Share

Dr. MeeCee Baker participated in a luncheon with students

Posted: November 30, 2012

On Friday November 9, 2012, the Ag Alumni Society invited Dr. MeeCee Baker '82, '94 Ph.D. Ag Education and five students to speak on her career path and journey in agriculture. While studying at Penn State, Baker credits her professors encouraging her to pursue education to teach agriculture in the classroom.
L-R: Rachel Gruver, Dr. MeeCee Baker, Jena Sigel, Amanda Mosier, Jessie Ross, and PJ Adam

L-R: Rachel Gruver, Dr. MeeCee Baker, Jena Sigel, Amanda Mosier, Jessie Ross, and PJ Adam

Pathways in Agricultural Education

By Jena Sigel, Ag Alumni Relations Intern

Dr. MeeCee Baker, '82 , '94, PhD Ag Ed

 

MeeCee Baker thought she would become a veterinarian, but instead she became a teacher.  In graduate school, Baker thought she would be studying dairy management, but instead found herself in the middle of a research project involving the marketing of potatoes. She laughs about this course of events during a roundtable discussion including five Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences students and Naomi Knaub, Director of Alumni Relations. Students participating in the luncheon were: Rachel Gruver (Junior, AN SC, Collegiate 4-H member), Jessie Ross (Junior, Ag Ed, Collegiate 4-H member), PJ Adam (Senior, Ag Ed, Collegiate FFA member), Amanda Mosier (Senior, AN SC, Block and Bridle member), and Jena Sigel (Junior, AN SC, Block and Bridle member).

 

After earning a master’s degree in agricultural economics from University of Delaware, Baker embarked on a 23 year teaching hitch which took her from a high school to a college classroom.  Ultimately, she became the first female elected as president of the National Association of Agricultural Educators and eventually supervised student teachers in the Penn State College of Education.  From there, she was appointed to the position as education coordinator for the PA Department of Agriculture where she was reunited with her Penn State classmate Russell Redding (former PA Secretary of Agriculture).

 

In January 2007, Baker joined an agricultural lobbying firm which became Versant Strategies.  She serves as the managing partner and chief operating officer.  She and the five others at Versant Strategies advocate for agricultural entities. Versant connects agricultural interests with governmental policy makers and program personnel.  She states, “We find opportunities for our clients and assist them in developing and pursuing their legislative agendas”. She says she still teaches about agriculture, but now in a different venue.

 

Baker encouraged the students at the luncheon to pursue their interests.  She states that very few career paths can be predicted.  Therefore, be open to opportunities that stretch comfort zones.

 

Baker also shared with the group her "Ten Tips for Success":

 

1. Do it right now (meaning do not procrastinate and do a task right the first time).

2. The devil is in the details, so pay attention to details.

3. Make connections. Network and review your contact list on a yearly basis.

4. Offer something before you ask for something.

5. Don't do or write anything you wouldn't want to see on the front page of a newspaper or on the news.

6. Send handwritten thank you notes.

7. Get organized - find a system that works for you.

8. Find your passion.

9. Manage your finances.

10. Discover and do what makes you happy.

 

For more information, contact Jena Sigel, Ag Alumni Relations Intern at jls6196@psu.edu.