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Welcome to the blog page for Agricultural Education, Communication and Marketing at the University of Minnesota. Our mission is to prepare students to be successful leaders, educators, and communicators in the agricultural, food, and natural resources career field. We are committed to student success and to helping students achieve their educational and career goals.

We invite you to explore our program on the web, as this site was designed to provide information and resources about the Agricultural Education and Agricultural Communication and Marketing majors. Prospective students and parents are encouraged to contact us with your questions and interest. We look forward to personally meeting you during a campus visit!

Internship Spotlight: Sibley County 4-H Program


By Alexis Larson, U of M Junior

As a student at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities studying Agricultural Communication and Marketing, the thought of finding my first internship was overwhelming. I knew that I wanted a great experience with excellent learning opportunities that would allow me to determine the direction for my professional career goals. I also wanted this internship to provide me with a great networking source for future career options.

I was sent an application for a Youth Development Intern through the University of Minnesota Extension 4-H Program. Ultimately, it sounded right down my alley as I had previous experience in 4-H as a member. I applied and received an offer for a position in Sibley County. I had no idea what a great experience this internship was going to be. I quickly accepted and began my summer of learning.

Upon arriving to the Sibley County Extension office, I was given a giant binder created by the previous year’s intern. I thought to myself, “How am I ever going to measure up to this person?”  After reading through the binder, I was more nervous than when I had first arrived. I had so many tasks to complete in one summer, and was afraid that I was being given the impossible. I spoke briefly with my supervisor about my different tasks, and then got down to work. I was determined to make a positive impact on the members of Sibley County 4-H!

My first major task was the organization and creation of individual sign-ups for the 4-H Food Stand work shifts. I created an online organizational process through the free website Sign Up Genius. Once that was rolling, I focused on creating fun and educational day camps for the youth of Sibley County. At first, this task felt too big for one person. Since I knew I needed help, I reached out to my Ambassadors, and I learned quickly which ones I could count on to come to my rescue.

The more time I spent at the office, the more confident I became in my abilities to complete the tasks. I created professional friendships with many members in the 4-H program, and I knew that I was able to turn to them whenever I was in need of volunteer work. I became close with my other co-workers because there were only three of us in the office. This was a great feeling because I knew that I could go to them with my challenges. I was supported and backed whenever I had a new idea, and I was given the freedom to design my own plans. Throughout the summer, I was given further responsibility each time I came to work. Soon, I felt like I was the Program Coordinator’s right hand man.  I worked hard to complete tasks before the deadline to create room for perfecting.

My biggest challenge during the internship was organizing the Clothing Achievement Day. Because I had no experience related to this topic or event, I reached out to several clothing members for ideas for decorations. I also spoke with my supervisor as she was involved in clothing when she was a 4-H member. I worked hard to create the best Clothing Achievement Day I could, and with each new task, I planned each detail (down to the correct number of pens and pencils!). I wanted to ensure that no mistakes happened while I was in charge. I volunteered any extra time I had to help my co-workers with their tasks, and I became a person that they could rely on to go above and beyond.

When the County Fair rolled around, I worked early mornings to late evenings ensuring shows were run smoothly, State Fair trips were given away to the correct exhibitors, and the food stand shifts were completed by each member.

Even though my experience was short, I felt like I have given my heart and soul to Sibley County 4-H this summer. I had several families from Sibley County begging me to come back next year, and several of the younger members knew me by name and told me they would miss me. On August 17, I collected my stuff from my desk and walked out the doors knowing that I had left a positive impact on those involved with Sibley County 4-H. And they left a positive impact on me!

Pictured here: On the second day of the fair, I worked the Rabbit Show by scanning placings, organizing ribbons and working on state fair line-up.

Everything You Need To Know About The Celebration of Students


By Ellyn Swanson, U of M Freshman

Let’s be honest here, who doesn’t like getting all spiffed up to eat free food, spend time with your friends, and celebrate the end of another school year?  You can do ALL of these things just in one afternoon when you attend the Agricultural Education’s Celebration of Students!  Join us on Sunday, May 1, 2016 from 2:00-4:00 P.M. at the Cargill Building on the U of M’s St. Paul Campus for an afternoon full of fun, delicious food, and recognition of our valued students and supporters.

Agricultural Education and Agricultural Communication & Marketing graduate and undergraduate students, your parents, as well as our scholarship donors, STAR Partners, and other valued stakeholders are all cordially invited to this third annual event!

During this time, we will celebrate our students’ amazing accomplishments that took place throughout the year.  Agricultural Education, Agricultural Communication & Marketing, and MAELC scholarship recipients will be recognized, as well as graduating seniors, graduate students, and Ag Ed Club members.  Light appetizers, desserts, and beverages will be served in the atrium from 2:00-3:00 P.M., with an hour-long program to follow.

You can RSVP for the event here:  http://z.umn.edu/14dj  

*We would like to extend the invitation to your parents this year, so they can see you shine and be recognized for how amazing you are!  Please consider bringing them to this event.  There is a spot on the RSVP form to include their names!

Here are some photos from last year’s event!  Please join us this year for a fun filled afternoon!

“Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.”  -Mia Hamm

Internship Spotlight: UMASH

emilee wendorf

By Emilee Wendorf, U of M Senior

This summer and fall I worked at the Upper Midwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center, or UMASH. The center is one of nine Centers of Excellence in agricultural disease and injury research, education, and prevention. I was the Student Communications Specialist for the center. I focused mainly on social media but was one of four on the center’s communications team to work on the center website, newsletter, and outreach.

Working for the center allowed me to learn more about agricultural safety, which is a topic of agriculture that isn’t discussed often, and an area I had little knowledge about. Another great opportunity with the center was being able to travel to parts of the Upper Midwest. Because the center covers Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Northern Iowa, UMASH does outreach in those states. I had the opportunitiy to travel with the center to Wisconsin, South Dakota, Iowa, and Southern Minnesota. On my second day of work I traveled to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to help facilitate the UMASH Annual Forum (see me in background of photo below).

I was also lucky enough to work on the Farm Safety Pledge campaign for the center. I was in charge of designing and implementing the pledge and coming up with strategies to improve the pledge’s reach. The pledge was released at FarmFest where I got to work the UMASH booth and reach out to FarmFest attendees to sign the pledge. We gathered the results and outreach from the pledge to create a poster titled “Implementing an Ag Safety Pledge to Raise Awareness and Build Stakeholder Engagement” of which I am a co-author. The poster was presented at the Midwest Rural Agricultural Safety and Health Conference in Iowa.

emilee wendorf

Internship Spotlight: Minnesota 4-H

Joe Joyer

By Joe Joyer, U of M Senior

This summer I had the opportunity to work with 86 amazing individuals. I worked for Minnesota 4-H at the Great Minnesota Get Together in a summer program called State Arts-In. This program is a 22 day experience where the participants learn about theater arts, leadership, team work and goal setting.

The participants are divided in four different majors and come to the State Fair for two encampments: the four majors are preforming, technical, band and costuming; the two encampments are prep week and state fair. During prep week all of the participants learn, sew, build and prep everything they need to create a 30 minute singing and dancing production. Then, during the fair they perform the show three to four times a day and keep up on all the maintenance with the stage and costumes.

My role within the program was an Assistant Director. If I was to try to explain my position in one sentence it would be, “I helped guide the 86 participants through a 22 day experience where they learned about theater arts, leadership, team work and goal setting.” It is way more in-depth then that, though. The coolest part for me is that I got to live with the participants and form some amazing relationships. Being with the participants 24/7 you become a person that they admire and look to for support. In my life the relationships I have are my biggest value and being able to create lasting relationships with these participants was huge for me.

When I think of the most rewarding thing about my experience, it would have to be seeing the performers perform on stage. When this happens, you can see the hard work that everyone has put into the show come together. The passion and love on the stage is something that will pull at your heart strings. Below is a picture of me and the performers warming up in the stairwell before they head to the stage. I think that this picture really captures the whole mood of the program. Everyone is happy and ready to take ownership of every second they have left of their experience. Spending the summer with them was like spending the summer with family and living in a massive fun home together, the 4-H building.

Joe Joyer

Internship Spotlight: Sibley East High School

Traci Block

By Traci Block, U of M Senior

Over the summer, I was able to participate in a new internship program offered through MAELC and sponsored by AgriBank.  The Minnesota Agricultural Education Internship focused on allowing agricultural education students experience what it is like to be a high school agricultural educator throughout the summer.  I was lucky to be placed at Sibley East High School in Arlington, MN under the supervision of Tim Uhlenkamp and Jeff Eppen.  During the course of the summer, I was able to help them work on their CSA and school garden, attend CDE meetings, go to MAAE (Minnesota Association of Agricultural Educators) summer conference, work at the Sibley County Fair, and hold an ag ed immersion camp to show high school students what it would be like to become an agricultural educator.

During the course of the summer, I learned a lot about being an agricultural educator and even about myself as a person and my career choice.  First of all, I learned that being a high school ag teacher has a lot of different aspects that I may have not considered without this experience.  Many people don’t understand all of the work that ag teachers put in during the summer, and how different the “classroom” is during the summer.  Not only did I learn about what the internship aimed to teach me, but I also learned more about myself as a person.  I learned that I really have a passion for educating high schoolers about agriculture and the different aspects that entails.  As for my career choice, this internship really solidified my choice between leadership and communications and teaching.  I think that my heart has always been in agricultural education – it just took me time and some different experiences to really know that this is what I want.

One of the key experiences during the internship was attending the MAAE summer conference.  In going to the conference, I learned that Minnesota ag teachers are a big family and are there to support you no matter what.  There may be a lot of competitive people in the mix, but overall they all have one passion: teaching ag.  Another key experience was getting to work with the high schoolers in the school garden and CSA.  It was interesting to see how education can go beyond the classroom and into the summer for students.

Overall, being able to participate in the Minnesota Agricultural Education Internship was a valuable experience and will be something that I can reflect on during my future career.

Traci Block

Pictured here: Jeff Eppen, Traci Block and Tim Uhlenkamp at the Sibley County Fair agricultural education building.