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UWRF successful at national agricultural education competition

November 20, 2015

University of Wisconsin-River Falls Alpha Tau Alpha (ATA) individual members or teams were recognized in five out of six contests at the National Collegiate Agricultural Education Conference/ATA Conclave, in Louisville, Ky., Oct. 28-30.

ATA is the national professional honorary agricultural education organization, and sponsors a series of intercollegiate competitions at the conference that is held annually in conjunction with the National FFA Convention.

Collegiate agricultural education organizations share information on activities they conduct in the areas of professional development, fundraising, community service and fellowship with the chance to be recognized for their efforts. UW-River Falls was awarded first place for their Program of Excellence in the Fellowship area. Madeline Bode, of Cassville, gave the presentation on behalf of the UW-River Falls group. Bode described their Big/Little activities and their Shadow Day for admitted students in which the Big/Little initiative centers around connecting freshmen with upper-level students. The Shadow Day gives admitted students the chance to attend classes, meet current students, faculty and staff and get a personalized tour of the campus and the College.

Individually, Hannah Eckblad, of Zumbrota, