AEC Review | Fall 2014

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UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and Communication | Fall 2014 | AEC Review


  • Department of Agricultural Education and Communication

    AECREVIEWfall 2014

  • LEttEr from thE DEpArtmEnt ChAirfALL | 2014We hope you enjoy this latest issue of our AEC Department newsletter! the stories

    within provide a glimpse of the many projects and initiatives underway in the Department at any given time. We continue to proactively chart our future and seek opportunities to further advance the Department in all areas. our current Strategic plan includes the revised vision and mission statements shown below, along with the strategic goals currently under pursuit by our faculty/staff team.

    the vision of the AEC Department is to be distinguished by our impact on practice, value to stakeholders, scholarly contributions to the discipline, and leadership in the profession.

    the mission of the AEC Department is to serve society by advancing individuals and organizations in agriculture and natural resources through research and evidence-based practice in education, communication, and leadership.

    Strategic Goals:1. Strengthen graduate and undergraduate

    programs as distinguishing features of the department.

    2. Strengthen professional development programs provided to stakeholder groups.

    3. maximize the visibility and impact of AEC research and extension programs.

    4. Develop and promote AEC as a leader in online learning.

    faculty leadership teams are actively pursuing each of these strategic goals, and well chart our progress over the next two years. our outstanding AEC staff members constitute a high performing team that is also fully engaged in our continuing quest to become a better department tomorrow than we are today.

    We value and appreciate the opportunity we have been given to positively impact the lives of people and organizations in agriculture and natural resources, and we look forward to many productive partnerships in the year ahead!

    Go Gators!

    2 | fALL 2014

    o n t h e c o v e rTrinidad & Tobago: Over spring break 2014, faculty and graduate students took a trip to the two Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago to conduct research on food security and nutrition in a developing country. The goal was to raise awareness of these issues and to develop reusable learning objects (RLOs) to encourage students to think more critically to find solutions to these problems.

    Photo credit: ThinkStock

    Dr. ED OsbOrnE

  • LEttEr from thE DEpArtmEnt ChAirfALL | 2014


    o n t h e c o v e r





    DEpArtmEntAL buzz

    StuDEnt SpotLiGht

    ALumni SpotLiGht

    Agricultural education in south koreafaculty members deliver agricultural education programs in S. Korea

    AEC Goes Global: Trinidad & Tobagofaculty & grad students conduct research at university of West indies

    Transforming Leadership EducationAEC leadership workgroup aims to transform leadership education

    Developing future Leaders in Agriculturethree students participate in ffAs nLCSo conference

    Student Spotlight: Miranda Craigmiranda interns on the campaign trail for Circuit Judge mary thatcher

    Student Spotlight: Morgan Edwardsmorgan interns for united States representative ted Yoho

    Student Spotlight: Elise StoddardElise works as a director for ffAs Washington Leadership Conference

    Student Spotlight: Sydney StoneSydney interns for the market place, an Ag. marketing company

    Alumni Feature: Tiffany Daletiffany works as Academic Support Services Coordinator for AEC

    Alumni Feature: Andrea DavisAndrea works as Coordinator of Education media & Comm. for AEC

    Alumni Feature: Erin NessmithErin works as Academic Support Services Coordinator for AEC








    305 Rolfs HallPO Box 110540Gainesville, FL 32611-0540


    UF/IFASDepartment ofAgricultural Educationand Communication

    Fall 2014 |published biannually

    EditorAndrea Davis

    WritersErica AddisonLaura-Kaitlyn boatrightShelby brooksKaylee brummettmiranda Craigmorgan Davismorgan EdwardsAndrew GocekJaron JonesShelby oesterreicherEllen SharpeKalli SharpeApril WalkerCharlotte Yanes

    Graphic DesignerAndrea Davis

    Copy Editorricky telgEd osborne

    Alumni Feature: Hilary Holleyhilary works as Agricultural Education Coordinator for fDACS

    SpECiAL fEAturES


    AEC Awards & Accomplishments

    The Gator Nation is Everywhere: PhD Placement

    Scholarships & Endowments

    Staff Retreat; New Faces in AEC

    Dr. ED OsbOrnE

    The Perfect ProposalAEC graduate students marriage proposal goes viral04



    by Laura-Kaitlyn boatright

    4 | fALL 2014

  • Two Department of Agricultural Education and Communication graduate students marriage proposal video went viral on Oct. 20, after the video was uploaded to YouTube with almost 2 million views in 24 hours.

    Levy randolph and Tiffany rogers are pursuing masters degrees in agricultural education and communication at the University of Florida. both randolph and rogers are past National FFA officers. Randolph and Rogers first met in Pasadena, California, at the rose bowl Parade in January 2010, and they shared a brief conversation before attending the game with a group of friends, randolph said.

    Throughout the video, rogers was surprised by her sister and several of her close friends to get her nails done, go dress shopping and enjoy their time together. Along her journey, rogers received letters from randolph that provided further instructions for the day.

