AEC Review | Spring 2015

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UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and Communication | AEC Review | Spring 2015


DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION AND COMMUNICATION AECREVIEWspring 2015LETTER FROM THE DEPARTMENT CHAIRSPRING | 2015Energizing! Thats the word I would use to describe the environment in the Department and around the campus today. Our new University President, Dr. Kent Fuchs, has already brought a new level of engagement with students, departments, and stakeholders that is sure to create an even more accomplished academic community at UF and an even greater impact on the citizens of our State. Our Department continues to search for and embrace new opportunities that will have an even more lasting impact on those were serve. Our vision and mission statements were included in our last newsletter and are worth repeating in this issue. They remind us of our Why? and cause us to keep our eyes up and on the horizon as we pursue our daily work with dedication and scholarship. Our Vision is to be distinguished by our impact on practice, value to stakeholders, scholarly contributions to the discipline, and leadership in the profession.Our Mission 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.Our faculty and staff are engaged in many excellent programs and initiatives as we serve our students and stakeholders. Enrollments remain strong at more than 200 undergraduate and graduate students. We continue to evaluate and advance our academic programs in this era of rapidly changing needs and opportunities. For example, this summer well teach a new undergraduate class in leadership to approximately 400 students enrolled in to UFs Innovation Academy. Our faculty members are developing five new non-credit, online certificate programs for various stakeholder groups. We have begun pursuing seven initiatives for advancing our agriculture teacher education program in concert with a statewide initiative focused on school-based agricultural education. Our faculty members are leading a large number of major projects and initiatives, including a redesigned Professional Development Academy for Florida Extension faculty, teaching enhancement programs for faculty in the College, AEC study abroad programs, high-level leadership programs for IFAS faculty and industry leaders, advanced research and education on issues affecting agriculture and natural resources, the Challenge 2050 Project that engages CALS students in developing innovative solutions to the impending 2 | SPRING 2015o n t h e c o v e rBelize: Over spring break 2015, faculty and undergraduate students took a study abroad trip to Belize to learn more about major agricultural issues affecting the country. Find out more on page 22.Photo credit: Ricky TelgDR. ED OSBORNEworld food crisis, and collaboration with scientists in many agricultural and natural resource disciplines in research and outreach projects. The above is only a partial list of all the dynamic projects underway in the Department. Energizing, indeed! We hope you enjoy this glimpse into AEC today.Go Gators!LETTER FROM THE DEPARTMENT CHAIRSPRING | 2015o n t h e c o v e rCONTENTS061216DEPARTMENTAL BUZZ STUDENT SPOTLIGHTALUMNI SPOTLIGHTStudents Help Seal Campaign VictoryStudents campaign for Adam Putnam in Novembers electionAEC Professor Named 40 Under 40 in AgricultureAssistant Professor Alexa Lamm receives prestigious awardFresh From Florida: Locally Grown FoodsAEC researchers identify preferences for purchasing local foodsGrad Students Visit Washington, D.C.Students enrolled in AEC6316 visit D.C. for a course tripStudent Spotlight: Joenelle FutrellJoenelle presents research at the AAAE conferenceStudent Spotlight: Amber HuffAmber completes internship with the American Red CrossAlumni Feature: Tory BoydTory works as Marketing Coordinator for Farm Credit of Central FloridaAlumni Feature: Erica DerErica works as Director of Development for Orphans HeartAlumni Feature: Sarah SappSarah works as an Agriscience Instructor for Jefferson County Middle School10081114151718AECREVIEW305 Rolfs HallPO Box 110540Gainesville, FL 32611-0540352-392-0502aec.ifas.ufl.eduUF/IFASDepartment ofAgricultural Educationand CommunicationSpring 2015 |Published biannually EditorAndrea DavisWritersErica AddisonShelby BrooksMorgan DavisMorgan DukesMorgan EdwardsKylie GudzakAshley McLeodMichael MirabellaAmber Lee TaylorCharlotte YanesGraphic DesignerAndrea DavisCopy EditorRicky TelgEd OsborneAlumni Feature: Emily OttEmily works as a Project Coordinator at Protect our PondsSPECIAL FEATURES19AEC Awards & AccomplishmentsAEC Studies Abroad in BelizeScholarships & EndowmentsUF Hall of Fame RecipientsDR. ED OSBORNEFeeding the Gator GoodStudents raise awareness of the American agriculture industry0420212223AEC Professor Takes to the FieldProfessor takes week-long regulatory tour of Florida agricultureOne WorldTwo AEC faculty members host summit aimed at saving the world09FEEDING THE#GATORGOODBy Ashley McLeod4 | SPRING 2015Students from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences led an initiative to educate University of Florida peers and staff about agriculture this fall with the introduction of Feeding the Gator Good.Feeding the Gator Good was coined after UFs For the Gator Good, a media campaign committed to make an impact in research areas including cancer treatment and ending world hunger. Feeding the Gator Good took place on Oct. 24 and served as a platform to spread awareness about