Sponsored by the College of Agricultural Sciences Alumni Society, the award recognizes faculty and staff members for overall effectiveness in student advising, personal counseling, and individual student goal setting and career planning. Candidates are recommended by faculty members, students, administrators, and alumni.
Foster has advised an average of 35 undergraduate students majoring in agricultural and extension education and an average of 10 graduate students on an annual basis since his appointment in 2009. He also provides leadership to the agricultural teacher certification program as student-teacher coordinator.
In addition, he has taught 12 undergraduate courses, participated in numerous recruitment and outreach activities, and disseminates his research on global competency and school-based agricultural education in multiple outlets.
Foster was recommended for the award by a long list of current agriscience teachers he advised during their time at Penn State. They describe his passion and enthusiasm for agricultural education on a global scale, his demand for excellence from his advisees, his tireless efforts to guide them toward expanded opportunities in their field during and after their college years, the wise advice he dispenses regarding career choices, and his dynamic dedication to making students he advises successful.
"Daniel Foster has had more of an impact on my life than I can squeeze into a letter; he transformed me from a reckless 20-year-old into a passionate educator," said Tyler Creamons, who teaches at Nonnewaug High School in Connecticut.
"It is evident that he sees serving as an academic adviser as more than a job, but rather a commitment to creating the best, most rewarding experience for his advisees," said Janae Bickhart, a teacher at Broadway High School in Virginia.
When it comes to goal setting and career planning, Foster's energy and motivation to serve students and advisees is constantly evident, according to Allison Hoover, who now works at Ripon Christian School in California. "I can honestly claim that, without his superb and holistic advising during my college career, I would be lacking in several of the most beneficial experiences."
Perhaps former advisee Janae Herr--who pointed out that Foster makes himself available to his students at any time--best summed up the wide admiration for his advising style: "He is intentional about holding his students to a high standard and pushing us to be the best version of ourselves," said the agricultural and extension education major. "I count myself as privileged to be one of his students."