    I was in shock and disbelief throughout the most of it, rogers said. I was completely surprised and had so many questions about how this was all happening.

    In the video, rogers meets up with family after spending time with close friends before meeting up with randolph. rogers father escorted her, blindfolded, from the limousine to the rose bowls field, where Randolph proposed.

    We had talked about our future and getting married for quite some time, rogers said. The day had the perfect ending.

    Along with the friends and family of the newly engaged couple, Ashton Kutcher, Huffington Post and Cosmopolitan were among the

    many who viewed and shared the proposal video, randolph said.

    We never expected anything like that to happen, rogers said. Its awesome that they found it to be something worth sharing.

    After rogers said yes, family and friends rushed the field to congratulate the couple.

    It all seemed so surreal that the day was finally here and that he had made it into such a romantic and grand gesture, rogers said. I felt so blessed and fortunate to be able to spend that day with all of our family and friends.

    randolph said the wedding date is yet to be decided, but the couple is looking at December 2016.

    Overall, it was just really neat to see people share in something we had been waiting for for so long, randolph said.

    Candlelight Films produced the marriage proposal video.

    To view the video, visit the link: (

    by Laura-Kaitlyn boatright

    it all seemed so

    surreal that the day was finally

    here and that he

    had made it into such a

    romantic and grand gesture.

    DEpArtmEntAL buzz


  • 6 | fALL 2014


    by kaylee brummett

  • DEpArtmEntAL buzz


    AGrICULTUrAL EDUCATIOn A professor in the University of Floridas Department

    of Agricultural Education and Communication helped develop a program that allows university students and practicing teachers to gain a better perspective of global agricultural education while studying abroad.

    Partnering with faculty from Pennsylvania state University, AEC professor Kirby barrick escorted students and new faculty members to the republic of Korea.

    students should study abroad, and I think the most valuable study abroad programs are those that are closely related to the students major, barrick said. better yet to go someplace and see things that are related to what you want to do in life.

    searching for a partnership to coordinate study abroad trips, barrick pursued Penn state because of its similar AEC program. by collaborating with Penn state, untenured faculty members have also been given the opportunity to go abroad.

    I also have this underlying mission to help young faculty have international experiences without eating up too much of their career, barrick said.

    Along with barricks newly acquired team, the republic of Korea was chosen to be the destination of these study abroad trips. Much like schools in the United states, the republic of Korea teaches agriculture in high schools and prepares teachers of agriculture at its universities.

    before journeying to Korea, UF and Penn state students were required to take a 10-week course that provided details about Korean agriculture, education, history and culture.

    A grant to help fund the 2012 study abroad trip was given by

    Fulbright-Hays, a part of the United states Department of Education.

    The trip was to be a minimum of four weeks in length, allowing for a more adaptive learning experience. secondly, an equal number of practicing teachers and undergraduate students were to travel on the trip. Grantees were also required to attend 20 hours of intensive language learning during their stay.

    Attempting to learn a language really gave us a better appreciation for our International students here at the University of Florida, barrick said. My heart just goes out to them.

    On the 2012 study abroad trip, the eight travelers from Florida spent time in both metropolitan and rural areas. During the first week they created short lessons to teach at the schools that would be visited later during the trip. The lessons covered simple topics such as planting crops systematically and how to communicate the importance of agriculture.

    The team delivered the micro-

    lessons to suwon High school for Agriculture sciences, suncheon National University and Gwang-Ju national University. suncheon has a Department of Agricultural Education and Gwang-Ju focuses on preparing elementary education agricultural teachers.

    University of Florida faculty member Andrew Thoron was also able to join the team and travel to Korea. It was the job of faculty members to oversee the undergraduate students as they presented their micro-lessons.

    One of my favorite parts of the trip was working and interacting with students at the universities, Thoron said. building relationships with the students led to getting to know them better, which leads to them being more comfortable asking questions, which leads to knowing more in-depth information and about their real culture.

    After students from the United states traveled to Korea in 2012, the Republic of Korea sent five students to the United states the following year. While hoping for a continuance of this year-to-year rotation, Barrick said it may be difficult to facilitate study abroad trips to students in Korea. students often fear the progress in their studies will be slowed, as it is a highly competitive process to gain acceptance into universities, he said.

    by kaylee brummett

    attempting to learn a language gave us a better

    appreciation for our


    here at the university of


    Pictured in photo:Dr. Kirby barrick with students from Suwon high School for Agriculture Sciences.

  • 8 | fALL 2014

    Over spring break 2014, an agricultural education and communication graduate student traveled to two Caribbean islands to experience a new culture and to conduct research to help others.

    Doctoral student Chris Mott was one of five AEC graduate students who traveled to the Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago to conduct research on nutrition and food security.