agriculture and the issue that surround the industry.Agricultural communication and education junior Clay Sapp developed the idea for Feeding the Gator Good because he has a desire to educate fellow students at the university about the agriculture industry.Feeding the Gator Good was created because a few peers and I saw a need for there to be a student event that engaged the University of Florida campus in critical conversations, Sapp said.These conversations centered on the agriculture industry and what role UF plays in feeding the world, Sapp said.A week before the event, a workshop was held for volunteers to teach them how to effectively communicate with others about agriculture. Erin Freel, UF graduate and owner of The Market Place, a company specializing in agricultural marketing, presented the workshop.Its a sad reality, but you may be the closest connection to agriculture for the students that you talk to, Freel said.Volunteers then put what they learned into action as they talked to students on campus during the event. It was our mission to interactively engage students in learning and sharing about the agriculture industry, Sapp said.More than 25 volunteers assisted at the event. They were stationed at two locations on campus. UF students and staff stopped by and entered to win a free iPad, which was a tool that helped engage visitors in conversations about agriculture. While speaking with the students and staff, volunteers discovered that the agriculture industrys media and marketing tactics play a major role in shaping public perception, Sapp said. Agricultural commercials and documentaries were mentioned several times by students and staff throughout the day, Sapp said. Additionally, he and some of the other volunteers worked to capture these perceptions through a survey tool. Sapp hopes to use the information to gauge perceptions that UF students have about the agriculture industry.This information will provide agriculturalists at the University of Florida with an idea of our strengths and weaknesses, and allow us to begin critical conversations of how we can continue to strengthen public perception, Sapp said. By Ashley McLeodIT WAS OUR MISSION TOINTERACTIVELY ENGAGE STUDENTS IN LEARNING AND SHARING ABOUT THE AGRICULTURE INDUSTRY.DEPARTMENTAL BUZZ5 | AECREVIEWPictured in photos: Undergraduate student Clay Sapp engages with a fellow University of Florida student to address critical issues and share knowledge about the agriculture industry.6 | SPRING 2015STUDENTS HELP SEALCAMPAIGN VICTORYBy Morgan EdwardsIT WAS A POSITIVE WAY TO APPLY THE LEADERSHIP AND PUBLIC SPEAKING SKILLS THAT WE LEARN IN THE CLASSROOM TO HELP A GREAT CAUSE.Agricultural education and communication students helped Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam seal a victory in Novembers general election.Gators for Adam Putnam is a group was formed by students in the University of Floridas College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. The groups focus was to promote Putnams achievements as commissioner to UF students and faculty, with a goal of gaining votes for Putnam in the general election.AEC junior Shelby Oesterreicher volunteered with the group because Putnam is from her hometown, and she has a passion for politics and agriculture.Oesterreicher said she believes Putnam has done well with promoting the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Fresh from Florida campaign. She said she thinks it is the reason behind the publics recent attention to Floridas agriculture industry. She also said Putnams knowledge and personal DEPARTMENTAL BUZZ7 | AECREVIEWSTUDENTS HELP SEALexperience with agriculture is why he has been so successful promoting agriculture, which is why she wanted to share her opinion with people on campus.Because of his first-hand experience, Adam Putnam has been able to make a lasting impact on the Florida agriculture industry, Oesterreicher said.Oesterreicher said she will always remember the individuals she encountered while she helped with his campaign. We met some students who thought Adam Putnam was going to win the race, and they wanted to know why we were working so hard to campaign, Oesterreicher said.Agricultural education and communication junior Miranda Craig also volunteered to advocate for Putnam. Although Craig does not have a background in production agriculture, she values Putnams ethics and morals.He shares the same values that many agriculturists uphold, and remains true to his faith and true to his roots, Craig said.Craig also said campaigning for Putnam was a great way to be involved on UFs campus. She said campaign activities included distributing materials at football games, attending political events around Gainesville and interacting with students at Turlington Plaza. Craig also said she believes the reason Putnam was successful in the election was because of the effective and strategic communication displayed by his supporters. She credited her specialization in communication and leadership development for her ability to interact with students and faculty on campus.It was a positive way to apply the leadership and public speaking skills that we learn in the classroom to help a great cause, she said.By Morgan EdwardsPictured in photos: (Clockwise from left) Students show off their best Gator Chomps while campaigning on campus; Students meet with Adam Putnam outside his campaign bus; Students Shelby Oesterreicher and T. Buddy Miller meet with Putnam at CALS TailGATOR.8 | SPRING 2015Department of Agricultural Education and Communication assistant professor Alexa Lamm was recently named one of Vance Publishings 40 Under 40 in Agriculture honorees. The award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to agriculture. Lamm and the other honorees were chosen out of nearly 200 nominees by a panel of six judges, all with distinguished agricultural careers, according to Vance Communications, which publishes agricultural publications nationwide. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, global food production must double by 2050 to head off mass hunger. Vance Publishing is committed to raising awareness to the 2050 Challenge.Lamm has worked as an assistant professor of agricultural education and communication since 2012 and was recently named associate director of the UF/IFAS Center for Public Issues Education. Lamm and her fellow honorees were featured in nine November/December print publications that Vance published, and are also mentioned in an article at recognized alongside people who work in industry and legislators is very meaningful, Lamm said.Lamm earned a bachelors degree in equine sciences and a masters in Extension education, both from Colorado State University. Then she worked as an Extension agent for eight years in Colorado before earning a doctorate from UF in agricultural education and communication in 2011.She then worked as director of the National Public Policy Evaluation Center for Agriculture and Natural Resources, now part of the UF/IFAS PIE Center. In October 2012, Lamm became an assistant professor.Dr. Lamms research on water issues, and how they are addressed from the human perspective, has revolutionized the science of public policy research within the agricultural industry, said Jack Payne, senior vice president of agriculture and natural resources at UF, who nominated Lamm.40 UNDER 40IN AGRICULTUREDr. Alexa Lamm, Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Agricultural Education and CommunicationDEPARTMENTAL BUZZ9 | AECREVIEWWE WANT TO HAVE TANGIBLE OUTCOMES WHERE REAL PEOPLE ARE WORKING TOGETHER AND CREATING THINGS THAT WE CAN APPLY TO THE REAL WORLD.ONE WORLDTwo Department of Agricultural Education and Communication faculty members, Tony Andenoro & Dana Bigham Stephens, are determined to save the world.With a global population projected to exceed 9.6 billion in the year 2050, many questions are raised. How do we prevent overcrowding? How do we ensure that people have access to food and water? What effects will climate change have on our globe? These are questions that Andenoro and Bigham aim to answer through their Challenge 2050 program on a daily basis. The program uses research, leadership and education to advance ideas across the five major systems that sustain human well-being: food, environmental, economic, social, and health.With Challenge 2050 in mind, Andenoro and Bigham, along with their team, came together to develop a summit, One World, that aimed to answer some of Six student innovators also had the opportunity to take the stage and share their perspectives and solutions to some of these major global issues, with one student taking home the grand prize for their world-saving innovation.We want to have tangible outcomes where real people are working together and creating things that we can apply to the real world, Andenoro said. Issues such as overcrowding, food security, energy and water management, and climate change need to be prioritized now.One World was sponsored by a $10,000 grant awarded to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences by the Syngenta Corporation, a Swiss agribusiness marketing seeds and agrichemicals.these tough questions, while also allowing for an open discussion with students, industry leaders and other members of the University of Florida Community.One World, held March 13th at the University Auditorium, allowed for both networking opportunities and idea exchanges. 10 | SPRING 2015One Department of Agricultural Education and Communication professor has completed research that determines consumer preferences of locally grown and processed foods in Florida. Assistant professor Joy Rumble used focus groups and surveys to collect data on consumer preferences. The focus groups found that consumers prefer foods labeled Fresh from Florida to foods labeled local.The research was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said Rumble.Rumble hoped to distinguish an advantage in sales by labeling foods local or Fresh from Florida. The research from the focus group data is under review at The Journal of Applied Communications and the survey data are under review by the Journal of Agricultural Education, says Rumble. The study found consumer sales of locally grown products in Florida were roughly a hundred times higher than the USDA predicted for the state, said fellow researcher, Alan Hodges, an extension scientist in UFs food and resource economics department. The local food movement is really big right now, Rumble said. This research is able to help producers learn how and where to market their products. The study also found that local food markets boost the local economy and create new jobs.This research will help boost Floridas agricultural economy due to the $8 billion in local food product sales in the state, Hodges said. Also, it generates 180,000 jobs that are attributed to the local food business sector. The study showed 28 percent of Florida households eat at local food restaurants, Hodges said.The researchers learned that consumers prefer locally