Profiles of our graduates and faculty can be found here. They are found in chronological order with the most recent entries being listed first. Older profiles can be found by scanning down the page. If you would like to nominate a current AEE student or a past AEE graduate to be featured in this section please contact the AEE webmaster. We like to recognize graduates or current students who have unique stories, accomplished something noteworthy or are just plain interesting. Our Department is all about people and we have several thousands current students and past graduates who are worthy of being featured.
9/30/2013 - Julia Rotman-smith
“Man despite his artistic pretensions, his sophistication, and his many accomplishments owes his existence to a six inch layer of topsoil and the fact that it rains.”Julia Rotman-Smith grew up on a dairy farm in Northern New York. She has been around agriculture all of her life. When she was 16, she served as the local Dairy Princess which solidified her love for agricultural outreach education.
Julia came to NC State to pursue her Masters in agriculture education. Julia wanted to become a teacher because she saw it as an avenue to spread her love of agriculture. She also really enjoys the agriculture education community. She said that she decided to come to NC State because “the program is fantastic.” While she was at NC State, her favorite thing was living in the south which was completely different for her. “It was a great experience to live someplace new and to absorb the culture of Raleigh.” Julia enjoyed how NC State had so many great things occurring simultaneously. She said she loved the climate and being only two hours away from the ocean.
Julia graduated with her Masters degree in 2003. Currently, Julia teaches at Cayuga Onondaga Regional Education Center located in Central New York. She enjoys the diversity of her job and that she gets to do so much more than just teach. She enjoys the management and creation of her program. At the Cayuga Onondaga Regional Education, Julia teaches vet science, floral design/greenhouse management and agriculture business. Her advice to incoming freshmen is to “keep your options open.” “Life leads you down many unexpected roads and having a strong education, good ethics, the ability to adapt to various careers, and a great partner to “ride the river” with can go a long way.” She said that teaching agriculture can be encompassing and you have to create a balance in your personal life and career.
9/3/2013 - Travis Park
Dr. Travis Park is the newest faculty member to the Agriculture Extension and Education Department. Dr. Park was raised on a small farm in central Indiana. During his childhood his family raised corn, soybeans, chickens, sheep, and pigs. Travis and his two brothers paid their way through college by custom bailing hay and straw during the summer months. Each summer on average they would bale and sell 40,000 bales.
During his high school years, Dr. Park was an active member of both the 4-H and FFA organizations. Through 4-H, he showed pigs, sheep, and beef. Early in his 4-H participation Travis participated in woodworking, posters, and sewing. Dr. Park said that “the highlight of my 4-H experience was winning the Master Showmanship competition at the Johnson County Fair.” In the FFA, Travis served as chapter secretary, an Indiana state FFA officer, and a National FFA officer. In FFA, he enjoyed soils and livestock judging, parliamentary procedure, and the speaking contests. A highlight of his FFA involvement was “when a group of us FFA members created a mall band and won state talent for two years and performed on-stage at the National FFA Convention in Kansas City.” As a national officer, Travis had the opportunity to travel throughout the United States. His favorite part of being a national officer was meeting so many FFA members, agriculture teachers, and state staff throughout the nation. During his time as a national FFA officer, Travis had the privilege of attending President Clinton’s signing of the FFA Week proclamation. He said it was “very cool, especially because my local TV news station in Lafayette, Indiana, interviewed me following the event on the White House Lawn.”
Inspired by his parents, Dr. Park decided to major in agriculture education with the hope of becoming a teacher. In his home, education was prevalent since both of his parents were teachers. Many other agriculture teachers throughout Indiana also encouraged him to teach. However, when Dr. Park first began his college career at Purdue University his major was agriculture sales and marketing. He quickly realized that he did not want to be in agriculture sales but preferred making a difference in the lives of people through agriculture. He wanted to be a part of something larger than himself, so for him agriculture education was a natural fit.
At Purdue University, Travis served as an agriculture ambassador where he got to meet numerous alumni, recruit students, and got to know the faculty better. He also served as recruitment chairman for FarmHouse Fraternity, vice-president for the Agriculture Council, vice-president of Mortar Board, and as a justice on the Judicial Board. Needless to say, he was very busy during his time at Purdue.
Dr. Park decided to come to NC State because the AEE department is one of the best departments of its kind in the nation. He also said the faculty members are leaders and scholars. So far, Dr. Park has said that everyone he has met has been so nice, helpful, and welcoming.
Finally, Dr. Park’s advice for incoming freshman is to “Strive to be a different/better person when you graduate State than we you arrived. To do that, you will need to try new activities, join a club that has a different circle of friends from your normal crew, travel abroad, develop a mentor relationship with a professor or staff member, make a difference in the campus, and of course, study hard.”
7/5/2013 - Beth Wilson
Dr. Beth Wilson was recently named as the Director of the NCSU Agricultural Institute. The Agricultural Institute is a two-year program that provides hands-on technical education in agriculture and related areas. Dr. Wilson earned all three degrees in Agricultural Education from our department.