    The goal was to bring awareness to food security and nutrition in a developing country, Mott said. It was also to develop reusable learning objects for students in America and build critical thinking and

    creativity skills in developing solutions.

    Motts research focused on different views and observations on the issues of nutrition and food security in Trinidad. From these different perspectives two main concerns were brought to attention: their lack of knowledge of nutrition and food security, Mott said.

    The research gathered from the University of West Indies campus focused on students and their diets. Mott observed that their diet is based on culturally specific foods and fast food or chain restaurants.

    Their idea of good food is Kentucky Fried Chicken, Mott said. Its the most popular fast

    food chain in the country. The research focused on the

    locals and their interpretations of nutrition and food security in Trinidad. Mott said 90 percent of Trinidads food is imported, which means agriculture in Trinidads culture is lacking.

    Mott was also able to gather information from a nutritional expert and hear her opinion on nutrition and food security. The expert believed that Trinidads people were only receiving three out of the five categories in the food group pyramid, Mott said.

    Once Mott had observed and experienced these different perspectives of the Trinidad citizens, he was able to bring back his research to develop

    by Andrew Gocek


  • DEpArtmEntAL buzz


    a reusable learning object. The reusable learning object is structured for viewers to use their own critical and creative thinking skills for a solution to Trinidads food security and nutrition issues, he said.

    The learning outcome is based on three videos that Mott narrated, explaining his research and observations in Trinidad, and can be viewed at Handouts and discussion questions follow the videos, allowing students to apply skills and improve problem solving.

    I tried to capture the sights and sounds of the situation in Trinidad for students here in America to gain a glimpse of this countrys lack of agriculture and need for positive nutritional messages, Mott said. Its my hope students can use critical and creative thinking for problem solving.

    by Andrew Gocek


    the goal was to bring

    awareness to food security

    and nutrition

    in a developing country.

  • 10 | fALL 2014

    Once a month, the Agricultural Education and Communication Leadership Education Workgroup at the University of Florida assembles to discuss innovative methods in which to transform how to teach and apply leadership education.

    Led by assistant professor Tony Andenoro, the workgroups main learning goal is to transform leadership learning at the University of Florida into something thats compatible with the needs of society.

    Currently I just feel like our educational system, especially within leadership education, is antiquated, and we really need to reconsider it, Andenoro said.

    Andenoro said the leadership workgroups vision is that if leadership educators can come together and at least change how leadership is taught and applied at UF, that it could potentially change how leadership education programs at other universities teach and apply leadership as well.

    We do this by looking at the why of leadership education and probably more importantly the who, he said.

    by carefully identifying the needs of its student population and outside stakeholders,

    the leadership workgroup is better equipped to understand the needs of those it serves, Andenoro said.

    The workgroup conducted meetings over a two-month time span discussing the why and the who of leadership education with the goal of creating a better experience for leadership educators, students and stakeholders.

    More simply put, were doing this because leadership education needs us to, Andenoro said.

    The leadership workgroup members hope to encourage students and educators to meet the needs of their organizations through complex problem solving, rather than focusing on content, he said.

    What I like about the leadership workgroup is that it provides graduate students an opportunity to apply what we learn in the classroom directly to the needs of the organizations around us, said Janine Parker, a third-year doctoral student and advocate for the leadership workgroup.

    Parker said she really likes that everyone involved with the workgroup feels valued and that each persons perspective is

    needed and wanted. The workgroup works

    with industry professionals, stakeholder groups, researchers and a variety of students to provide as many perspectives as possible to assist in learning what those within leadership education need to focus on, Andenoro said.

    Once the workgroup understands the needs of everyone involved within a given organization, the workgroup members brainstorm on how to meet each persons needs most effectively, he said.

    The members within the leadership workgroup believe that through critical reflection, challenge-based learning, team-based learning, using innovative approaches and other new methodologies, that they are really pushing the bounds of leadership education, Andenoro said. From using these methods within the workgroup, the result is that leadership educators and students learn how to solve complex problems, enhance creativity, enhance critical thinking and many other things that assist each person in transforming their organizations.


    by Jaron Jones


  • DEpArtmEntAL buzz

    11 | AECREVIEW

    Three Agricultural Education and Communication students traveled across the nation to facilitate the national Leadership Conference for State Officers (nLCsO) for the national FFA Organization this summer.

    Clay sapp, Joenelle Futrell and Levy randolph are past national FFA officers who wanted to give back to an organization that gave them so much over the years. randolph and Futrell facilitated two nLCsOs this summer and sapp facilitated three.

    Ive been dedicated to the organization for an extended period of time, and I jumped at the chance to develop my teaching skills, Futrell said.

    nLCsO is a conference where state leaders in FFA come together and learn skills and leadership techniques they will need in order to be successful during their year as state officers, sapp said. They gain the tools necessary to teach FFA members within their respective states about agriculture, leadership and FFA, randolph said.

