Students, Faculty Take On Albuquerque

Seizing the opportunity to network with industry professionals, Senior Lecturer Deborah Dunsford, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Billy McKim, Ph.D.  and eight students attended the Ag Media Summit in Albuquerque, New Mexico August 4 – 8.

Agricultural communications and journalism students Paige Burks, Mollie Lastovica, Mallory Mobly, Savannah Richter, Courtney Schmidt, Hollye Simpson and Misty Vidrine, along with agricultural leadership and development student James Barrera, attended the conference that is hosted by the Livestock Publications Council, American Agricultural Editors Association and American Business Media. The event also serves as an annual meeting for the National Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow organization.

Throughout the summit, students had the chance to interact with prominent figures in the agricultural communications industry while attending a number of professional workshops and social events and by listening to speakers at various luncheons and banquets.

“I feel like I benefitted in some way from all of the speakers at AMS,” Vidrine says. “I loved learning about Captain Peter Shinn’s experiences while helping the civilians in Afghanistan with their agricultural operations.”

Each day, a number of workshop sessions were offered encompassing all aspects of the industry from public relations to stress management and everything in between. Attendees were able to customize their summit experience by attending the sessions that were most interesting to them.

The InfoExpo, a commercial exhibit hall full of agricultural companies and their representatives, allowed attendees to learn of the newest technologies in agriculture and communications.

“I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to network with agricultural professionals from across the nation,” Mobly says. “I can honestly say that I feel better prepared to enter the work force because of my experiences at Ag Media Summit.”

As representatives of the Texas A&M Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, the students attended National ACT events throughout the summit. These ranged from workshops targeting college students to the National ACT business meeting on Tuesday, August 7.

The Student Awards Luncheon on Monday, August 6, honored students in agricultural communications across the nation with scholarship and award recognition. Lastovica competed as one of four finalists for the Livestock Publications Council’s Forrest Bassford Student Award and was awarded a travel scholarship to attend AMS.

“As a Forrest Bassford Finalist, my AMS experience was awesome,” Lastovica said. “The Livestock Publications Council did a great job of assuring that all four of us were able to network with anyone we could imagine meeting. I truly appreciated the opportunity to represent Texas A&M on the national level.”

Students have the opportunity to attend Ag Media Summit every summer and should contact an AGCJ advisor to learn more about AMS and the National ACT organization. The 2013 Ag Media Summit will be held in Buffalo, New York.

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