Wilson has won numerous teaching awards, including FFA’s National Agri-Science Teacher of the Year, the American Association for Agricultural Education’s Southern Region Distinguished Teaching Award, the American Vocational Education Research Association’s Outstanding Beginning Teacher and Scholar Award, N.C. State’s Outstanding Teaching Award and the Regional Teaching Award from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. She is nationally known for integrating biotechnology into agricultural curricula.
4/1/2013 - Daniel Alvey
Daniel Alvey grew up in Madison, North Carolina and attended Madison High School. Daniel helped his grandfather on his farm where he grew tobacco and also did construction work. By working with his grandfather, Daniel found his passion for agriculture. Daniel is a junior in Agriculture Education at North Carolina State University. During his freshmen year of college, Daniel was an FFA state officer. Through this, he traveled across the state meeting, teaching, and inspiring young FFA members in middle and high school. Last year as a sophomore, Daniel was the president of Collegiate FFA where he provided direction for the club as a leader. He is also in Alpha Zeta, the CALS coed honors fraternity, where he serves as the chair of leadership and government relations. Daniel is also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success.
Through the National FFA Organization’s International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership Program (I-CAL), Daniel traveled with twelve other collegiate FFA members last summer to Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam for two weeks. Daniel said his favorite experience was “learning about the difference in countries in an agricultural setting.” He also said that the experience made him “appreciate things we take for granted like a clean environment, good transportation system, and freedom.” Last summer, Daniel also worked as an intern for the National FFA Organization as an intern for collegiate programs. In this role, he worked on collegiate programs and chapter development. As for this summer, he plans to enroll in summer classes and get a job. What advice does he have for incoming freshmen? “Become involved in as many student organizations as your schedule allows and be aware of all the resources available here at NC State.”
1/3/2013 - Jenny Johnson
Jenny Johnson, AEE graduate (Class of '08) is the regional agronomist for Beaufort, Dare, Hyde, Martin, Pamlico, Tyrrell and Washington counties. “We’re glad to have Jenny Johnson join our staff,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “She has field experience in the traditional crops of our Coastal Plain, such as cotton, peanuts, soybeans and tobacco. She will be a valuable resource for growers." Johnson earned her bachelor’s degree in AEE and master's degree in crop science from NCSU. She has conducted field tests, presented research findings and engaged in pest management endeavors such as scouting. Jenny will provide advice on crop fertilization, nutrient management, lime needs, soil testing, plant tissue analysis, use of animal wastes and composts, nematode analysis, and testing of source water and nutrient solutions.
12/4/2012 - Shaterri Palmer
Shaterri Palmer is an Extension Education major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. She is a native of California and now resides in Bertie County, NC when not attending classes at NC State. Even as a young teenager, she dreamed of a career where she could help people. Most days, you can find her doing just that in her role as a community assistant at NC State University. Community assistants are scholar-leaders who live and work in the residence halls at NC State. Shaterri's work as a peer leader involves a variety of experiences including mediating conflict among students, to teaching job interview skills and resume preparation. As a lead summer conference assistant, she is often the first person to welcome summer programs guests to the NCSU campus. Upon graduation from NCSU, Shaterri hopes to take her passion for service into a health career. Her advice to other students? "Take the time to participate in service learning projects. Don't be afraid to get involved! You will meet some fascinating people, and make the difference that matters in their lives."
10/7/2012 - Elizabeth Estep
Elizabeth Eastep grew up on a small livestock farm in Yanceyville, North Carolina. Raising beef cattle and showing livestock ignited her passion for agriculture, and the FFA pushed her to develop her leadership abilities. Elizabeth is a junior in Agricultural Science at North Carolina State University and has traveled to locations including Africa and Argentina through the National FFA Organization’s international internship program. Her message?
“We cannot live without agriculture. All people should understand how important the agriculture industry is and how it effects them. Not only is it producing food, fiber, and fuel, but it’s biotechnology, it’s business and finance, and it is the conservation and wise use of our natural resources. People need to understand that no matter how distant or removed they are from agriculture, it affects them every day! I want to share the message of the agriculture industry with others, and then empowering them to tell others!”
Elizabeth will get the chance to do just that this summer when she takes up her duties as a mentor leader at FFA’s Washington Leadership Conference this summer. She will lead workshops for students all across the nation, centering her message on increasing their capacity to lead. One of her main goals will be to showcase how leadership in agriculture can improve the lives of students, and how these students can carry ideas and methods of leadership back to their communities. “Global leadership begins right outside your front door. If we can teach young people to be agricultural leaders in their home communities, then they can spread that message across the world.”
Elizabeth will also be attending Wyoming State University in the Fall of 2012 through the exchange program offered through NCSU, but she has a larger goal in mind. “I would love to be involved in international agriculture education in developing countries at some point in life. As far as a long-term career, still working on getting that figured out. I know I want to stay actively involved in the agriculture industry and work to continue to educate others about our industry and it’s importance.”