produced foods when available, but when choosing between the branding of local or Fresh from Florida they preferred the Fresh from Florida logo, Rumble said.The research showed consumer identification with the Fresh from Florida logo, Hodges said. Over 90 percent of consumers recognized the Fresh from Florida label.Results indicated most producers would prefer to label their products Fresh from Florida. Some producers of fruit brand their products with the farms name and would prefer their own label than the Fresh from Florida logo, Rumble said. The only setback to the logo is the producers have to pay a fee to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in order to use the Fresh from Florida logo,she said.LOCALLY GROWN FOODSFRESH FROM FLORIDABy Michael MirabellaGRAD STUDENTS VISITTHIS RESEARCH WILL HELP BOOST FLORIDAS AGRICULTURALECONOMY DUE TO THE $8 BILLION IN LOCAL FOOD PRODUCT SALES IN THE STATE.DEPARTMENTAL BUZZ11 | AECREVIEWLOCALLY GROWN FOODSBy Michael MirabellaGRAD STUDENTS VISITWASHINGTON, D.C.Graduate students enrolled in AEC6316, Overview of International Extension Systems, recently returned from a weeklong course trip to Washington, D.C. While in D.C., the students visited with organizations and agencies actively involved in domestic and international extension education. The visits included meetings with key individuals and program leaders at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Higher Education for Development, Catholic Relief Services, and Agricultural Cooperative Development International/Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance (ACDI/VOCA).Pictured in photo:Graduate students enrolled in AEC6316, Overview of International Extension Systems, pause to take a photo in front of the Knapp Memorial Arch located at the United States Department of Agriculture. Determining impact of extension programming Development of partnerships and collaborations in pluralistic systems Role of NGOs in pluralistic extension systems Effectively reaching rural subsistence farmers Sustainable funding models for extension systems Determining appropriate technologies for agricultural smallholdersWhile visiting D.C. as part of their course trip for AEC6316, students had the opportunity to increase their knowledge in the following areas:12 | SPRING 2015Department of Agricultural Education and Communication assistant professor Joy Rumble took to the field this spring on a week long regulatory tour with the Florida Fruit and Vegetable Association. The trip was made possible through a faculty enhancement program sponsored by AEC. The faculty enhancement program was designed to allow faculty members to shadow an industry professional in their specialization for one week to gather hands-on experience to take back and apply to their teaching, research and extension programs.The faculty enhancement trip really allowed me to step away from my desk and remember the greater purpose of my job, Rumble said. It reminded me of how important it is to regularly visit with industry so I can make sure that my research and extension work will benefit the industry.The regulatory tour is hosted by FFVA on an annual basis with the purpose of allowing state and federal regulators to visit agricultural operations to understand how operations are impacted by regulatory decisions. This years tour included a presentation of the history of water resources and regulations in South Florida and visits to Old Collier Golf Course, Syngenta Flowers, Inc., Wonderful Bees, Lipman Produce, Southern Gardens Citrus, Sugar Cane Growers Cooperative and Florida Crystals Corp., King Ranch, UF/IFAS Everglades Research and Education Center, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, AEC PROFESSORTAKES TO THE FIELDDEPARTMENTAL BUZZ13 | AECREVIEWAEC PROFESSORAmerican Farms, and Lee County Mosquito Control District.Growing up in Ohios agricultural industry taught me a lot about corn, soybeans and livestock, but Florida agriculture is so expansive that there is always a new crop to see or production practice to learn about, Rumble said.While on the trip, Rumble was shadowing FFVAs Director of Public Affairs, Lisa Lochridge. When the tour began I thought Lisas role on the tour was going to be taking pictures, providing coverage of the tour through social media, and writing a newsletter story, Rumble said. What I quickly realized was her role on the tour was much more encompassing than what I had assumed.Relationship building and facilitating a collaborative environment among the participants were roles that Rumble did not expect to observe, but the value of these roles were evident by the end of the trip. I learned that building relationships with regulators is very important to understanding their position as well as them understanding ours, Rumble said. I was skeptical that the regulators would appreciate the industry or care about how their decisions impacted agricultural operations. I was wrong.Interactions with Lochridge and other participants on the trip allowed Rumble to realize that she isnt always analyzing research data in a way that is most useful to the industry and regulators-- a realization that she says will change how she approaches data analysis in the future.Three other AEC faculty members will be participating in the faculty enhancement program this year. Rumble hopes that all faculty will have a chance to participate in the program in the future.Stepping away from the office for a week can be intimidating, she said, but the personal and professional growth