    Effectively sharing the message of agriculture and FFA is imperative to the success of the organization, and nLCsO is a huge proponent of getting the right message out there, sapp said.


    by Jaron Jones

    The conference focused on state officers and their team dynamic, as well as problem solving and team building, sapp said. nLCsO is one of two conferences developed by FFA, including another conference called blast Off which focuses on individual leadership development, sapp said.

    The number of state officers at the conference ranged from 16 to 58. The weeklong conferences allowed the facilitators and state officers to build strong long-term relationships, Futrell said.

    I still keep in contact with several of them and continue to strengthen my relationships, Futrell said. I have become a mentor to a few of the state officers I taught.

    National officers do not get to build long-term relationships with members, Futrell said, because they mainly facilitate one-day workshops to students.

    I am a product of nLCsO, and it greatly contributed to my experiences as a state officer and even made me want to run for national office, Randolph said.

    randolph facilitated the Washington Leadership Conference (WLC) for three years prior to his time as an nLCsO facilitator. At WLC he worked with high school students, but decided he wanted to try

    something different for his last year of facilitating with the organization.

    What interested me about nLCsO is that it was sort of a trickle-down conference, by getting to impact and work with the state leaders and knowing that they were going to take what they learned at nLCsO and impact students in their own states, randolph said. I felt like I was reaching a much bigger crowd.

    The state officers are the hands and feet of FFA because they reach the local chapters and have so much influence within their states, sapp said.

    Getting to see state officers, who I once taught as students, utilize their potential was such a rewarding experience, randolph said.

    The students facilitated with a partner they barely knew. building a solid relationship with their partner was vital to the success of their conference, sapp said.

    sapp said the best thing about facilitating nLCsO was realizing the caliber of leadership and talent the state officers had.

    They are highly driven, highly dedicated and highly excited individuals, sapp said.


    In AGrICULTUrEby Shelby oesterreicher

  • 12 | fALL 2014

    StuDent SPOtLIGhtMIrAnDA CrAIG

    Instead of soaking up the sun at the beach, one agricultural education and communication student spent her summer campaigning and politicking for her hometown candidate.

    For the past five months, University of Florida junior Miranda Craig served on staff for the election campaign for Mary Hatcher for circuit judge, District 5, Group 3.

    Craigs duties included producing campaign literature, organizing and planning events and preparing the candidate for appearances and forums.

    I think I enjoyed assisting Ms. Hatcher the most with her speech-writing because the student became the teacher, Craig said.

    Hatcher said Craig was a valued asset to her campaign.

    she possessed both the intelligence and perseverance to see every assignment through to completion, Hatcher said. she was also very good at communicating and corresponding with event planners.

    Craig said that during the campaign, she learned that statements and beliefs are often misrepresented in politics.

    The experience has opened my eyes to be more aware of the actions of others, and also how vital it is to not only be an effective communicator, but an active listener as well, she said.

    While campaigning, Craig said she met several people who she will never forget. At an event in Leesburg, Florida, Craig met Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantara and his staff. She also met 23-year-old Jennifer sullivan who is now the youngest woman to serve in the Florida Legislature.

    Craig said it was rewarding to support a candidate such as Hatcher, while meeting so many people in her community.

    The relationship I fostered with her will forever hold a place in my heart, and we will always be colleagues, but more importantly friends, Craig said. Ms. Hatcher is a gracious woman who truly wants the best for everyone she encounters.

    Craig continued to serve on the campaign staff until the general election in november. In the future Craig said she would enjoy working for another campaign if she has faith in the candidate and agrees with the candidates views.

    I would jump at the chance to work for a few specific people, like fellow Gators Adam Putnam and Pam bondi, Craig said. They are both an inspiration to me and people who I look up to.

    by morgan Edwards

  • StuDEnt SpotLiGht

    13 | AECREVIEW

    StuDent SPOtLIGhtMOrGAn EDWArDs

    A University of Florida student attained valuable experience through a prestigious summer internship by volunteering for U.s. rep. Ted Yoho in Gainesville, Florida.

    Edwards, a junior at UF, desired to earn a student internship with Yohos office after learning of his service as the only Florida member in the House Committee on Agriculture.

    I applied for this internship because I hoped it would give me peace that I am heading in the right direction with my career path, Edwards, an Agricultural Education and Communication major, said in regards to her future hopes of a career with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer services.

    The experience solidified I am heading toward my calling, and that is comforting to know, Edwards said.

    While at the district office, Edwards was responsible for assisting constituents with personal concerns through telephone conversations

    and written correspondence. Efficiently relaying concerns to Yoho and his staffers proved a vital duty Edwards executed.

    District Director for Yoho, Clay Martin, has worked with the congressional representative for approximately two years. He served as a supervisor for Edwards and her fellow interns during their time at the office.

