ALEC faculty and students help prepare 4-H students for advocacy


By: Taylor Demski

26 students from across the state attended the 2012 Texas 4-H Livestock Ambassador program July 16 through July 19 at Texas A&M University. Organized by Assistant Professor and Extension 4-H and Youth Development Specialist Billy Zanolini, Ph.D., the program allowed high school students the chance to engage in high level learning designed to develop advanced leadership skills related to mentoring youth and advocating for animal agriculture.

ALEC faculty, graduate and undergraduate students participated by teaching sessions focused on learning and leadership styles, as well as communication and technology.

Assistant Professor John Rayfield, Ed.D., facilitated a learning style workshop for the group on July 16. “I have been involved with the Livestock Ambassador program for the last three years now. This year we did a workshop/lesson on experiential learning. We told them a little about experiential learning but also gave them an instrument the Kolb learning style inventory so that we could assess their learning styles,” says Rayfield.

Deb Dunsford, Ph.D., led the charge for a simulated news conference session that incorporated undergraduate and graduate students in agricultural communications and journalism. Students in AGCJ 203, Agricultural Media Writing, and AGCJ 307, Design for Agricultural Media, served as reporters for the news conference, along with industry professionals and ALEC Alumni.

Participants also learned from AGCJ graduate students in four technology sessions that covered a variety of topics, including photography, citizen journalism, social media, and blogging. ALEC graduate students Annie Specht, Tobin Redwine, Holli Leggette, Anthony Pannone and Amy Dromgoole, 4-H and Youth Development Graduate Assistant facilitated these sessions.

“My favorite part was getting to see the 4-H group learn about working with the media, even if they were a little uncomfortable in the process,” says Dunsford. “I also loved seeing our AGCJ media writing students do an outstanding job as the media folks.”

The program culminated in an opportunity for students to advocate for agriculture in at the Post Oak Mall on July 19.

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