I experienced as a result of this program was worth it.Pictured in photos: (Clockwise from left) Assistant professor, Joy Rumble, in front of a tall variety of celery at Duda Farm Fresh Foods; flowers at American Farms; Sod production at King Ranch; lettuce production at Duda Farm Fresh Foods14 | SPRING 2015An Agricultural Education and Communication undergraduate received the opportunity to present a research paper at the American Association for Agricultural Education Conference this year.When Joenelle Futrell started doing research, she didnt know that it was going to take her as far as presenting at the AAAE conference. It was a privilege to share my research alongside those students at the graduate level, Futrell said.AAAE is dedicated to studying, applying and promoting the teaching and learning process in agriculture. Most paper presentations are made by graduate students or faculty members.I learned a lot from getting to network with graduate students who already had experience under their belt, Futrell said.Futrell teamed up with Kyle Herndon, a student from the University of Kentucky, and did research on the effectiveness of the American Camp Association. They did this by measuring the importance of community, responsibility and teamwork. During the research process, Herndon analyzed the data and ran statistics, while Futrell worked with the literature review, framework and theory.A pre-test was administered as children arrived, and a post-test was given at the end of the week to find out what attendees learned from their week at camp. I think its important that kids are learning during camps, not just having fun, Futrell said. The goal of the research was to see where the growth was happening and how the camp counselors could improve it. When Futrell and Herndon received their results, they shared them with the camp counselors to improve the camp as a whole.It took Futrell and Herndon over two years to get the sufficient amount of research needed to complete their project so they could present it at the AAAE conference in Salt Lake City in May 2014. It made me feel good that I was getting to help the American Camp Association while also getting to display my research at the AAAE conference, Herndon said.JOENELLE FUTRELLSTUDENT SPOTLIGHTBy Morgan DavisI LEARNED A LOT FROM GETTING TO NETWORK WITH GRADUATE STUDENTS WHO ALREADY HAD EXPERIENCE UNDER THEIR BELT.Photo credit: National FFA Organization15 | AECREVIEWSTUDENT SPOTLIGHTAMBER HUFFAn Agricultural Education and Communication student completed an internship with the American Red Cross during spring 2014 to gain insight into non-profit organization management. UF senior Amber Huff was chosen as an American Red Cross non-profit management and fundraising intern towards the end of the 2013 fall semester. Huff said this was the perfect job for her because she had been debating whether she wanted to work with a non-profit after graduation.I just thought it would be a great opportunity to see if this was really what I was meant to do, Huff said. More than anything, non-profit organizations truly help people, and thats what I want to do for the rest of my life. By working for the North Central Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross, Huff learned how much work it takes to run even one aspect of a non-profit organization. She often watched the director of fundraising work long hours with little assistance from others. That person is the lifeblood of the non-profit, Huff said. The director brings in funds for the chapter, if you dont have funds, you wont be successful.Huff had the opportunity to work closely with the director of fundraising during the North Central Florida Chapters biggest event of the year. Her main task was to fundraise and promote for a gala that the chapter puts on annually. The gala was 1940s themed and was called Dancing through the Decades. Ninety-one percent of the profits made at the gala went towards helping the North Florida community.I put so much time and effort into the event, Huff said. Between fundraising, decorating, writing invitations, selling tickets and working with my team to help put it on, I was so proud to see the finished product and even more proud that I was helping people who needed it in the process. Aside from the gala, Huff was also in charge of other aspects of fundraising while working for the American Red Cross. She was responsible for writing letters to donors and proofreading thank you notes that were sent out after. Huff also wrote two articles for the chapter that were published by a local Gainesville magazine by the time her internship ended.After her time with the American Red Cross was over, Huff was proud of the work she had completed. She said that if in the future she works for or directs a non-profit organization, she wants to work more with people than behind-the-scenes fundraising. She would love to work with a disaster relief team or work in the Gainesville community with families who need extra help instead. Though she said she now knows where she belongs in a non-profit organization, Huff is grateful for her internship and that she was able to indirectly help people.This experience made me feel like I truly had an impact on the people I was fundraising for, Huff said. To me, that was the best and most rewarding part.By Charlotte YanesSTUDENT SPOTLIGHTBy Morgan Davis16 | SPRING 2015An agricultural education and communication graduate got a job right out of college as the marketing coordinator at Farm Credit of Central