (@macy_fisher)


Macy Fisher is currently a senior majoring in Agriculture and Extension Education, also graduating in the spring of 2018. Her passion for agriculture stemmed from her upbringing on her family's dairy farm. By the time she entered high school, she instantly became dedicated to her agriculture program and the FFA. Ms. Fisher says that she was inspired by her agriculture teacher, and she motivated her to want to teach agriculture. "Knowing that I not only wanted to be an Ag teacher, but to be the best Ag teacher I could be, I knew that I had to come to Penn State." She also speaks of Penn State's AEE department, saying, "I knew that they would prepare me in the best ways possible to go out and cultivate the young minds of future leaders." 

Outside of classes, Macy is currently the Jr. Adviser of Collegiate FFA, a member of Teach Ag! Society and Dairy Science Club, as well as an assistant leader for Beyond the Barn 4-H Club and Coach for the Captain Jack FFA Square Dance. 

Fun Facts about Macy:
Hometown: McVeytown, PA
Birthday: February 14th
Favorite PSU Class: AEE 350 and ANSC 225
Favorite Place to Eat in State College: Wings Over and Texas Roadhouse
Favorite Thing about PSU: "I love how the staff and professors in our department are so dedicated to student success.  Not only are they helping us to strive academically but they are also always there to help us with stress, worries, concerns; they really listen to us!"


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.






Hunter Kauffman, Student Blogger
Wildlife and Fisheries Science 
The Pennsylvania State University
Email: hlk5120@psu.edu
Instagram: kauffman_hunter


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Second Year Series: Check-In with Hannah Harris (@han_lou93) of #psuaged15

It's great to keep in touch with our past #TeachAgPSU graduates! By reaching out, we get to learn from the struggles and successes of past #psuaged members, and see what kinds of awesome things they're up to in the classroom and beyond!

Ms. Hannah Harris, #psuaged15 member, with the Nittany Lion Shrine.

In the first post of our Second Year Series for this year, we had the opportunity to catch up with #psuaged15 member, and 2015 Penn State graduate Hannah Harris. 

Ms. Harris was hired in 2016 as the Agriculture Teacher of Troy Area High School, located in Bradford County, PA, where she teaches a wide variety of classes ranging from Animal and Plant production, to Forestry and Power Machine Technology.

We asked Ms. Harris what her most inspiring moment as an agricultural educator has been the past two years, and she says, " It's hard to narrow it down to one event." She goes on to say that one of her best moments was a visit from the Pennsylvania Secretary of Education, Mr. Pedro Rivera. Rivera came to tour Troy Area High School during a visit of several STEM education programs throughout the Commonwealth this fall. Speaking of that visit, she says, "...the best moment was when my perpetually shy student stood right up and volunteered to show him around. She talked his ear off about what we do and showed him out metal shop and I couldn't have been more proud." 
Ms. Hannah Harris (L), alongside some of her students and Mr. Pedro Rivera (R).

A large part of teaching is about adaptability; finding what works and what doesn't within your program and your district. She quickly found that it was important for her, as a teacher, to get others involved in her program. We asked Ms. Harris what she is doing differently compared to her first year teaching, and she says, "...It takes a little extra time to communicate with my officers but it's extremely important that I have learned to delegate certain task for them to complete." 

Ms. Harris's dedication to her students and Troy's Ag program is paying off; not only in these seemingly large breakthroughs, but in small ways as well. Harris stresses the importance of promoting your program, and recommends to ensure that proper time is given to reach out to the community. "I moved to a place that I didn't know and didn't have any friends or family around but that was okay! Go out, meet people, meet teachers, farmers, stakeholders, parents, anyone one that you can. You will never guess how essential those relationships are." She also says to follow through; be sure articles are written, posts are being made, and to get your program out there. "PR is always worth the time." 

We thank Ms. Harris for the wisdom, and wish her the best of luck in continuing her teaching career while making an impact on the students and community of Troy Area High School!





