New faculty member aims to support the growth of agricultural education

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Kevin Curry Jr. recently joined Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences as an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education.

Curry's expertise in career development through both basic and applied perspectives will provide valuable resources to students, enhancing their education at Penn State, according to László J. Kulcsár, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education.

"In addition, he worked as an agriculture teacher, which gives him ample hands-on expertise to excel in his academic scholarship," he said. "I am very much looking forward to seeing Dr. Curry as a successful educator and researcher, and it is my pleasure to welcome him to the departmental community."

Curry earned undergraduate degrees in animal science and agricultural education and a master's in agricultural education from North Carolina State University. He then taught high school agriculture in Randolph County, North Carolina, where he led chartering of a new FFA chapter and oversaw the development of barn, greenhouse and laboratory facilities for courses in animal science, horticulture and biotechnology.

After teaching high school for four years, he returned to North Carolina State University to pursue a doctorate in agricultural education. During that time, he worked as a graduate teaching and research assistant, taught several preservice teacher education courses, supervised student teachers, and conducted educational research.

He earned several awards for teaching excellence, including the 2016 North Carolina State University Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award and the 2015 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Graduate Student Teaching Award of Merit.

The aim of Curry's research is to support the growth of agricultural education. He examines issues such as student motivation — most notably participation in competitive career and leadership development. He also investigates best practices for ensuring that teacher candidates are equipped with the tools necessary to succeed and explores agricultural education's role in developing the science literacy of students.

Among Curry's goals as a new faculty member are to develop a science literacy course to explore the nexus of scientific discovery and societal understanding, to learn about the uniqueness of Pennsylvania agricultural education to better prepare pre-service candidates and better serve in-service teachers, and to develop collaborations with other faculty members interested in advancing science literacy in a variety of contexts.

Last Updated September 22, 2017