    Martin, impressed by the leadership characteristics Edwards brought to the workplace, said, Morgan exhibited many leadership qualities, particularly her ability to self-direct and self-motivate. You never had to worry whether she was working toward accomplishing something.

    Aside from operating a multi-line phone, Edwards was responsible for monitoring local publications for Yoho. Edwardss actions enabled Yoho to be familiar with happenings in the district, and allowed him to reach out to individuals who were making a difference in the community.

    It was important that Mr. Yoho maintained relationships with the constituents who put him in office, Edwards said. He showed interest in every individual he came into contact with, and he is one of the most accessible representatives in Florida.

    Edwards admired Yohos importance of work ethic and goal-oriented attitude, she said.

    I witnessed the dedication and time that he puts into his job because he never takes a day off, Edwards said.

    The experience beginning in May and ending in August taught Morgan about herself as well.

    I learned age does not limit my opportunity or knowledge, she said. It gave me confidence knowing that even at 20, I am capable of making a difference and establishing beneficial connections.

    by miranda Craig

  • 14 | fALL 2014

    A University of Florida agricultural education and communication student traveled to Washington, D.C., over the summer to take on the role of director for the national FFA Organizations annual summer seminar.

    UF undergraduate student Elise Stoddard was the first female director to head the Washington Leadership Conference (WLC). stoddard is majoring in agricultural education and communication, with a specialization in agricultural education. she was a Florida FFA state officer from 2010 to 2011 and facilitated the Washington Leadership Conference in 2013.

    I had the coolest job in the world, stoddard said. My favorite parts were watching the staff interact with each other, especially when they encouraged one another and maintained positive attitudes after 13-hour-long days.

    stoddard said her job was being a liaison between all of the logistics and the student program. she helped coach

    the facilitators, observed the students experience, worked closely with the hotel staff and the venues and dealt with disciplinary or medical issues, as needed.

    The purpose of WLC would be to create citizens of the students, stoddard said. The students come up with a Living to serve plan, which holds calculated efforts and is a tangible list that they bring home to start to be the agents of change in their community.

    FFA members from all areas of the country attend the Washington Leadership Conference. The seminar lasts one week, making a total of seven seminars held throughout the summer.

    During the conference, students had the opportunity to visit iconic places such as Arlington national Cemetery, the newseum, the Capitol and other monuments.

    The students participate in a service project that involves packing meals and ultimately benefits the metro D.C. area. The students packed approximately 280,000 meals in total, she said.

    Through big actions or small actions, its all about serving our communities, whether that community be your actual hometown, school, country or world, stoddard said. Good citizenship is what students take away.

    One of the activities students participated in is called Poverty Dinner, also known as the Hunger banquet.

    The students are accurately split up percentage-wise to the worlds income groups, stoddard said. We showed pictures and told stories of the reality for so many people in our world, which was an aha-moment for a lot of people and it is interesting to experience.

    This activity sends a powerful and accurate message of the worlds income and how the world eats, stoddard said.

    Above any other FFA or personal experience, above state office, WLC has been the most amazing thing thats ever happened to me, she said.

    stoddard plans to apply for the director position of WLC for the summer of 2015.


    by Laura-Kaitlyn boatright

    Pictured in photo:Elise Stoddard, second from right, with fellow WLC attendees.

  • 15 | AECREVIEW

    StuDent SPOtLIGhtsYDnEY sTOnE

    A student in the Agricultural Education and Communication Department held a summer internship that provided her with connections in the agricultural communications industry.

    Sydney Stone interned for five months at The Market Place, an agricultural communications and marketing company.

    While stone interned at The Market Place she kept a part-time job, worked at a summer camp, took classes, traveled and enjoyed her last summer before graduation at the University of Florida.

    stone said she had a lot going on during summer but decided she still wanted to take on the internship.

    I feel the internship is paid in full because I am more than grateful that The Market Place was able to cover my travel expenses and that I was given opportunities I never would have had, stone said.

    While interning, she made connections that could lead to a

    full-time job or career.I gained more confidence,

    professional skills in and outside the workplace, stone said.

    stone got to travel in Florida, Alabama and Tennessee. she attended the National Agri-Marketing Association conference in Jacksonville, a client training in Memphis, the Florida Fertilizer and Agrichemical Association annual meeting in naples, the Alabama FFA state Convention in Montgomery, the Florida FFA state Convention in Orlando and the Citrus Expo in Ft. Myers.

    The internship exceeded my expectations because it encompassed such a variety of skills, jobs and adventures, stone said.

    Erin Freel (b.s., AEC) and founder and owner of The Market Place, mentored stone. stone said she enjoyed getting to learn the little things and picked up good tips from Freel that are valuable life lessons.

    Erin Freel has been more than a supervisor to me, stone said. I learned so much

    from her about agricultural communications and life. she has become a friend and someone I can call under any circumstance.

    stone said Freel was exceptional at her job and she gained valuable skills from her time at The Market Place.

