UWRF Alumni Participate in National Teach Ag Panel Moderated by Current Student McKenzie Baecker



Student Spotlights

Ag Education Major Tyler Foote selected to participate in the National Teach Ag Day Future Teacher Workshop.   Learn more

Ag Education Major Sam Tauchen received both the UWRF Chancellor's Award and College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Science Outstanding Senior Award. Sam is currently student teaching at Watertown-Mayer High School.

Ag Education Major Cierra Ehrke-Essock was crowned the 2015 Wisconsin Holstein Princess Attendant. She will represent the Wisconsin Holstein Association at events and dairy cattle shows and provide educational programming to elementary students. Cierra also earned the opportunity to represent Wisconsin in the Senior division of the prepared speaking contest at the National Holstein Convention in June. Learn more

UWRF Teams Successful in National Collegiate Agricultural Education Contests & Award Programs winning several top honors. Learn more

Ag Education majors Skylar Kraemer and Stacey Kunde receive NAAE scholarships. Learn more

Brittany Rambatt selected top student in the Home and/or Community Development area by the National FFA Organization. Learn more

UWRF students active in National Teach Ag Day. Learn more

Alumni Spotlights

Rachel Sauvola featured in the NAAE News and Views. Read more

Roger King named Wisconsin High School Teacher of the Year. Learn more

Shari Graffunder received a Crystal Apple Award. Watch the WMTV clip to learn more.

Marketing Communications alumnus Amber Elliot received the WHY (Wisconsin Holstein Youth) Friends award for her work helping youth in Dane County prepare for events including the dairy bowl competition held each year at the Wisconsin Junior Holstein Convention.

Kaleb Santy was recognized as the WIXX/Marian University November Teacher of the Month.

Several UWRF agricultural education alumni were recognized at the 2014 National Association of Agricultural Educators Convention:

  • Rachel Sauvola - Regional Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award
  • Jeanna James & Kristy Rothe - Regional Outstanding Young Member Award
  • Linda Petersen - Outstanding Middle/Secondary Ag Ed Program Award
  • Kristy Rothe - Ideas Unlimited
  • Amie Stillman - Teachers Turn the Key
  • Aaron Kilsdonk & Kirk Kramp - XLR8 - eXcellence in Leadership for Retention

News and Events

Accomplishments of Alumni and Current Students

2014-15 Academic Year

UWRF Teams Successful in National Collegiate Agricultural Education Contests & Award Programs

UW-River Falls received Platinum Level recognition in the A.W. Nolan Memorial Leadership Award. This award recognizes national leadership and professional development opportunities for their members. This is the 10th consecutive year receiving this distinction.

1st Place Team –Debate

Debate team members included: Maureen Croak (Eagle River, WI), Tanner Johnson (Bangor, WI), Zachary Markhardt (Black River Falls, WI) and Nathan Overby (Amery, WI)

1st Place in the Community Service area of the Program of Excellence

Program of Excellence presented by Jennifer Elsenpeter (Marine on St. Croix, MN)

1st Place Chair - Parliamentary Procedure - Kathryn Chapman (Endeavor, WI)

2nd Place Team – Parliamentary Procedure

Parliamentary Procedure team members included: Connor Anderson (Clear Lake, WI), Kathryn Chapman, Isaac Christenson (Amery, WI), Shawna Henke (Amery/Deer Park, WI), and Samuel Tauchen (Bonduel, WI)

4th Place Team - Quiz Bowl

Quiz Bowl team members included: Lindsay Anderson (Gresham, WI) Alexandra Klapoetke (Westfield/Montello, WI), Amber Nesbitt (Mosinee, WI), Justin Stangel (Kewaunee, WI)

National Association of Agricultural Educators Upper Division Scholarships – Skylar Kraemer (Cascade, WI) & Stacey Kunde (Oshkosh, WI)

Current UWRF students and alumni played an active role in the 2014 Teach Ag Day events

9 current agricultural education majors participated in the Future Teacher Event hosted on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus that morning and attended the live stream event held at CHS headquarters that afternoon. Joel Koch served on the future teacher panel during the event.

Two additional agricultural education majors participated in the live stream event. Erin Larsen introduced 2013-14 National FFA Eastern Region VP Wes Davis and McKenzie Baecker moderated the current teacher panel.

Two UWRF alumni served on the current teacher panel: Mary Hoffmann and Rachel Sauvola

Visit to view a recording of the event and learn more about the National Teach Ag Campaign

2013 - 2014

Ag Education majors Sally Albers, Sauk Prairie, and Leeah Luepke, Spencer, elected to WI FFA State Office.

Melissa Ploeckelman was selected as a finalist for Alice in Dairyland.

The Ag Education Society & ATA Relay for Life team raised $1,526.15 to support the American Cancer Society.

Brittany Rambatt is featured in the 2013 Wisconsin FFA and Wisconsin FFA Foundation Annual Report - See the Vision Live the Mission.

