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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!

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.

Internship Spotlight: Genesis Growing Solutions

Miranda Schwartz

By Randi Schwartz, U of M Junior

Where does your passion lie?

Have you ever thought you knew exactly where you belonged, whether in a relationship, in your college choice, or in your career, only to find out that what you previously thought was completely wrong, and you were forced to reevaluate your life? Well, exactly that happened to me this past summer in an internship I held with Genesis Growing Solutions. Growing up with an agriculture background, I knew without a doubt that I wanted to enter a career in agriculture, and, until this summer, I thought it would be in Agronomy. But I could not have been more wrong.

First, let me tell you a little about my internship, because it was a good experience with a great company – it just happened to not be in an area that held interest for me. I had an Agronomy internship this past summer with Genesis Growing Solutions. While in their internship program, I was paired with an Agronomist and spent the first part of the summer learning everything that goes on within the company. As I learned more, I was given more opportunities to go out on my own, whether to scout a field or visit a customer. Over the summer I got to meet a ton of great people and hear their stories. That was the part of my internship that I absolutely loved. But as the summer went on, I began to realize the amount of passion that some of the other interns had for this work, and it forced me to look closer at my own experience. I came to the conclusion that, while I was passionate about parts of this job, I was not passionate about the job as a whole, and couldn’t imagine building an entire career in Agronomy.

This internship was truly a growing experience for me. If not for it, I would have potentially spent even more time devoting my education towards something that I was not going to be happy doing for the rest of my life. I am so glad to have had the internship that I did, and will never regret taking the job. Because of the company that I worked for and people I worked with, I was able to make my own decision about how I felt about this career path, rather than working for a company that I didn’t like that may have biased my opinion and left me wondering if I had made the right decision in changing career paths.

As far as where my passion currently lies, I am still figuring that part out. I know that I want to go more in the direction of Ag Communications, but I don’t have the exact career that I want narrowed down yet. And that’s okay; you aren’t expected to know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life. So let me leave you with a piece of advice: open your mind to new ideas. College is your time to explore different opportunities, and while you may have known exactly what you have wanted to do for as long as you could remember, you also may find something you love somewhere that you never would have expected. So take a minute to look at where you are in life. Are you truly happy? If your answer is yes, great! But if there’s even a chance that you belong somewhere else, sometimes you just need to take a chance and go make that change in your life to find what your passion is.

Miranda Schwartz

Pictured here: Randi Schwartz (far left) poses in a field with her fellow Genesis Growing Solutions interns.