UWRF News Release Agricultural Education Society/ATA Attend Convention

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UWRF Students Make Impact at Ag Ed Conference

Ag Ed SocietyNOV. 6, 2009 | The University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF) Alpha Tau Alpha and Agricultural Education Society members made an impact at the National Alpha Tau Alpha Conclave and National Collegiate Agricultural Education Conference (NCAEC) held in Indianapolis in conjunction with the National FFA Convention, Oct. 22-24. The group took home awards and honors in every contest area.

The National ATA Conclave and NCAEC brought collegiate students involved in agricultural education organizations from 23 universities together to compete in five different contests and to network with professionals and hear from individuals involved with agricultural education at the state and national levels. UWRF received the A.W. Nolan Memorial Leadership Award at the platinum level for the fifth year. The Nolan Leadership Award recognizes collegiate organizations for their participation throughout the school year.

UWRF was also recognized for their 100 percent student membership in the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE). Jeff Dombroski, a junior agricultural education major from Amherst, Preston Green, a junior from Richland Center, Alex Patten, a junior from Boyd, and Leonard Polzin, a senior dairy science major from Cadott, placed first in the debate contest. This year’s topic was “Should the federal government be implementing the Biomass Crop Assistance Program?”

UWRF won the overall Program of Excellence contest, which focuses on collegiate agricultural education organizations’ achievements in the areas of community service, fellowship, fundraising, and professional development. Katie Wirkus, a senior agricultural education and math major from Athens, represented UWRF in the competition.

Debate TeamUWRF also placed first in the professional development division. Kellie Claflin, a senior agricultural education major from Osseo, received a plaque for winning the essay contest. The essay topic this year focused on agricultural education advocacy.

The quiz bowl team comprised of Claflin, Nikki Beucler, a senior agricultural education major from Faribault, Minn., Teal Kampe, a junior agricultural education major from Oshkosh, and Hunter Wojcik, a junior agricultural education major from Hatley, placed second overall among the 15 teams that competed. The questions focused on the following areas: agricultural economics, the NAAE, the National Young Farmers Educational Association, and professional education.

Parli TeamThe parliamentary procedure team (left) placed second overall and took first place in the written test. Team members included: Megan Kelly, a freshman agricultural education major from Holmen, Nathan Kringle, a senior dairy science major from Barron, Emily Lezpona, a junior agricultural education major from Holmen, Melissa Ploeckelman, a senior agricultural education major from Stetsonville, and Kaleb Santy, a senior agricultural education major from Pulaski. Kringle and Santy also tied for first place individual for the written test.

UWRF students attended the National FFA Convention career show representing the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences booth. They also assisted with workshops in the Teacher’s World portion of the career show.

The national youth organization for agricultural education, FFA, has a membership of more than 500,000 students and more than 54,000 members, advisors and guests attend the national convention each fall.

Other students who traveled with the university to Indianapolis were LeeAnn Hitsman, a freshman agricultural education major from Howards Grove, Rachel Kroeplien, a freshman agricultural education major from Sheboygan Falls, and John Nelson, a sophomore agricultural education major from Galesville. Alpha Tau Alpha is the national professional honorary organization for students majoring in agricultural education.

UWRF’s Agricultural Education Society is a united student organization that is open to all majors focusing on community service and advocating for agriculture. Both organizations focus on developing as leaders and providing service, especially to agriculture and agricultural education on the local, state and national levels.

Photo, above, right (L to R): Debate team: Jeff Dombroski, Alex Patten, Preston Green, and Lenny Polzin.

Photo, above, left (L to R): Parlimentary team: LeeAnn Hitsman, Kaleb Santy, Megan Kelly, Melissa Ploeckelman, Nathan Kringle, and Emily Lezpona.


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