    While stone interned, she took on many tasks that taught her about communications, such as writing newsletters, shooting videos, capturing still pictures, updating social media outlets, attending client trainings and selling convention DVDs.

    The Market Place is a very successful and thriving business, with a hometown feel that has a heart for making sure clients are pleased, stone said.

    stone said she was part of the team at The Market Place, not just another face.

    Everyone is so genuine and brings their own unique talents and charisma to the table, she said.

    by morgan Davis

    StuDEnt SpotLiGht

    by Laura-Kaitlyn boatright

    Pictured in photo:Sydney Stone, left, with the market place owner Erin freel.

  • 16 | fALL 2014

    The University of Floridas Plant City campus launched a communication and leadership development specialization for degree-seeking students in 2014, led by a graduate of the Agricultural Education and Communication Department.

    After joining the staff at the Gulf Coast research and Education Center just over a year ago, academic program coordinator and lecturer Tiffany Dale has worked to recruit potential students for the University of Florida Plant City campus newest academic program. High school seniors from Hillsborough County and all surrounding counties have been the main focus, with the intent that they dont have to move to Gainesville in order to obtain a UF degree with a specialization in Communication and Leadership Development.

    We have three students in the Communications and Leadership Development program this semester, Dale

    said, and the next three years will make or break the program.

    The CLD specialization gets students ready to enter the business world with the communication and leadership skills that will help them in their careers. They will be able to be proficient in areas such as digital media, journalism and human resource development, Dale said.

    The Plant City Campus has been given a window of allotted time in order to try and build up the program to be successful. Dale said that they recruit year-around at local job and career fairs as well as at different convention, such as the annual Florida state FFA Convention.

    Its challenging but exciting, Dale said. There is great value in having a campus here in Hillsborough County.

    Along with the Communication and Leadership Development program, the GCrEC offers three other programs, including agricultural education, plant science and geomatics. students can attend classes or gain credits online.

    Having grown up in Plant City, Dale said that the connections she has made over the years have been beneficial to the program. she has been able to keep up personal relationships within the community and maintain industry support through her present and past work history.

    Dale obtained a bachelors degree in agricultural education and communication and a masters in agribusiness. she has worked with the Florida strawberry Growers Association, helped with the hunger crisis campaign HungerU and was a freelance writer for Heartland In The Field magazine. she has experience with media relations, produce sales and substitute teaching, which introduced her to the teaching aspect of agriculture.

    Dale said that she is hopeful that the UF Gulf Coast research and Education Centers new CLD specialization will be a success in the area. she said that she is excited to see what the coming years have to offer.

    At the end of the day, its a group effort with the faculty in Gainesville, Dale said.

    ALumnI SPOtLIGht: tIFFAny DALe

    by April Walker

  • ALumni SpotLiGht

    17 | AECREVIEW

    An agricultural education and communication graduate has taken what she learned from AEC and put her skills to the test in her job at the University of Florida.

    AEC graduate Andrea Davis began her current role as Coordinator of Educational Media and Communications in January 2014. she works on a variety of projects for the department, including a departmental marketing and recruitment plan, which includes an in-depth research component, as well as a university-wide manual web migration the the Terminal 4 content management system.

    In addition to these tasks, Davis also helps faculty promote their individual projects and programs through graphic design and videography.

    I love any opportunity to be creative, Davis said. I work on videos for the department from pre-production to post-production, design departmental promotional materials and research the most effective messaging strategies for communicating AEC to current and prospective students and other stakeholders.

    Davis graduated from UF with a bachelors degree in agricultural education and communication in 2011 and a masters degree in agricultural education and communication in 2013 with an agricultural communications specialization.

    I would highly recommend students to pursue a masters degree in AEC, especially if they have hopes of later earning a Ph.D., Davis said. It was such a positive experience for me and helped me to further develop

    my communication skills, while also providing me with an academically rigorous research background.

    After having the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant for five different AEC courses during graduate school, Davis knew she wanted to pursue a Ph.D. so that she could teach someday. she described the classroom as her happy place.

    Our AEC faculty have been very influential people in my life. Each of them have inspired me to want to do what they do, Davis said. I would love the opportunity to teach students the skills Ive learned and help students to develop the passion for agricultural communications that I have.

    Davis took advantage of her time as a student in the department, interacting with

    peers and faculty and being involved in departmental activities.

    Its crazy that many of my classmates from AEC are the people I still work with to this day, Davis said. Always keep those connections with your peers, because you will more than likely encounter them again somewhere down the road.

    Davis also attributes some of her best life advice to things she learned from AEC professor Dr. ricky Telg.

    I tend to be a little high-strung. One of the most important things Dr. Telg has taught me is to take life one day at a time and to not worry about things you cannot control, she said.

