Monday, June 26, 2017

Honoring the @TeachAgPSU Legacy: Ed Yoder

Guests gather and listen to the kind
words spoken about Dr. Yoder.
On June 14, 2017 during the PA FFA State Convention, the Penn State Ag Ed (@TeachAgPSU) family gathered to celebrate Dr. Ed Yoder  and recognize him for his dedication and vast contributions to the Agricultural Education field. Dr. Yoder will retire from Penn State as a Professor of Agriculture and Extension Education after having served 49 years in the profession .

Dr. Yoder not only was showered in praises for his work and past stories of inspiration at a retirement party hosted by fellow faculty, but he will forever have a keepsake in the form of a scrapbook that has touching memories and words of adornment from co-workers, past students and industry leaders.

Dr. Radhakrishna speaks about Dr. Yoder's impact on his career.
Secretary Redding speaks about Dr.
Yoder's  contributions to the Commonwealth.
Following the cheerful reception, Dr. Yoder was recognized at the 88th Pennsylvania State FFA Convention.  He received his Honorary FFA Degree which goes to individuals who have demonstrated outstanding service and support to agriculture education and the FFA.  This is a prestigious award in our state and only those who have been nominated and approved can receive this honor.  This was not the end of the celebration of just how much Dr. Yoder has influenced and contributed to agriculture education over the years. 

Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding also presented Dr. Yoder with a Citation in recognition of his career. This Citation recognized Dr. Yoder as a distinguished member of not only Penn State but of the agriculture education family.  His career embodied research, education and science committed to meeting the challenges in agriculture education.He has taught hundreds, possibly thousands, of students through his career, one of which being the Secretary Of Agriculture himself, Russell Redding.  As a stadium filled with over 1475 FFA members, advisors and guests watched this great and noble educator receive his award, Russell Redding proclaimed the impacts he has felt from Dr. Yoder.  "As your student, which I consider myself even today, I can only be inspired by the legacy you leave and know that other you have impacted feel the same measure of appreciation for their experiences. 
Powerful photo of Three generations of PSU AEE Majors:
(L) Libby Baker-Mikesell (C) Secretary Russell Redding
(L) Dr. Ed Yoder)

Dr. Yoder was presented this Citation with Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, 1982 Penn State graduate in Ag Ed, on one side and Pennsylvania State FFA President Libby Baker-Mikesell, incoming Penn State freshman in Ag Ed, on the other side.  This was a truly motivating and inspiriting moment of the convention.  We wish Dr. Yoder well in all of his future endeavors and are elated and proud to always have him as part of our PSU Ag Ed Family.  In the words of  Russell Redding, "When I think of Penn State as our land grant and the difference this institution and its people can make in the lives of students, you are perhaps its greatest example." 

Macy Fisher, Student Blogger
Twitter Handle: @macy_fisher
#psuaged18 member
2018 Selinsgrove Student Teacher

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Victoria Herr (@Victoria_Herr) is Living to Serve as National #TeachAg Ambassador!

Victoria Herr, National Teach
Ag Ambassador
A @TeachAGPSU star  has been chosen from nationwide pool of student applicants to serve as a National Teach Ag Ambassador! Our very own Victoria Herr (Victoria_Herr) will be spending the next year as a member of the team of 12 National Teach Ag Ambassadors.

Victoria Herr is a junior at Penn state majoring in Agriculture Education and member of the 2019 Ag Ed cohort (#psuaged19). She served as the 2014-2015 Pennsylvania State FFA (@PA_FFA) Secretary and is very dedicated student who is involved with the Teach Ag! Society, Alpha Tau Alpha and numerous other clubs on campus that are motivated to teach others about the agriculture industry. When asked what drew her to apply to become a Teach Ag Ambassador, Victoria said “One of the main reasons I was drawn to apply is because I love to talk about and advocate for agriculture education. I’m a very talkative and passionate person so when I get to talk about something I love, I always enjoy it! I knew that serving as a National Teach Ag Ambassador would give me lots of opportunities to meet prospective Ag teachers and encourage them on their journeys! I also think it’s always really important to give back; I have always had mentors in Ag Ed and I wanted to do the same for other students!”