Melissa Ploeckelman was selected as a finalist for Alice in Dairyland.

Gena Lillenthal, Brittany Babik and Kellie Claflin attended the 2013 National Association of Agricultural Educators conference as Teachers Turn the Key Scholarship recipients. This program supports agricultural education teachers in their second, third or fourth year of teaching.

Whitney Barnes, Kessa Firkus & Stacey Kunde received a $1,000 grant from the CHS Foundation to support the National Teach Ag Day activities held on campus and their work as National Teach Ag Ambassadors.

Rachel Kroeplien selected to receive NAAE Upper Division Scholarship. Rachel completed an intern teaching experience in Granton. Read more

Whitney Barnes, Kessa Firkus & Stacey Kunde selected as National Teach Ag Ambassadors. Click here for the press release and Read more

Linda Peterson, agricultural education teacher at West Central High School in Hartford South Dakota, received a 2013 Ford Challenge grant through NAAE. One FFA chapter in each of NAAE's six regions receives a $3,000 grant to buy needed materials, offset travel expenses and supplement resources that will support and enhance their leadership development activities. This is the third consecutive year that the West Central FFA has been selected to receive a grant through this program.

Jaclyn Tweeten, UWRF Marketing Communications graduate and current master's degree student at Iowa State University, presented a research poster at the American Association for Agricultural Education Annual Conference held in Columbus, Ohio May 21-24. The project was titled Utilizing Twitter as a Communication Tool for Expressing Concerns of Agricultural Education Student Teachers.


Alex Klapoetke elected as WI FFA Parliamentarian.

Ag Education Students' Relay for Life team raised $1,213 to support cancer research.

Sam Tauchen selected to travel to South America as part of the 2013 International Collegiate Agricultural Leadership (I-CAL) program.

Laura Hasselquist, ag education teacher in Chippewa Falls, and Rick Henningfeld, Ag education teacher at Big Foot High School, both authored articles in the March/April issue of The Agricultural Education Magazine. These articles, STEM's Top 10 and Creating STEMinded Thinkers in Agriculture, suggest ways for teachers to increase the level of science, technology, engineering and math taught though secondary agricultural education courses.

Mark Cournoyer, Auburndale ag education teacher, quoted in a Country Today article describing the Auburndale FFA's success in raising funds for a grain rescue tube.

NAAE Conference Awards

UWRF agricultural education students and alumni were honored at the 2012 National Association of Agricultural Educators conference. Awards included:

  • Jamie Renier, Kimberly Schadrie & Taliah Scheibinger - 2012 NAAE Scholarships
  • Jeanna James & Jennifer Schultz - Teachers Turn the Key
  • Roger King - National Agriscience Teacher of the Year
  • Candice Olson - Outstanding Young Member
  • Adam Wehling - Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher
  • Jim Melby - Ideas Unlimited
  • Brenda Scheil - Outstanding Service Award

FFA State Officers

Zach Markhardt elected to WI FFA State Office.

Sabrina Kieser and Marjorie Schleper serving as MN FFA State Officers. 

Campus Awards

Kim Schadrie awarded 2012 Chancellor's Award.

Previous Years

Candis O'Brien Submits First Thesis to New UWRF Electronic Collection

Graduate students completing Plan A Theses and Plan B Papers are now required to submit their work to the MINDS@UW-River Falls digital repository. Candis was the first student to complete a thesis since this policy was implemented. Learn more...

Students Receive National Awards

Members of the Agricultural Education Society and Alpha Tau Alpha (ATA) student organizations received several awards at the 2011 National Collegiate Agricultural Education Conference and ATA Conclave. The groups received the top award in the Fellowship category and second overall in the Program of Excellence. This contest recognizes agricultural education related student organizations for their performance in four categories: Professional Development, Fundraising, Community Service, and Fellowship. The contest consists of a written application and presentation given during the opening session. Kally Bockenhauer, an agricultural education major from Mindoro, WI, prepared the written application and delivered the presentation.

The group also received Platinum Level recognition in the A.W. Nolan Memorial Leadership Award. This award recognizes collegiate agricultural education organizations for their pursuit of national leadership and professional development opportunities for their members. No other campus has received this level every year the award has been given.

Megan Kelly, an agricultural education major from La Crosse, WI, received top honors in the Parliamentary Procedure Contest. She earned the highest score on the written test portion of the contest. Students also competed in the Debate, Essay, and Quiz Bowl Contests; staffed the UWRF CAFES booth in the National FFA Convention Career Show; and participated in activities sponsored by the Collegiate FFA and FFA Alumni groups.

Rachel Kroeplien Completes Summer Internship in Ohio

Rachel Kroeplien, an agricultural education major from Sheboygan Falls, WI, spent the summer Bowling Green, Ohio, working for in Hartung Brothers, Inc. Read all about her experiences working at a cucumber tank yard in her blog.

