Tuesday, April 25, 2017

@TeachAgPSU Family Creed


The @TeachAgPSU Family Creed

Composed by #psuaged17 and #psuaged18

Inspired by the Ag Teachers Creed from @NAAE

We believe in activating the purpose, passion and potential of agricultural education that has inspired the Penn State TeachAg Community.

We are committed to always learning together to build our Ag Ed community to find a way to thrive while honoring the process!

We believe in the process of passing on the gift of our knowledge and experiences.

We believe that knowing your skills and recognizing weaknesses will allow you to better elevate your students’ potential and show them they matter.

True mentorship occurs when we take every opportunity granted to ensure that our interactions with other are meaningful and positive for all involved.

We will always strive to help our fellow PSU Ag Ed family members by sharing resources and experiences so that we can always leave the woodpile higher.

It is family. It is support. It is unique to itself, as a whole and to each individual.

Watch the the cohorts share below!







Monday, April 24, 2017

The Magnificent SEVEN returns: #psuaged17 shares impact

Our Magnificent SEVEN 2017 Penn State Agricultural Education Student Teachers (#psuaged17 on Twitter - Check it out!)  return today, April 24th, for their post-internship seminar! They have spent the last fifteen weeks completing internships in secondary schools across Pennsylvania!


The PSU Teach Ag! Program thanks each of you for the role you have played in their educational journey. Below is a snapshot of this incredible group of students accomplishments. To learn more about the individual candidates, please view the PSU Teach Ag! Student Showcase: http://teachagpsu.blogspot.com/2017/02/magnificent-7-student-showcase.html.






As a group, the #psuaged17 interns:

  • Taught 46 different classes to students from K-12th grades that are 40 minute periods to 90 minute “block” periods in length.


  • Delivered 106 units of instruction on topics from leadership development, agricultural mechanics, environmental sciences & natural resources, plant sciences, animal sciences and much more!


  • Impacted the lives of 571 individual students


  • Helped their cooperating centers earn and implement $10,247 of extramural funding assisted from grants, sponsorships, and fundraisers..


  • Lead students in 292 hours of community service


  • Has Earned (or will earn) degrees from 4 areas:
    • Agricultural & Extension Education (B.S.); Agricultural & Extension Education (M.S.); Horticulture (B.S.); International Agriculture Development (Dual Title, M.S.);


  • Obtained 4 Minors/areas of emphasis:
    • Business; International Agriculture; Environmental Soil Science; Spanish


  • Participated in Global Learning in 13 Countries, including:
    • Belize; Canada; Costa Rica, Czech Republic, France; Gibraltar (Territory);  Hungary,  Iraq, Mexico; Morocco; Nicaragua; Peru; Spain

    • Completed THREE Domestic Study Away Programs in, Colorado (Service Learning Pedagogy with Farm to School Initiatives), Mississippi (Financial Literacy through agricultural education in Appalachia Areas, and Tennessee (STEM in agricultural education in rural and urban settings)

    • Will have members who are Pennsylvania Certified (with reciprocity in more than 45 states) in the following 3 areas:  Agriscience K-12; Environmental Science; General Science

    • Earned 10 different Additional Certifications/Accreditation/Licenses, including(listed alphabetically):
      • Accredited Parliamentarians from the Society of Agricultural Education Parliamentarians; Basic Archery Instructor; Beef Quality Assurance; Commercial Driver’s License (CDL); CPI Non-Violent Crisis Prevention; First Aid/CPR/AED Certification; Food Science ServSafe Certification; National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation Instructors; OSHA 10-hr Safety Course in Construction Safety and Health; Pork Quality Assurance;

    • Completed 7 SLO/action research projects during their internship, including:
      • Literacy and Vocabulary in Agriscience
      • Exploring student expression of conceptual knowledge through varied assessment.
      • Beef Quality Assurance delivered through online course design.
      • Effects of Prior Experiences on Performance
      • Literacy Strategies Through Reflection Exercises
      • Student choice in unit projects impact on understanding of unit objectives
      • The Effectiveness of Note card "Cheat Sheets" as a Study Aid for Written Summative Assessments

    • Completed 7 custom learning projects (DIY Teacher Education) for their center, including:
      • SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) Career Exploration Project.
      • Exploring connection with TangerKIDS grants.
      • In-between the rows SAE highlights in the Local newspaper
      • The Artisan Market Product Guide
      • Online Leadership Course
      • Columbia County Ag Safety Day
      • Agriculture Program Promotion on Orchard Management Unit with Centre Daily Times

    • Completed 2 research projects, including:
      • Identifying characteristics of effective contextually relevant Spanish language immersion experiences in Turriabla, Costa Rica
      • A comparison of youth perceptions of entrepreneurship in rural Pennsylvania and Nicaragua.