    ALumnI SPOtLIGht: AnDReA DAvIS

    by April Walker

    by Shelby brooks

  • 18 | fALL 2014

    ALumnI SPOtLIGht: eRIn neSSmIth

    A University of Florida Agricultural Education and Communication alumna has now returned to the Gator nation as the academic coordinator and student adviser of the University of Florida Gulf Coast research and Education Center in Plant City, Florida.

    Erin nessmith has also recently taken on the role of teaching the AEC 3033C research and business Writing course online. In addition to her work as a lecturer, nessmith is the primary recruiter for all incoming students and assists prospective students in the admittance process.

    she plans for her experience as a lecturer to evolve into a broader spectrum of AEC courses in the near future, nessmith said. I hope to teach multiple courses as the AEC department grows, she said.

    Nessmith served as the 2005-2006 Florida FFA Area IV state Vice President and graduated

    from UF with a bachelors degree in Agricultural Education and Communication in 2010.

    The FFA Organization has opened so many doors for me and provided me with the skills needed to reach out to students who have an interest in agriculture but never believed they could go to college, nessmith said.

    After receiving her bachelors, nessmith began teaching agricultural education at Galaxy Middle school in Volusia County where she became the schools first FFA adviser in 2010.

    During her first year as an adviser, nessmith coached a state runner Up in the Florida FFA Creed speaking Career Development Event. CDEs are the national FFA Organizations competitive events that focus on leadership, career success, knowledge of agriculture and public speaking.

    nessmith, her husband Tyler, and son brantley moved back to her hometown of Plant City when she became the academic

    coordinator and student adviser of the UF/IFAs Gulf Coast research and Education Center.

    nessmith will also be assisting her former professor ricky Telg in coordinating the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow Professional Development Conference to be held in Kissimmee, Florida in January.

    I really enjoy working alongside my former professors, she said. They have been extremely helpful throughout this entire process.

    nessmith has high hopes for the future of the AEC program at the University of Florida Gulf Coast research and Education Center, she said. I hope to eventually become the professor of multiple AEC courses at UF, nessmith said.

    by Kalli Sharpe

  • ALumni SpotLiGht

    19 | AECREVIEW

    by Kalli Sharpe

    ALumnI SPOtLIGht: hILARy hOLLeyby Ellen Sharpe

    An agricultural education and communication graduate is reaping the benefits of the long hours and effort put in during her time at the University of Florida as she works for the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture.

    AEC alumna Hilary Webb Holley is the agriculture education coordinator for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer services.

    Growing up a fifth-generation Floridian, Holley spent her childhood on a farm where she was first introduced to Florida agriculture, and throughout school was a member of her local 4-H club and later FFA.

    Getting involved in FFA started Holley on the road to Tallahassee as she was elected the FFA state president her senior year of high school and served the state the following year.

    At the time, I didnt know that my time serving FFA would become so beneficial to my future, Holley said.

    During her time as president, Holley made trips to Tallahassee where she presented to the Florida House of representatives and senate, while also meeting with the Florida Legislature and Cabinet.

    These meetings are what inspired Holley to become an agricultural education and communication major at UF.

    I decided I wanted to change my major to agricultural education and communication so that I could serve as an advocate for agriculture in the political world, Holley said.

    not only does she attribute her success to FFA, but also to

    networking throughout high school and her time at UF.

    I would not have gotten the job I have today had it not been for networking, Holley said.

    During her time at UF, she was a member of the Gator Collegiate Cattlewomen, Collegiate Farm bureau and a sorority. These memberships helped Holley form relationships with people who have assisted her in finding her place in the agriculture industry.

    Its all about networking, Holley said. I think that is the most important thing a college student can do is go out and meet the people in the industry and to get to know them and what they do, and it helps when you go to find a job.

    Her goal of becoming an advocate for agriculture in politics took a large step this past summer as she accepted her position serving the Commissioner of Agriculture in Tallahassee.

    As the agriculture education coordinator for the state, Holley serves alongside Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, making appearances with him and even serving in his place on certain occasions.

    Working for Putnam, Holley serves as a liaison for agricultural education programs, such as 4-H, FFA and Agriculture in the Classroom.

    now being paid to represent these clubs and organizations, Holley has come full circle as she attributes her passion for Florida agriculture to these very groups.

    I dont know if I will stay in the political world, but I will always work in agriculture, Holley said.