Florida.Tory Boyd graduated in May 2014 with a degree in Agricultural Education and Communication with minors in leadership and in agricultural and resource law. She manages the social media sites and writing for Farm Credit of Central Floridas publication, The Leader, and also plans several events, such as the Farm Credit and Agriculture Institute Candidates Forum.Her line of work is not just limited to marketing and communications; she also educates others about Farm Credit by traveling to different trade shows, conventions and conferences.While at the University of Florida, I was in Sigma Alpha, which is the professional agricultural sorority, and I was active in the Agricultural Communicators and Leaders of Tomorrow club, Boyd said.Networking and going above and beyond with involvement were some of the key factors that helped her to get the job she currently has. If she had not taken her involvement to the next level in the AEC major, she would have been overlooked by other job candidates, Boyd said.Doing well in your courses is a requirement for landing the job you want, but networking with your mentors and those who can recommend you for those jobs is what gives you the edge, she said.Boyd started her search four months before graduation, while continuing to make connections along the way. She heard exclusively by word of mouth about an advertising position she had interest in at Farm Credit of Central Florida.Her supervisor, director Ron OConnor, had planned to interview several top recent graduates of UF, but cancelled the other interviews as soon as he met Tory. She walked into our office and displayed a unique blend of intelligence, integrity and determination, OConnor said. She was open and honest during the interview, answering every question in a forthright manner. Now being employed by Farm Credit of Central Florida for more than six months, she has quickly made her mark in the Florida agricultural community. She has enthusiasm, a diligent work ethic and has earned the appreciation and respect from her co-workers, he said. I knew I wanted to work in communications in an agriculture-related field, but I was not always sure where, Boyd said. I feel so blessed to be where I am and that I get to use the skills I gained at the University of Florida working for producers in a field that I love.By Kylie GudzakPictured in photo:Tory Boyd visits the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. as part of her job as marketing coordinator for Farm Credit of Central Florida.TORY BOYDALUMNI SPOTLIGHTALUMNI SPOTLIGHT17 | AECREVIEWAn agricultural education and communication graduate has found success in her current job, using skills she learned in multiple AEC courses in combination with her passion for children. AEC graduate Erica Der, director of development for Orphans Heart, has the opportunity to work on a variety of tasks for the organization. Orphans Heart is an international organization compassionately committed to helping children and families in developing countries. Der graduated from UF with a bachelors degree in agricultural education and communication in 2008. After obtaining her bachelors degree, Der worked for nearly two years on a statewide campaign for Commission of Agriculture Adam Putnam. Cheryl Flood, director of external affairs for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, worked with Der throughout the campaign. Having graduated from the University of Floridas College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, and having served as both a state and national FFA officer, certainly molded her into the leader she is today, Flood said. Der demonstrated her passion for youth in her position as the agricultural education liaison for FDACS. Her continuing past involvement in FFA and 4-H led her to follow her enthusiasm for helping children in her current job. She invites people to follow her lead, which is advantageous given her current role with Orphans Heart Ministry with the Florida Baptist Childrens Home, Flood said. On a daily basis, Der demonstrates many other skills learned through AEC in addition to leadership. I use the basic writing, photography, public relations and attention to detail skills I learned in AEC every day, Der said. All these skills are extremely important in my job, especially the ability to tell a story.Der cultivates partnerships through donor relations and fundraising events. Her skills are also used to motivate missionaries to take part on future trips. Orphans Heart relies on missionaries to participate in mission trips to reach the families in need.Recently, Der traveled to Orphans Heart Malnutrition Center in Guatemala.I love being able to see a change in the lives of children because of the work we are able to do, Der said. This work would not be possible without our donors and volunteers.Der also had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic, where Orphans Heart has partnered with a local church to build 100 homes for families in need. Ders proficiency in leadership, along with writing skills learned in AEC, allowed her to be successful in her diversity of experience from political work on the campaign to humanitarian work with Orphans Heart, she said.By Shelby BrooksALUMNI SPOTLIGHTERICA DERPictured in photo:Erica Der spends time with two Guatemalan children while visiting Orphans Heart Malnutrition Center.18 | FALL 2014An agricultural education and communication alumna is taking on the role to be a first year agriscience instructor, FFA advisor and voice for agriculture. Sarah