Ag Advocates serve as ambassadors for College of Agricultural Sciences

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — For 30 years, an elite group of undergraduate students — known as Ag Advocates — have served as ambassadors for Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, building positive relationships with students, alumni and industry professionals.

"Ag Advocates are champions of the college and its 17 majors," said Jean Lonie, director of student recruitment and activities. "These young adults play a vital role in raising awareness about agriculture and its importance. Their service as Ag Advocates distinguishes them as leaders in the academic realm and agricultural industry, and we are grateful for their talents and dedication."

Lonie explained that members of the team are selected based on high academic achievement, involvement in extracurricular activities, interviews and faculty recommendations. By representing the college at major events, including Penn State's Ag Progress Days and the Pennsylvania Farm Show, as well as at special college functions, Ag Advocates support the college's efforts to raise awareness of educational and career opportunities in the food, agricultural and natural resource sciences and to recruit students.

They also have many opportunities to further develop leadership and professional skills, network with industry leaders across all sectors of the agricultural sciences, and establish working relationships with college and University faculty, students, staff, administration and alumni, Lonie added.

Perhaps most important, the advocates serve as liaisons between the college and current and prospective students by providing advice, guiding tours, promoting inclusion and diversity, and helping new students acclimate to college life.

Senior Taylor O'Guinn, of New Windsor, Maryland, is returning for her second year as an Ag Advocate. Her latest volunteer assignments included working as a greeter for the Dean's Welcome event and serving ice cream during the college's annual student involvement fair.

"Having mentors to encourage me to become involved in clubs and activities made a big difference when I was a freshman," she said. "They inspired me to want to do the same — I wanted to be 'that' person for other students. Being an Ag Advocate is rewarding and has given me the chance to have many great experiences and make lifelong friends."

In addition to O'Guinn, the 2017-2018 Ag Advocates and their hometowns are Bunmi Akintola, Lagos, Nigeria; Alex Barna, Aliquippa; Casey Baxter, Columbia Cross Roads; Aaron Blakney, Erie; Alexis Cash, York; Manuel Catala, Exeter, New Hampshire; Cullen Dixon, Frackville; Elise Elizondo, Lake Worth, Florida; Lew Frame, Honeybrook; Olivia Healey, Columbia, Maryland; Victoria Herr, Lancaster; Stephanie Keller, Sinking Spring; and Amy King, Selinsgrove.

Also, Carolyn Lamb, Elkridge, Maryland; Kai Kai Ma, Hong Kong, China; Megan Moran, Scranton; Richard Novak, Pittsburgh; Paulina Oleinik, Columbus, New Jersey; Chase Palmer, Richboro; Emily Resek, Harrisburg; Molly Rogus, Jamison; Dylan Schoemaker, Robesonia; Jon Stephens, Woodland; Michael Zaffuto, DuBois; and Katelyn Zembrzycki, Uniondale.

To learn more, visit the program's website at http://agsci.psu.edu/clubs/ag-advocates.

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Last Updated October 06, 2017