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Agricultural Educator Receives International Award

Rebecca LawverRebecca Lawver, assistant professor of agricultural education in Utah State University’s School of Applied Science, Technology and Education, recently received the Educator Award at the North American Colleges & Teachers of Agriculture Conference.

This international award recognizes “commitment, excellence, and scholarship in college teaching.”

Lawver teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in agricultural education. She is also the advisor for USU’s Collegiate FFA Club.

“Preparing future secondary agriculture teachers is of utmost importance as we continue to see a shortage of qualified agriculture teachers,” Lawver said. “Also, the public perception of agriculture careers is finally catching up to reality. People want to know where their food comes from, they want to know about nutrition, sustainability, food safety, and a host of other agriculture related things.”

Lawver said helping create lifelong learners who can take meaning from their education is the best part of teaching.

“Dr. Lawver truly cares about her students,” said Cassie Joiner, a student majoring in agriculture education. “You leave Dr. Lawver's classes feeling as if you have gained a friend.”

One of Lawver’s research projects focuses on a program that helps high school students to get experience in agricultural jobs. Known as Supervised Agricultural Experiences, or SAEs, these internship-type experiences may include working on a farm, keeping a flock of chickens and selling the eggs as a small business, or creating a website for an agribusiness. Frequently, high school agriculture teachers are the ones helping students arrange SAEs, but students’ direct supervisors sometimes don’t have much training to prepare them to give students instructions. To help keep high school students safe, Lawver created a safety risk assessment for these experiences. This information will help agriculture teachers across the nation improve supervision and safety instruction.

“Whether someone is a high school agriculture teacher, college teacher of agriculture, or Extension agent, my hopes are to help all agricultural educators find their passion in teaching and use the research I’ve worked on to help them improve what they do,” Lawver said.

 

Writer: Shelby Ruud, shelby.ruud@usu.edu
Contact: Rebecca Lawver, rebecca.lawver@usu.edu