Alumnae of College of Agricultural Sciences to be honored by peers

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- The National Association of Agricultural Educators has recognized four alumnae of Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences for their contributions to agricultural education.

Meagan Slates, Quinn Cashell, Amanda Forstater and Janae (Herr) McMichael, all graduates of the  agricultural and extension education major, will receive awards during the organization's November conference in San Antonio, Texas. The college's Agricultural Teacher Education Program also will be recognized as Outstanding Postsecondary Agriculture Program.

The National Association of Agricultural Educators is the largest organization for agricultural education in the United States. Its 7,800 members advocate for agricultural education, provide professional development, and work to recruit and retain agricultural educators in the profession.

The association will honor Slates, a member of the class of 2014 and current agriscience teacher at Penn Manor High School in Millersville, Pennsylvania, as the Outstanding Early Career Educator. She completed her student-teaching internship at West Perry High School in Elliotsburg under Ayla Miller, a 2010 Penn State graduate, and John Hines, a 2004 Penn State graduate. Slates attended Fort Cherry High School in McDonald, where Jodie Hoover, a 1995 Penn State graduate, was her agriscience teacher.

Cashell, Forstater and McMichael will receive National Teachers Turn the Key awards for teachers with five years or less experience. These awards are designed to encourage young teachers to remain in the profession and to recognize participation in professional activities.

Cashell, who graduated in 2014 and now is an agriscience teacher at Boonsboro High School in Boonsboro, Maryland, completed her student-teaching internship at Athens High School in Athens, Pennsylvania, under David Steinfelt, a 2002 Penn State graduate. She attended Chambersburg High School in Chambersburg, where her agriscience teacher was 2007 Penn State graduate Jon Seaman.

Forstater, class of 2015, currently serves as an agriscience teacher at Taylor Middle-Senior High School in Pierson, Florida. She completed her student-teaching internship at Tri-Valley High School in Hegins, Pennsylvania, under Gretchen Dingman, a 1992 Penn State graduate. Forstater attended Walter B. Saul High School in Philadelphia.

McMichael, who graduated in 2016, is an agriscience teacher at Lampeter-Strasburg High School in Lancaster. She completed her student-teaching internship at Midd-West High School in Middleburg under David Bittner, a 2007 Penn State graduate. She attended Lampeter-Strasburg High School, where Holly Oberholtzer, a 2007 Penn State graduate, was her agriscience teacher.

In the last eight years, the college's Agricultural Teacher Education Program has placed teachers in more than 15 states across the country, according to Daniel Foster, associate professor of agricultural and extension education, who added that the program's core values are at the center of the program's success.

"We're value-driven, and we're constantly reflecting on how we can bring these values to life," he said. "Looking at the big picture, we are preparing candidates who are future-driven and ready to teach wherever students are in need, not just in their own backyards. We focus on transferable skills and knowledge, and as a result, we are creating rock stars -- positive change agents -- who are ready to impact a community one student at a time."

Foster said that while the Outstanding Postsecondary Agriculture Program award is validation that the program is doing good work and producing outstanding teachers, it also acts as fuel for the program to continue its quest for constant improvement.

"There is nothing more impactful than investing in the future through teacher development," he said. "If we're going to tackle all the challenges facing the food, fiber and natural-resources industries, we need to harness the innovation and creativity of thousands of young people through inspirational agriscience teachers."

The Teach Ag Education program is active on social media, and more information about the program is available on its blog, Facebook page and Twitter.

Last Updated October 08, 2018