Burleson Sapp said she chose this career path because she had two agriculture teachers who positively impacted her life. When she first enrolled in vocational agriculture, she said she was shy and quiet. Her agriculture teachers brought her out of her shell, allowing her to become more outgoing. I attribute who I am and a lot of my success to the two of them, Sapp said. Sapp is currently teaching at Jefferson County Middle School. Sapp graduated from the University of Florida with her bachelors degree in AEC in 2011 and went on to receive her masters degree in AEC in 2013. Professors at UF, taking a personal interest in Sapp, helped make her experience enjoyable, Sapp said. When you know your professor, you get to become more professional in your profession, she said. Sapp said she enjoyed attending UF for several reasons. The advisors led her down the path she needed to go and helped select coursework that was necessary to graduate.They really get to know your strengths and weaknesses, Sapp said. They didnt only tell me what I needed to do differently, but they built me up when I did something good. She said she loved the AEC department because she was able to do an agriculturally based teaching internship to help prepare for her current career. Completing an internship assisted her in learning the content that she needed to teach in her career now. Sapp said she faces challenges on a daily basis, but also finds her job rewarding. She enjoys teaching students and encourages them to get involved in FFA and career development events. Sapps current job is an experience for her because it is a new program and her students get to learn something they havent been taught before. Sapp said she is excited to provide new opportunities to her students. Its extremely hard to meet the expectations and change my students views when there is already a stigma associated with agriculture, Sapp said.She has been working to expose and engage her students in the field of agriculture and promote a positive image for all that it provides. Teaching a new program brings administrative pressure and motivation to excel, Sapp said. By Morgan DukesSARAH SAPPALUMNI SPOTLIGHTPictured in photo:Sarah Sapp (far right) with members of her Jefferson County Middle School FFA chapter at the Florida FFA State Convention.ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT19 | AECREVIEWBy Morgan DukesBy Amber Lee TaylorA University of Florida graduate has been working with residents in Bradenton, Florida to educate homeowners about storm water ponds and instill best practices for pond care and conservation.Emily Ott, a graduate of the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications masters program and the project coordinator of Protect Our Ponds, has been getting involved with Lakewood Ranch residents to help communicate how important homeowners upkeep is to their communitys ecosystem.After a community survey was conducted in 2013, residents joined the programs task force to help work on organizing events and producing materials in order to inform their neighbors about the environmental benefits of storm water ponds.Protect Our Ponds was formed after a storm water survey showed that residents strongly supported keeping Lakewood Ranch ponds protected and operating at optimal levels, Ott said. This was really the launching point for creating a task force that is reaching out to homeowners.Ott said the task force has been educating residents about how to prevent pond problems and lower upkeep costs by promoting best maintenance practices to care for lawns and plants surrounding them, and that excess or improperly applied fertilizer can harm pond water quality.Most people dont understand the value of storm water pond landscaping, Ott said.Aquatic plants, shoreline plants and no-mow zones can slow storm water runoff and protect ponds from the pollutants runoff can carry, such as grass clippings, fertilizers, chemicals from roadways, and sediment from bank erosion, she said.Resident education is key, she said. Maybe people who do care, once they learn, may change their behavior. Its a step in the right direction.Protect Our Ponds began by holding community meetings that presented survey results revealing half of the surveys 627 respondents did not know what storm water runoff was or where it went in their neighborhood. The Protect Our Ponds resident task force then discussed ways to inform residents about what storm water is and how they could all help keep it clean, Ott said.This survey information was a tool to both understand what people needed to know and to engage the neighborhood to perform more actions, she said. We invited people to join a task force to help us figure out what to do next.Currently, the task force is developing a brochure that is just about storm water runoff that is specific to the neighborhood. With the help of a social marketing firm, the task force designed the cover to catch peoples attention by using a graphic of water runoff that looks like it is going through the neighborhood and also includes an image of the neighborhood bird, she said.Our main goal is to have messages that are relevant to the community, Ott said. I really believe in what I am doing because I think that environmental issues, like water quality, impact everybody. We all have a stake in it, and I think that environmental issues are really social issues.EMILY OTTALUMNI SPOTLIGHTM Jack L. Fry Award for Teaching Excellence by a Graduate Student Chris Mott E. T. York, Jr. Medal of Excellence