McKenzie Baecker Selected as a 2011 National Teach Ag Ambassador

McKenzie Baecker, agricultural education major from Independence, WI, has been selected as a 2011 National Teach Ag Ambassador.

Selection for the National Teach Ag Ambassador program is a highly competitive process, with only 10 ambassadors being selected from a national pool of applicants.  Ambassadors are students currently pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree in agricultural education who have a passion for the profession and the demonstrated ability to share the opportunities available through a career in agricultural education.

The 2011 Teach Ag Ambassadors will be responsible for working the Teach Ag booth at the National FFA Convention, where they will talk with attendees about the possibilities of a career in agricultural education.

Laura Hasselquist attends Agriscience Academy

Laura Hasselquist, teacher in the Chippewa Falls Area Unified School District, participated in the 2011 9th annual National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador Academy (NATAA) at DuPont's Chesapeake Farms. Laura received her BS and MS degrees in Agricultural Education from UWRF. Following the academy she stated, "The Ag Academy was a tremendous experience. I can't wait for the school year to start - my students won't know what hit them! This experience helped remind me that good teaching is an art form." Read more about the academy...

Amanda Huppert-Sazama Receives Scholarship

A student in the Initial Certification Masters Program, Amanda Huppert-Sazama was selected to receive a 2011 National Association of Agricultural Educators Upper Division Ag Education Scholarship. Sponsored by Delmar Cengage Learning, recipients must be planning to student teach during the 2011-12 school year. Amanda is a River Falls Native and UWRF Graduate who returned to campus in the fall of 2010 to pursue a teaching license in agricultural education.

Katie Wirkus Selected as 64th Alice in Dairyland

An Athens native has been crowned as Wisconsin's 64th Alice in Dairyland. Katie Wirkus was selected for the honor in Wautoma during a finale program hosted by Waushara County. Raised on her family's dairy and swine farm in Marathon County, Katie is a CAFES graduate of UW-River Falls with degrees in agricultural education and mathematics. Read more...

2010 - 2011 Archive

Claflin and Peissig Named Chancellor's Award Recipients

Kellie Claflin, an agricultural education major from Osseo, WI, and Whitney Peissig, a marketing communications - agriculture major from Colby, WI, are among seven recipients of the 2011 Chancellor's Award for Students. The Chancellor's Award recognizes students who posses the qualities of leadership, service, and commitment and acknowledges a student's unique personal traits and skills. This award is granted to upper class students and is not solely based on scholastic achievement.

Lindsay Meissner to Receive Crystal Apple Award

Lindsay Meissner, a 2005 UWRF agricultural education graduate and agriculture teacher in Greenwood, was recently named as one of four 2011 Marshfield Area Crystal Apple Award winners. She will receive her award at at the Crystal Apple banquet Oct. 5 in Marshfield. 

Candice Olson Receives New Instructor Award

Candice Olson, a 2004 UWRF agricultural education graduate, received the 2011 new Instructor Award from the Wisconsin Association for Career and Technical Education. Candice serves as an agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor at Badger High School in Lake Geneva, WI.

Recent Graduates Named 2011 Alice in Dairyland Finalists

Melissa Ploeckelman and Katie Wirkus, both 2010 UWRF Agricultural Education graduates, were named to the list of 5 finalists for Alice in Dairyland. This annual marketing position within the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection promotes Wisconsin agriculture. Alice travels the state and beyond helping groups of all ages learn the value of Wisconsin agricultural products. The 2011 Alice in Dairyland will be named May 14 at the finals hosed by Waushara County.

Visit Wisconsin Ag Connection to learn more about the finalists.

Student Organizations Raise Over $1,000 to Fight Cancer

Student members of the UWRF Agricultural Education Society and Alpha Tau Alpha organizations raised $1,010.14 in donations to the American Cancer Society through Relay for Life. The two groups worked cooperatively on a number of fundraising events and actively participated in the River Falls Relay for Life held March 25 -26.

Students Receive National Honors

UWRF Agricultural Education Society members earned several honors during the 2010 National Collegiate Agricultural Education Conference. The Parliamentary Procedure Team, shown below, received first place on the written test portion of the contest. This is the third straight year that a team representing UWRF has received this honor. Kim Schadrie earned the top individual score on the test. The team placed second in the overall contest.

Jamie Renier presented the UWRF Program of Excellence, which took first place overall for the second consecutive year. UWRF also received top honors in the categories of community service and fellowship. UWRF again received the A.W. Nolan Memorial Leadership Award (platinum level). We are the only campus to receive the platinum level for every year the award has been given.

Parliamentary Team 2010

Parliamentary Procedure team members Kayla McCann, Megan Kelly, Kimberly Schadrie, Stacey Kunde and Ashley Johnson.


Contact Us

Agricultural Education
Ph: 715-425-3555
Fax: 715-425-3785
Location: 131 Agricultural Science Building
Mailing Address: 410 S. 3rd St., River Falls, WI 54022
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