Hunter Kauffman, Student Blogger
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
The Pennsylvania State University
Email: hlk5120@psu.edu
Instagram: kauffman_hunter

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

After One Year of Being an Educator - Janae McMichael's (@kjmcmichael) Experience

Have you ever wondered how the first year of being an agricultural educator goes for that beginning teacher? If so, you are in luck for we are diving into the experience that Janae McMichael had this past year teaching at Lampeter-Strausburg High School in Lancaster County. She is one of the educators from the #psuaged16 cohort. The communications team had asked her several questions to better understand how her year went as a beginning teacher.

Janae had explained that her first year of being an educator was amazing and the best job ever. She enjoys how it is the most craziest, busiest, most stretching, and most rewarding job. Being an agricultural educator she had said, "I’ve learned a lot this past year and grown a lot. When I say a lot, I mean a lot! I think the biggest change I’ve seen in myself now that’ve got a year under my belt, is that you just have to give yourself some grace from time to time. I’ve learned to embrace the crazy and the chaos all in the honor of learning. I think I also learned the true value of just jumping in, both feet for whatever will come your way." She continues to learn everyday by asking questions and looking into resources in her built network of people. She believes that using seasoned teachers and industry professionals to better understand and apply knowledge to help educate her students. Her piece of advice to new teachers is, "Honor your time. Pick one day of the week where you leave at 3pm when everyone else does, a seasoned teacher called it “Walk Out Wednesday” and I’ve coined the same. That “white space” in my schedule where I went home and read my book or worked in my flower beds or headed to the gym has been and will surely continue to be so healthy for me. You can only fully serve your kiddos when you take care of yourself too!" 

Janae was inspired by the support from her administration and community when they hosted a showcase event in celebration of Pennsylvania AFNR Careers Week and Lancaster County Agriculture Week. She was also proud of her students who convinced their assistant superintendent to run a weld beed in one of their welding booths. She most enjoys being able to provide career opportunities for students. She stated, "Agriculture Education provides a unique platform to students to acquire the skills necessary to make them more marketable employees. I also love that I get the chance to daily influence the future of our industry." Janae absolutely loves her career as an agricultural educator and her first year was tremendous for her! We are glad you are providing opportunities for students, and doing the best you can to educate our future generations!



Luke Kerstetter

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @lmkerstetter96

2020 Agricultural Education Student Teacher









Monday, September 25, 2017

PSU Teach Ag at Wine and Swine Celebration of Blue Corduroy (@PAFFAAlumni)

On September 23, 2017 the 1st Annual Wine and Swine Celebration of Blue Corduroy was held at The Winery at Hunter's Valley. The Pennsylvania FFA Alumni had hosted the event to raise funds for the First Year FFA Jacket campaign. Throughout the night there was a silent auction for chapter baskets as well as other auction items with the money going towards FFA Jackets. Teach Ag was invited to go to represent Penn State at the event. Each of our student cohorts were represented which included George Dietrich #psuaged18, Victoria Herr #psuaged19, Luke Kerstetter #psuaged20, Alicia Gates #psuaged20, Libby Baker-Mikesell #psuaged21, and Sam Loy #psuaged21. It was a casual event with yard games featured for entertainment. Overall the event was successful, entertaining, and Teach Ag was exemplified well by our cohort representatives.
Left to Right - Luke Kerstetter, Beth Winklosky, George Dietrich, Victoria Herr, Sam Loy, Libby Baker-Mikesell, Alicia Gates


Luke Kerstetter

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @lmkerstetter96

2020 Agricultural Education Student Teacher

Friday, September 22, 2017

Welcome to the #TeachAg Family, Libby Baker-Mikesell (@baker_mi16)!


Libby Baker-Mikesell at the Nittany Lion Shrine.
@TeachAgPSU would like to give a warm welcome to Libby Baker-Mikesell (@baker_mi16) as she joinst the #TeachAg family! After completing her term of service as the Pennsylvania FFA State President, she's ready to take on the next commitment as a Freshman in the Agricultural Extension & Education major, and a member of the #psuaged21 cohort.