Victoria at the Alpha Tau Alpha
inductee ceremony.
A Teach Ag Ambassador, Victoria’s main goal will to be to encourage others to consider a career as an Agriculture Educator. She will do this by sharing her passion and enthusiasm about the industry and profession with others through emails, social media, presentations and other outlets that include the campaign at the National FFA (@NationalFFA) Convention. She will also work with local and state leaders in agriculture education to inspire youth to pursue a major and career in agriculture education. Victoria is most excited about “…the National FFA Convention because I will get to spend the week with the rest of the other National Teach Ag Ambassadors and we will get a lot of time with FFA members! National Convention is always a special time and I’m excited to be spending this upcoming convention in a different role. I have spent several years at National Convention myself as a member and can now spend the week serving the FFA members!”

There is an ongoing shortage of agriculture teachers across the country. There are numerous retirements, new programs opening, current programs expanding and teachers going on to pursue other opportunities every year which lead to this shortage. This is why it is so important for the Teach Ag Ambassadors to promote and help students find their passion to teach! National Teach Ag Campaign Project Director, Ellen Thompson expresses why the ambassadors are imperative to the growth of the profession when she stated,
“As the number of agricultural education programs continues to grow, we need more quality and diverse agriculture teachers to fill the roles. The ambassador program gives us an opportunity to deliver the Teach Ag message to a bigger audience, while investing in the next generation of agriculture teachers.”
Ellen Thompson (@ellencthompson),
National Teach 
Ag Campaign Project Director
As mentioned earlier, Victoria will be spending her year of service with eleven other college students hailing from various institutes across the nations ranging from Oregon State University all the way to Florida A&M University. Each of these new Ambassadors are just as passionate about the Agriculture Industry and Agriculture Education as Victoria is. When asked why it is important to serve as an Ambassador, Victoria said:

I think it is important for students in our major to consider serving in a position such as National Teach Ag Ambassador because it allows them to gain a lot of experience as well as give back. Opportunities like this give student lots of public speaking experience, facilitating and planning experience, and allows them to make lots of connections. And as I mentioned before, I think it’s really important to give back. When we think about it, most of us have been influenced by past teachers and students, so now it’s our turn to do that. I hope that through my role as an Ambassador, I am able to encourage my peers to take on similar positions!”

Victoria (#psuaged19) along with George Dietrich (@TheGeorge4H), left (#psuaged18),
represented @TeachAgPSU in the 2017 Penn State Homecoming Parade!

Macy Fisher, Student Blogger
Twitter Handle: @macy_fisher
#psuaged18 member
2018 Selinsgrove Student Teacher

Monday, June 19, 2017

Evelyn Zaleski (@CuteEvyAnn) HIRED!! #psuaged17 member hired at Davey Tree (@DaveyTree) in Virginia!

Evelyn Zaleski #psuaged17

Zaleski in the McGuffey greenhouse.

2017 Penn State Graduate, Evelyn Zaleski (@CuteEvyAnn) is quickly putting her Agriculture and Extension Education degree to work as she was recently hired at the Davey Tree Expert Company (@DaveyTree) in Gainesville, Virginia. Her official job title is the Mid-Atlantic Recruiting Coordinator where she will get to travel throughout her region consisting of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia preforming her duties. Some of her duties require her to create and teach lesson plans at schools as part of her recruiting tactics; this is where her degree and classroom experience come in perfect!

Evelyn teaching Ag students.
As mentioned, Evelyn is a 2017 graduate of Penn State where she was an active member of the Teach Ag! Society, Collegiate FFA and Students for Cultivating Change. She also served as the President of the Penn State Grange. She completed her student teaching experience in Washington County, Pennsylvania at McGuffey High School under the guidance of her cooperating teachers Renee Cambruzzi (@cambruzzir) and John Leasure. While teaching an array of classes ranging from Greenhouse Management, Floral and Landscape Design, both Introduction and Advanced Mechanics, and several others she has gained unique experiences and made lasting memories. Some of the interesting things she was able to do during her experience was harvest honey from the bee hives the FFA cares for, host a Career Development Event, and attended a local 4-H meeting to interact with the community. 

When asked what her favorite memory of student teaching was, Evelyn said “I don’t have one specific favorite memory, but I definitely loved having my students dissect plants to learn the parts of a flower because they were so interested and excited to learn. I also was amazed when the students had a benefit dinner for another Ag teacher who was really sick. The kids and community came together to put on such a great event and were able to raise over $13,000.00 in just 6 hours! I also had such fun with my students, especially when they decided to try and do the mannequin challenge!” 
McGuffey student working on a
floriculture project.