    • Involved in 21 professional organizations, including(listed alphabetically):
      • Ag Club, Penn State Altoona; Alpha Tau Alpha, National Agricultural Education Honorary; Alpha Zeta; Association of Career & Technical Education; Association for International Agriculture and Rural Development; Boy Scouts of America; Collegiate 4-H, Penn State; Collegiate FFA , Penn State; International Agriculture and Development Graduate Student Association; Graduate Student Association, AEE, Penn State; Gamma Sigma Delta; Grange- Penn State, National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE); Navigators - Christian Fellowship, Penn State; North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture; Pennsylvania Association of Agricultural Educators (PAAE); Pennsylvania FFA Alumni; Students for Cultivating Change - Penn State; Teach Ag! Society, Penn State; Young Farmers; Wisconsin  FFA Alumni

    • Gained experience or have been employed with over 22 different relevant jobs/Internships including (listed alphabetically):
      • Anna’s House Outreach Center; The Arboretum at Penn State; Brightview Landscaping; BYU-Idaho Orchard and Greenhouse Manager; Cedar Meadow Swine; Center for Professional and Personal Development, Penn State; Fleming Landscape; Global Teach Ag! Initiative, Penn State; Kaye Soils Laboratory, Penn State;  Mohala Farms (Oahu, HI); National Association of Agricultural Educators; National FFA Organization; Pennsylvania FFA Association; Pennsylvania Farm Bureau;  PSU Extension - Chester County; PSU Farm Operations and Services; PSU Swine Center; Roohan Realty; Student Farm at Penn State;  United States Liability Insurance Group; Vivayic, Inc.; WSWHE BOCES Horticulture CTE School; World Food Prize

    • Fun Facts about #psuaged17:
      • Taught an agricultural biology class that is paired with the general biology course which every sophomore takes!
      • Family legacies in agriculture: One candidate is named after my Great Grandmother who turns 93 this year and still lives on the family dairy farm.
      • Includes a proud veteran of our Armed Forces
      • Coordinates the Badlands Jackpot Show
      • Served as a PSU TeachAg! Avenger!
      • Served as a National Teach Ag! Ambassador
      • Is fluent in Spanish!
      • Former State Level 4H and FFA Officers from multiple states!
      • Professional Commercial Drivers
      • Division III Varsity Cross-Country Athletes
      • Completed a two year mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints
      • Shared scholarship at multiple university wide and national research conferences.

    To learn more about their specific student teaching experiences, check out their professional blogs and follow them on Twitter:

    • Michael Cahill (@cahillms89). Journey to Teacherhood. Cooperating Center: Bald Eagle HS;
      Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity!
    • Kayla Hack (@HackKayla). Send Me. Cooperating Center: Pequea Valley HS;
      Post Graduate Plans: New Wayne Highlands (PA) Agriscience Teacher!
    • Miranda Kane (@mir_kane). No Kane, No Gain. Cooperating Center: Greenwood HS (Millerstown, PA); Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity!
    • Nathan Repetz (@N8_Repetz). Firing on all Cylinders. Cooperating Center: Central Columbia HS (Bloomsburg, PA); Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity!
    • Matthew Rider (@mvr5027). Erudition’s Neck of Woods. Cooperating Center: Tyrone Area HS; Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity!
    • Matt Snyder (@snyder6878). Growing Roots in Dirty Boots. Cooperating Center: Mifflinburg HS; Post Graduate Plans: Returning to Penn State!
    • Evelyn Zaleksi (@CuteEvyAnn). Finding our Purpose. Cooperating Center: McGuffey H.S; Post Graduate Plans: Seeking Opportunity!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Dr. Edgar Yoder's PSU Legacy

After 39 years as faculty at Penn State, Dr. Edgar Yoder is retiring as a Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education.  Previously, Dr. Yoder had served 10 years as a high school agriculture teacher and principal in Ohio and Virginia. Without a doubt, he is leaving behind a legacy of success in the classroom and research outside of class at Penn State University. His 39 years at Penn State, "Went by really fast with lots of changes," he said. 

When Dr. Yoder was completing his agriculture student teaching internship, he was asked by his supervising teacher to write a two page letter to the school district superintendent stating why he wanted to be an agriculture teacher and why agricultural education was important in a high school curriculum. After the end of the first week his supervising teacher and the superintendent met and discussed philosophy of education and the role of agricultural education in public education. Dr. Yoder's philosophy on agricultural education: 


1.      Agricultural educators, in fact educators in general, have two primary goals.
a.     First, as educators we assist learners in preparing for life to earn a living, contributing to society by assuming civic and social responsibilities and contributing to the improvement of the communities in which they live.
b.     Second as educators we facilitate the development of learners’ abilities for thinking critically and addressing a broad range of social, economic, cultural and professional related issues impacted by the agricultural sector.

