BY KACIE TIMMONS
The Agriculture Department at Fort Hays State University is introducing an Agriculture Education club to its program this year. The club was founded by three Agriculture Education majors and will provide professional development opportunities for future agriculture educators.
Kelsi Wertz, Danielle Chilcott, and Dylan Pruter formed this club because they saw the need to spread awareness about the agriculture education industry and unite Agriculture Education majors outside of the classroom.
“We try to do things as a group to get Agriculture Education majors together and get to know each other, so we decided we might as well have a club,” Wertz said.
The club serves to promote agriculture education as a career, as well as the agriculture industry as a whole. Students will have multiple opportunities to interact with professionals in their industry and will seek to encourage high school students to consider a career in agriculture education.
“K-State has a successful agriculture education program and if we want to increase our numbers here at Fort Hays, why not have a club that is promoting what we’re doing?” Pruter said.
One member, Rhiley Fiene, is the club’s representative for Kansas State’s Teach Ag Students of Kansas (TASK) Force. Task Force works to recruit and inform students of the possible careers in agriculture education. Rhiley is working on forming a Task Force at Fort Hays to reach more students in western Kansas.
During the spring semester, the Agriculture Education club will be hosting a VIP Teach Ag Day. This event will be for juniors and seniors in highschool, as well as transfer students. Students will get to participate in many activities, as well as meet with faculty and explore the Agriculture Education program at Fort Hays State.
The Agriculture Education club will also be volunteering their services to local 4H and FFA chapters, and they hope to partner with them in hosting events. This will give members more opportunities to serve the community and build awareness around the importance of agriculture educators.
“Being able to connect with FFA programs in the Northwest District will help me to learn more about the organization, and I’ll be more prepared to be a teacher when I graduate,” Chilcott said.
Fort Hays is not widely known for their Agriculture Education program, and that is something members want to change.
“When I tell people I go to Fort Hays for Agriculture Education, they’re confused because they don’t know Hays has a program for that. Everything is ‘K-State K-State’, so we’re just really trying to get our name out there,” Pruter said.
The Agriculture Education club meets the first Monday of every month and anyone majoring in Agriculture Education is welcome to join. If you have any questions or would like to reach out to the club, you can contact Kelsi Wertz at firstname.lastname@example.org or their advisor, Jeremy Ryan, at email@example.com.