  • M Award of Excellence in Leadership and

    management Dr. Ricky Telg research paper of the Year Laura Gorham, Dr. Alexa Lamm, Dr. Joy Rumble Article of the Year (Journal of Applied

    Communications) Dr. Joy Rumble, Dr. Emily Buck (Ohio State)






    20 | fALL 2014


    E. b. Knight Journal Award Dr. Christopher Stripling (Univ. of Tenn.), Dr. Glenn Israel, Dr. Grady Roberts

    Jack Everly Award Sarah Burleson, Dr. Brian Myers teaching Award of Excellence Dr. Ricky Telg

    AiAEE fellow Dr. Grady Roberts, Dr. Amy Harder 1st place Student Abstract presentation Janine

    Parker, Dr. Alexa Lamm runner up, Article of the Year Dr. Christopher

    Stripling, Dr. Grady Roberts

    Journal of Agricultural Education Author of the Year (Vol 54) Dr. Andrew Thoron, Dr. Eric Rubenstein (UGA)

    Distinguished research presentation manuscript (1 of 5 awarded from among the 60 papers presented) - Keegan Gay, Dr. Joy Rumble, Dr. Alexa Lamm

    Distinguished research presentation manuscript (1 of 5 awarded from among the 60 papers presented) - Joey Blackburn (Washington State), Shane Robinson (Okla. State), Dr. Alexa Lamm

    runner-up outstanding Dissertation Award Dr. Joy Rumble

    runner-up outstanding masters thesis Award - Kevan Lamm

    outstanding Service Citation, region V Dr. Ed Osborne

  • SpECiAL fEAturESM

    21 | AECREVIEW



    With the support of valued partners and earnings from endowments, the department has awarded nearly $20,000 in scholarships to deserving undergraduate students in the department this year. included in this total are scholarships awarded to AEC students by the florida ffA foundation, florida Cattlewomen, and the Ag institute. With our growing enrollments and the increasing costs of attending college, scholarships have become even more important in making college more affordable for students. Contributions to any of our scholarship funds and endowments are sincerely appreciated.




    Carl E. beeman bishop brothersG. Q. bussellomar Ergle-floyd philmonElton hintonrichard & nell Kellytravis Loftenmax mcGheeCarl & Jean rehwinkelryan rimmermarion rocheJohn & Ethel StephensD. A. Storms

    Cope & Edna newbern Endowment

    John t. barnes Endowment

    in addition, we have just initiated a new campaign to endow a Graduate Student Professional Development Fund, which will support graduate student research, conference travel, and professional development experiences for AEC graduate students.

    GIVINGGifts to any of our funds, as well as general department gifts, can be made online at You may designate your gift for a specific fund in the comments box. Checks should be made payable to University of Florida Foundation and mailed to AEC Department, po box 110540, Gainesville, fL 32611.

  • iGATOr nATIOnour ph.D. GrADuAtES hoLD fACuLtY poSitionS in 27 uniVErSitiES ACroSS thE nAtion.

    Is 1999 the Department

    received approval for a new ph.D. program, and the first students were enrolled in August 2000. Dr. Lori moore (texas A&m) and Dr. John ricketts (tennessee State) were the first ph.D. graduates from the AEC Department, receiving their degrees in may 2003. Since that time, 58 students have earned their ph.D. degree in Agricultural Education and Communication, including December 2014 graduate Dr. Jessica holt.

    22 | fALL 2014


    the AEC faculty has continued to focus the ph.D. program on preparing future faculty, and 44 (76%) of the 58 graduates to date currently hold faculty positions in 27 universities across the nation. in addition, four of our graduates hold leadership positions in international agencies, three are county Extension educators, one is a technical college administrator, and one is in private sector training and development.

    the AEC graduate program continues to be a distinguishing feature and true strength of the department. Combined with perceptions of the quality of our faculty and research, these three elements of the department primarily shape the image of the department held by peers nationally, although other dimensions of our Department (e.g., undergraduate program and extension programs) are equally strong.


    23 | AECREVIEW

    SpECiAL fEAturES


    In november, members of our AEC staff team held an all-day staff retreat at the University of Floridas Austin Carey Memorial Forest. The staff came together to facilitate team building and encourage team growth. The staff members analyzed and discussed essential qualities of team players and got to know each other better through a personality assessment. special thanks to Dr. Ed Osborne for speaking at the staff retreat and to Dr. ricky Telg for administering the True Colors personality assessment. The staff members also came together to develop their own mission statement, which is found below:

    The mission of the AEC staff is to provide support to faculty, students, and stakeholders by promoting teamwork and serving the department to the best of our abilities. We are committed to ensuring the overall success of the department through communication, trust, and strong professional ethics. Additionally, we strive to maintain our departments standing of national preeminence.

    Dr. Dana BighamAssistant Professor, Leadership


    Jennifer WertCoordinator, Challenge 2050


    Raichel WhiteIT specialist

    nEW FACEs In AEC

  • DEpArtmEnt of AGriCuLturAL EDuCAtion AnD CommuniCAtion

    Administrative leaders of agricultural education departments/programs in the u.S. have ranked the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication (AEC) at the university of florida as the top department among the 82 such academic units in the nation. respondents cited the quality of the graduate program, faculty, and research programs as the departments outstanding features.

  • DEpArtmEnt of AGriCuLturAL EDuCAtion AnD CommuniCAtion

    oCtobEr 2014


    305 rolfs hallpo box 110540Gainesville, fL 32611-0540


    UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and Communication

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