Since serving as a state FFA officer in the 2016-17 year, Libby has gained a deeper appreciation for those in the agriculture industry that work to provide us the food we eat every day. We asked Libby what skills she's gained as a state officer that will help her as a future educator, and she said, "...some of the best lessons were learned in the classroom. One of my favorite things I got to do this year was facilitating workshops for high school students. Planning and conducting leadership and agriculture based workshops and investing time into planning effective lessons will help in my future career. Teaching classes with limited resources has taught me to be flexible in lesson planning, timing, and in modifying lessons for students." 


Welcome to the @PSUTeachAg family!
Libby is more than familiar with the agriculture industry, growing up on her family's beef farm and spending a lot of time in her mother's Ag Ed classroom at Greenwood High School in Juniata County. Libby attended Greenwood High School and went through the agricultural education program led by Ms. Krista Pontius (@KristaPontius) and Mr. Michael Clark. It was here that she says her passion for agriculture was realized and her FFA journey began. She was active in the Parliamentary Procedure CDE and Agriscience Fair. She also maintained Agriscience Research, Beef Entrepreneurship, and On-farm Placement SAE projects as well.

She said her decision to teach Ag was made after, "Seeing firsthand the impact that my mother made on her students and in turn, my Ag teachers on myself and my classmates..."  She's excited to be able to combine her love of teaching with her passion for agriculture into a degree in Agricultural Education. Libby sees the agricultural education classroom as a place to make connections and forge relationships with students as they grow over their high school careers. Given the importance of agriculture in our history, as well as its importance in feeding a growing world, Libby says that Agricultural Education is our chance to show students that everyone has their own role in the industry, and Ag Ed programs teach our students how they can "be a key player in creating a world that is no longer food-insecure."

Finally, we asked Libby if she has any advice for those that are thinking about a career in Agricultural Education. She sees agricultural education as a unique opportunity for all; "You can walk into an Ag classroom and see the special education student sitting beside the straight-A student and the star of the football team. There is a place for everyone within the Ag classroom, and it is a privilege to teach all students about the importance of America’s number one industry." 

We wish Libby the best of luck as she begins a new journey down the exciting path of becoming an Agricultural Educator. Surely her passion for agriculture and valuable experiences as a State FFA Officer will help to positively shape her experiences in the AEE program. Welcome to the @TeachAgPSU family!



Hunter Kauffman, Student Blogger
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
The Pennsylvania State University
Email: hlk5120@psu.edu
Instagram: kauffman_hunter

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Congratulations Nathan Repetz (@N8_Repetz); #psuaged17 member Hired!

A big congratulations to Mr. Nathan Repetz, #psuaged17 member and 2017 graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, who was just hired onto the educational team at Benton Area Middle-Senior High School in Benton, PA.

In Nathan's time at Penn State, he was heavily involved throughout the University, being a member of Teach Ag! Society (taking part in their yearly Domestic Study Away), the Teach Ag! Avengers, a brother of Alpha Zeta, and even on the Penn State Altoona Cross Country team.

When asked what the most interesting thing about his student teaching experience was, Repetz said, "I enjoyed challenging my own content knowledge in welding and plant science with eager students, top notch facilities, and veteran teachers. I also enjoyed getting to know the surrounding community through the program. It was those connections that brought me this opportunity." Nathan's case is a prime example of the value in the connections  made through the student teacher preparation program; Central Columbia High School is only about 20 miles away from his new home in the Benton School District.

Mr. Repetz teaching during one of his shop classes at Central Columbia. 
Mr. Repetz gets a very unique opportunity, joining alongside #psuaged11 member and fellow Penn State graduate Ms. Amanda Hack as he shapes a new Ag Mechanization program for the school. After Benton's previous tech-ed teacher left the school district, the school's shop facility and it's corresponding classroom have been sitting empty for the past year.

It's exciting to see new life brought to that learning space as Nathan fills the tech-ed role and gets to create his own unique blend of traditional shop classes and agricultural classes to meet the needs and interests of his students and the community. Mr. Repetz will be teaching a variety of subjects, including Power Machinery, Building Trades, Woodworking, Advanced Woodworking, Intro to Ag Mechanics, and 8th Grade Ag and Forestry.

