From the Desk of an Expert

Posted: August 1, 2012

As a special treat for you, I interviewed one of our college's fantastic faculty members, Dr. John Ewing. He is the program coordinator for my major and a great guy, so I was happy to gather some info from him!
Dr. John C. Ewing is the AEE Program Coordinator and is also a Student Advisor and Associate Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education.

Dr. John C. Ewing is the AEE Program Coordinator and is also a Student Advisor and Associate Professor of Agricultural and Extension Education.

Tell me about the Agricultural and Extension Education (AEE) major.

"The AEE major has three options. Two of the options, the Production and Environmental Science options, prepare students to be certified by the state of Pennsylvania as agricultural science teachers. The third option, Leadership Development, prepares students to go out into various industries to hold management-level positions in agricultural businesses."

Why should incoming students be interested in this major?

"Put simply, there are jobs at the end of the road. Most students who go through our program enter into the workforce as agricultural science teachers in secondary education. Our graduates find jobs in education both here and in other states. There are also jobs for our certified teachers in industry. Some become well-prepared communicators and teachers for agricultural companies. The same is true for the leadership development option students. They are hired into industry because of their various skills in communication, management, leadership, and teamwork."

How is the AEE major different from other education majors?

"We are unique in many ways. We’re a small profession compared to math, English, chemistry, and biology education, but the biggest difference between us and other education majors is the opportunity for our students to teach in an applied setting. They can take the sciences that they love, like biology and chemistry, and teach them with a real-world application in agricultural education."

What do you find most rewarding being an academic adviser?

"There are a lot of rewards along the way, but graduation day is always cool—seeing students walk across the stage that otherwise may not have been able to do so without proper academic advising is something I enjoy. I even like the 'mundane' tasks of advising because students reveal their gratitude when I simply help them in selecting courses. Knowing that I’ve actually helped them make a good decision is always rewarding."

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?

(Note: Dr. Ewing received the College of Ag Sciences Excellence in Academic Advising award last year, so he knows what he’s talking about!)

"First, meet with your academic adviser—early and often. Get to know your adviser as soon as possible and build a relationship with them because they will help you down the road. Secondly, get involved—be involved in clubs and organizations that interest you and eventually take on leadership roles in those organizations. And finally, focus on academics, especially early in your college career. While you may get distracted at first trying to find your place in college, it’s hard to get yourself out of a hole that you may have dug yourself into within the first couple semesters. Obviously being accepted is important, but those first few semesters carry a lot of weight, so keep focusing on academics."