Professionals across the agriculture industry offered their insight about development in the workplace at the Night for Young Professionals event at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Wooster campus on Feb. 15.

CFAES Wooster hosts Night for Young Professionals 2024

By Kelsie Mannasmith, ACELT at CFAES Wooster

The Agricultural Communicators, Educators, and Leaders of Tomorrow club (ACELT) hosted their second annual Night for Young Professionals event (NYP) at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences Wooster campus (CFAES Wooster) on Feb. 15. Professionals across the agriculture industry offered their insight about development in the workplace. The event was sponsored by the Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff.

Bill Bayliss, Ohio Soybean Council chairman from Logan County, wrote in a letter to the students, “The Ohio Soybean Council and soybean checkoff is proud to sponsor this event. We want to do our part to ensure every segment of the value chain has a pipeline of driven, talented, and enthusiastic students looking to take agriculture to the next level.”

ACELT aims to connect students of the Wooster campus with valuable professional advice and tools from NYP. Students involved in the planning committee helped to develop the schedule, program, events, topics and speakers. There were 90 attendees consisting of agricultural professionals and CFAES Wooster students and faculty at the event where they enjoyed Omahoma Bob’s catering along with three breakout sessions, resume review, free headshots and door prizes.

“Your personal brand is what people think of when they think of you,” Marlene Eick of Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association said while sharing her keynote message about personal branding, “Be you and consistently convey yourself.”

Following Eick’s presentation, students were dismissed to breakout rooms of their choice. The session professionals were Hilary Poulson from Farm Credit Mid America, Melinda Witten from Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), Stephanie Sczpanski from Leppo Rents, Megan Lezzer from BASF, Forrest Lang from CFAES Wooster and Bullseyes Axe Throwing, and John Lorson from Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District. The breakout rooms included:

  • Personal finance for emerging professionals with Hilary Poulson, Growing Forward Specialist for Farm Credit Mid America and manager of Young and Beginning Farmers Program.
  • Professional development post diploma with Melinda Witten, Senior Director of Leadership Development and AgriPOWER Institute Director for OFBF
  • Professional Introductions and Career Readiness Panel with John Lorson, District Program Administrator at Wayne County Soil and Water Conservation District, Stephanie Sczpanski, Manager of Operations at Leppo Rents, Megan Lezzer, Field Marketing Manager at BASF and Forrest Lang, Instructor at Ohio State ATI and entrepreneur.
  • What not to wear: Professional dress in the workplace hosted by Kelly Kyser, Director of Student Life CFAES Wooster.

Cora Crilow, the 2023-2024 ACELT president and second-year agricultural communications student said, “By helping plan this event, I was able to network with all of the professionals who were invited to speak. We’re so thankful for the opportunity to host this event on the Wooster campus. This would not be possible without the support from Ohio Ag Net and Ohio’s Country Journal and the sponsorship from Ohio Soybean Council.”

Other benefits from the night included:

  • Resume review by David Dietrich and Jill Byers, CFAES Wooster Office of Admissions, Caitlin Conrad and Richard Fajardo, CFAES Career Advisors and Denise Rotavera-Krain, CFAES College Success Counselor.
  • Ohio Soybean Association student memberships.
  • Free professional headshots by Seth Richardson, second-year agricultural systems management student at CFAES Wooster.

“I really enjoyed the speakers coming to talk to us and giving us input on what they have done in their careers and advice on how to make our careers better,” Corrissa Griffith, a first-year agricultural education student said.

ACELT is a student organization at CFAES Wooster that offers professional development and networking opportunities to its members and to the campus community. The club fosters student interest and involvement in communication, leadership, and education in addition to their coursework. For more information on the student organization, visit their Instagram, @aceloftomorrow.

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