presented to the Outstanding Junior in the college Clay Hurdle (co-recipient) J. Wayne Reitz Medal of Excellence presented to the outstanding senior in the college T. Buddy Miller (finalist) CALS Alumni and Friends Leadership Award Rachel Morgan (finalist)COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL ANDLIFE SCIENCES (CALS) INSTITUTE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES (IFAS) ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND RECOGNITIONS20 | FALL 2014AWARDS &ACCOMPLISHMENTS International Student of the Year Pei-wen Huang Nicole Stedman has been elected to the position of Chair-elect of the UF Faculty Senate. She will assume the position of Faculty Senate Chair on June 1, 2016. The 2015 NACTA Jack Everly Journal Award will be presented in June to co-authors Chris Estepp, Karla Shelnutt, and Grady Roberts. The article is titled A Comparison of Student and Professor Perceptions of Teacher Immediacy Behaviors in Large Agricultural Classrooms and appeared in the June 2014 issue of the NACTA Journal. Paul Monaghan has been selected to receive an IFAS early career scientist seed funding award of $50,000 for his proposal titled Using Social Marketing Research to Understand the Dissemination of Innovations Promoted by Florida Friendly Landscaping Practices. Cheri Brodeur, who retired in February, has been awarded Emeritus status. Out of 37 new CALS Ambassadors chosen for the 2015-2016 school year, ten of these ambassadors are AEC students--Shelby Ball, Laura-Kaitlyn Boatright, Kallee Cook, Morgan Dukes, Sarah Edison, Clay Hurdle, Rachel Morgan, Shelby Oesterreicher, Kali Sharpe, Charlotte YanesAMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION (AAAE) Outstanding Agricultural Educator Grady Roberts Distinguished Research Award Brian MyersSPECIAL FEATURESM21 | AECREVIEWAWARDS &ACCOMPLISHMENTSSCHOLARSHIPS &ENDOWMENTSWith 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.UNDERGRADUATE SCHOLARSHIPSGRADUATE FELLOWSHIPSPROFESSORSHIPSCarl E. Beeman Bishop BrothersG. Q. BussellOmar Ergle-Floyd PhilmonElton HintonRichard & Nell KellyTravis LoftenMax McGheeCarl & Jean RehwinkelRyan RimmerMarion RocheJohn & Ethel StephensD. A. StormsCope & Edna Newbern EndowmentJohn 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. GATOR NATIONOVER SPRING BREAK, A GROUP OF OUR FACULTY AND UNDERGRADUATES VISITED BELIZE ON STUDY ABROAD.Three Agricultural Education and Communication faculty members led eight University of Florida undergraduate students to Belize on the first AEC study abroad designed solely for undergraduates. Grady Roberts, Becky Raulerson and Ricky Telg taught AEC 4065: Issues in Agricultural and Life Sciences in Belize during spring break 2015. Roberts, who had organized previous study abroad programs for graduate students and university faculty and had been to Belize 22 | FALL 2014THEpreviously, took the lead on planning the study abroad to Belize.Raulerson teaches AEC 4065 in the fall and spring, focusing on state issues. However, the spring break version took on a Belizean flavor. Students met with the AEC instructor team several times before the 10-day trip. Students were responsible for researching an agriculture- or natural resources-related issue impacting Belize and then had to journal and create a blog about what they learned. Five of the students were from the AEC department, representing both undergraduate specializations: Agricultural Education and Communication and Leadership Development. Of the other three students, two were from academic programs at Research and Education Centers in Central and South Florida. The study abroad experience consisted of visits to several farms and cultural locations, including Maya archaeological sites. The goal was to provide students with many opportunities to interact with Belizeans, to find out about the issue that students were researching and to learn IS EVERYWHERE.(Continued on next page)GATOR NATIONOVER SPRING BREAK, A GROUP OF OUR FACULTY AND UNDERGRADUATES VISITED BELIZE ON STUDY ABROAD.23 | AECREVIEWSPECIAL FEATUREST. Buddy MillerUndergraduate Student,Communication & Leadership DevelopmentHALL OF FAMEBertrhude AlbertDoctoral Student, Extension EducationTwo Department of Agricultural Education and Communication students, Bertrhude Albert and T. Buddy Miller, were recently inducted into the University of Florida Hall of Fame.Since 1921, the University of Florida Hall of Fame has recognized seniors and graduate students who have consistently demonstrated an outstanding commitment to improving the University of Florida through campus and community involvement, participation in organized campus activities, and scholastic achievement. It is one of the most prestigious honors awarded to students by the Division of Student Affairs at the University of Florida.UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDAabout Belizean culture. Raulerson and Telg are already making plans for a return trip to Belize during spring break 2016 with a different itinerary, so students can go to Belize in back-to-back years and have different experiences. If all goes well, the Belize study abroad experience will take place every spring break, led by different AEC faculty. For more information about next years study abroad, contact Raulerson or Telg. Telg also produced a video to highlight what students learned this year: on next page)AECREVIEW305 Rolfs HallPO Box 110540Gainesville, FL 32611-0540352-392-0502UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and CommunicationScan to view our