2.     To address those two goals as an agricultural educator I have a responsibility to provide learners with realistic and authentic learning situations.  This provides learners with opportunities to develop their skills, abilities and apply their knowledge within the social context environment of the community in which they live and work.  This means learning is much more than taking a test or passing an exam.  Learning is for real life!

3.     Teaching and learning is a democratic process in which the teacher and learner are active participants.  The agricultural educator facilitates an active learning process.  The learner is not a passive receptacle but is an engaged participant in the process.  As a teacher I learn from the students.  It is impossible for the agricultural educator to have all the answers.  As an agricultural educator you desire to have students develop the capacity to become lifelong learners and knowledgeable about resources to access to help address issues important to them.

4.      As an agricultural educator I have a unique opportunity to be a change agent in the lives of learners.  Dr. Lenkiatis reminded me in our conversation that each student was important, and that as the ag student teacher I was expected to be flexible, within reason, for providing a variety of learning activities so that students with a variety of abilities could find success in their learning.

5.     Agricultural education is a unique, community based program for youth development.  Mr. Weir knew that I had been very competitive in sports, FFA and 4-H.  His words were “It is the youngster inside the FFA jacket that should be the focus.  You will be remembered in the long run for how you helped that youngster using the resources available through ag education (vocational agriculture back then).  You will not be remembered in the long run for how many judging contests were won, how many times the FFA chapter was a top ten state chapter, how many state FFA recipients, etc.”

6.     Appreciate your successes and learn from your mistakes and criticisms. 

Left-Right; Ed Yoder, Russel Reading, Jim Diamond,
Ellen Duckworth, MeeCee Baker
Infront; Richard Grubb
Dr. Yoder has integrated his philosophy into the classroom by focusing on the person instead of the FFA jacket. He has borrowed strategies from other teachers that have modeled effective teaching as well. A piece of wisdom he shared was: 

"You have to be yourself in an ever changing environment. That means some of your values and beliefs are going to be challenged as educational reforms and changes are constantly proposed. In my personal view, I believe with all the educational reform efforts and proposed changes, the core components of school based Agricultural Education programs provide the foundation for making all education relevant and truly reform education." 

He suggests a few ideas of how to deal with change based on the book Who Moved My Cheese, 

  • Change Happens--They Keep Moving the Cheese
  • Anticipate Change--Be Ready For the Cheese To Move
  • Monitor Change--Smell the Cheese Often So You Know When It Is Getting Old
  • Adapt To Change Quickly--The Quicker You Let Go Of Old Cheese, the Sooner You Can Enjoy New Cheese
  • Change--Move with the Cheese
  • Enjoy Change!--Savor the Adventure and Enjoy The Taste Of New Cheese!
  • Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again--They Keep Moving the Cheese.



Dr. Yoder's career choice was inspired by his high school agriculture teacher Mr. Ken Smith.  Mr. Smith convinced Dr. Yoder to not limit his career options because of his Amish heritage and limited resources. Mr. Smith was a guide, role model, coach, mentor, counselor, and friend to Dr. Yoder. Mr. Smith was being an agriculture teacher, and doing what they do best. He credits agricultural education, through significant role models for motivating him to become a teacher of teachers. His passion for agriculture started when he was young as his family was always involved within the agriculture sector. He realized through an experience organizing a field trip to a dairy farm for a urban school group that far too many people really do not understand the importance of agriculture in their lives. After the field trip the students refused to drink the milk in the cafeteria because it came from dirty cows. 

In his opinion the most important aspect about agricultural education is its uniqueness, and it should be a model for all education. When he was a principal he often would refer back to the basic aspects of agriculture education to resolve issues. Dr. Yoder would visit student's homes, on farms, and businesses as an agriculture teacher and as principal because it helped him understand what the student was experiencing outside of school. Agriculture education made an impact on his life as a teacher of the program using the resources available. The students had impacted his understanding and appreciation for the influence of cultural and economic factors in daily life decisions. He has learned that students reinforce how interdependent we are and how much further we have to go. Learning is a life long endeavor. His favorite part of being an agricultural educator is the people and the relationships and opportunities to work with others that have a commitment to education and agriculture collectively working to enhance the lives of others. Learning to do, Doing to learn, Earning to live, Living to serve.

Over the past 39 years Dr. Yoder has made a lot of great memories with the people (students, faculty, staff, parents, etc.) and activities/events. He doesn't view leaving as taking anything away besides maybe two paper clips, but rather he sees it as making a positive contribution to making Penn State a better education institution. He hopes that he contributed to students having  positive experience as they completed their education at Penn State. We are KNOW you have Dr. Yoder. Thank you for your 39 years of wisdom and inspiration! 

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