When asked what advice he has for students looking to enter Ag Ed, Mr. Repetz replied that, "It really is a lifestyle choice, not a job. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you are at all interested in teaching Ag, there are great resources to explore the opportunities. You may find that this is for you, or you may find that it is not. That’s OK! If you don’t check it out you already made that choice, so don’t limit yourself!"

We asked Nathan about his new job, and the life ahead of him, and he said, "I'm right where I need to be." We're excited to see Mr. Repetz step into this new position, and are wishing him the best of luck as he moves forward in his career!




Hunter Kauffman, Student Blogger
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
The Pennsylvania State University
Email: hlk5120@psu.edu
Instagram: kauffman_hunter

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Congratulations Matthew Rider (@mvr5027); #psuaged17 member Hired!

Matthew Rider and the Penn State Nittany Lion Shrine.
Matthew Rider has been hired by Stuart's Draft High School in Augusta County, Virginia. The recent graduate of The Pennsylvania State University, and #psuaged17 member, now has an opportunity to put his skills to the test and grow professionally and personally as the newest member of the agricultural education team at the school.

During his time at Penn State, Matthew took advantage of numerous opportunities, being part of the Penn State Soil Judging team and a brother of Penn State's chapter of Alpha Tau Alpha , the National Professional Honorary Fraternity for Agricultural Education. 

His initial teaching experience took place at Tyrone Area High School, where he taught for the Spring semester of 2016 under the advice of experienced teacher Ms. Tiffany Hoy (@hoytffany). Just one of the many interesting topics that Mr. Rider said he was able to teach at Tyrone was "...how to introduce yourself in a professional setting"

Mr. Rider with one of his students.
In his new position at Stuart's Draft High School, he will be working alongside his cooperating teacher, Mr. Berry Gray. Although Matthew is stepping into an agricultural education program that's over 40 years old, and making quite a far move from his home in State College, he is more than optimistic about his new job, stating the famous quote from movie 'Forrest Gump', "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get.

Stuart's Draft owns a small animal facility as well as a student garden that Mr. Rider will surely make use of. Some of the primary classes Mr. Rider will be teaching are Small and Large Animal Science, Greenhouse Production, and Floriculture. A piece of advice he leaves with students looking into agricultural education is that it's serious business, but you can't be too serious. 

We wish the best of luck to Matthew Rider as he steps into his new career, and look forward to seeing the impact he makes in the lives of his students!





Hunter Kauffman, Student Blogger
Wildlife and Fisheries Science
The Pennsylvania State University
Email: hlk5120@psu.edu
Instagram: kauffman_hunter

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Throwback Thursday: Fives Years of #TeachAg Excellence

Throwback Thursday

Five Years of #TeachAg Excellence


To celebrate this weeks #TBT we are going back to look at the #TeachAg Excellence from the last Five Years of Student Teaching Candidates.  

#PSUAgEd17 :

#PSUAgEd17

Some fun facts:
  • Taught 46 unique classes during the 2017 Spring Semester totally 106 units of instruction
  • Has earned a total of 8 unique majors and minors
To learn more check out their own highlights blog:


#PSUAgEd16 : 

#PSUAgEd16

Some fun facts:
  • Taught 71 unique classes during the 2017 Spring Semester totally 159 units of instruction
  • Has earned a total of 11 unique majors and minors
To learn more check out their own highlights blog:



#PSUAgEd15 : 

#PSUAgEd15

Some fun facts:
  • Taught 102 unique classes during the 2017 Spring Semester totally 202 units of instruction
  • Has earned a total of 16 unique majors and minors
To learn more check out their own highlights blog:

#PSUAgEd14 : 

#PSUAgEd14

Some fun facts:
  • Taught 104 unique classes during the 2017 Spring Semester totally 222 units of instruction
  • Has earned a total of 17 unique majors and minors
To learn more check out their own highlights blog:

#PSUAgEd13 : 

#PSUAgEd13

Some fun facts:
  • Taught 74 unique classes during the 2017 Spring Semester totally 159 units of instruction
  • Has earned a total of 13 unique majors and minors
To learn more check out their own highlights blog:





George Dietrich, Student Blogger
Twitter Handle: @TheGeorge4H
#PSUAgEd18 Member
Cumberland Valley Student Teaching Canidate