Evelyn is originally from Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania so her new job will definitely take her from her hometown but she is excited to see new places and meet new people. While working at Davey Tree Expert Company, she will be meeting with managers from all over her region and getting to know the members of each crew. She will also be responsible for finding candidates for jobs and be in charge of their hiring process. While recruiting people to work for Davey, she will be traveling to career fairs, schools, and meeting people in the forestry industry to teach them of Davey Tree Experts and the career possibilities available. Evelyn has already been working for three weeks and says “I really enjoy meeting all these new and interesting people, the employees who are climbing trees are my favorite though.” This is probably because while attending Penn State, she was able to take a class on tree climbing and she ended up loving every day of that class. She also was drawn to this job because it is such a unique position where she is able to interact with all different types of people and it is an employee owned company which means she can use part of her salary to purchase stock and own part of the company; this is a great opportunity for a young college graduate! Davey Tree Expert is also very environmentally conscious. They have flooring that is made of all recycled materials, use natural lighting in the building, and all the water is filtered and recycled. 

Zaleski & Cambruzzi teaching a
 flower arranging class.

“My job is really cool! We are allowed to bring our dogs to work which makes for a great work atmosphere. We also have a green roof where we can eat lunch and we have walking trails behind the building that we are encouraged to use when we need a break from daily tasks! Between traveling to different crews and the other aspects of my job, I have only had to work in my office two times so far of my three weeks here!”

As Evelyn goes forth from Penn State, she would like to leave this advice for students looking to pursue a degree in Agriculture Education, “First of all dive in! Close your eyes and immerse yourself into whatever you are doing. And once you have worked hard and reached the finish line, take a moment to realize what an accomplishment you have made! This is a major where you never stop improving and learning, ever after you graduate! I may not currently be an agriculture teacher but I am still part of the PSU Ag Ed family and that is something that you can easily an honor that you carry with you for the rest of your life!”

Macy Fisher, Student Blogger
Twitter Handle: @macy_fisher
#psuaged18 member
2018 Selinsgrove Student Teacher

Monday, June 12, 2017

Core Values of @TeachAgPSU

Our inspirational task is diligently focus on cultivating, inspiring, coaching, developing and mentoring generations of IMPACTFUL agriscience teachers.

At a recent @TeachAGPSU Purpose Session when exploring our "WHY" [See Video Below], our agricultural teacher education faculty (Dr. John Ewing, @jce122; Dr. Kevin Curry, @KevinWCurry; Dr. Laura Rice, @LauraSankeyRice; and Dr. Daniel Foster, @FosterDanielD) articulated the Vision, Mission and top 10 core values of the @TeachAgPSU Agricultural Teacher Preparation Program. 


With a team effort (like our great students who share the @TeachAgPSU Family Creed here), we are confident that we be a part of the solution for schools and communities across the world.


To develop digitally-literate, globally minded 21st century positive agents of change for agricultural education.


@TeachAgPSU develops agriscience teachers who are prepared to teach where learners are in need. 

Core Values of the
PSU Agriscience Teacher Preparation Program

The Penn State Agriscience Teacher Education Program cultivates and values agriscience teachers who are:

I. Philosophically sound in career technical education principles and the three component model of agricultural education including applied STEM classroom instruction, work-based learning (Supervised Agricultural Experience), and the leadership laboratory of youth organizations (FFA) 

II. Inclusive of ALL students and value diversity in their classrooms. 

III. Skilled in technical agricultural science content knowledge.

IV. Prepared to utilize effective pedagogical methods to successfully plan, implement, and assess agriscience instruction to impact student learning.

V. Reflective practitioners devoted to lifelong learning.

VI. Servant-leaders in the classroom, school, and community.

VII. Committed to the engagement of external stakeholders in a purposeful, systematic process for enhanced student, school, and community success.

VIII. Committed, life-long members of a professional learning community prepared to integrate cross-curricular learning opportunities.

IX. Dedicated to academic proficiency while prioritizing the scholastic growth of all students.

X. Digitally-literate, connected educators who are progressive in adopting appropriate technologies to advance professional growth and student learning.

We welcome your comments and thoughts on our reflective process! Thank you for sharing.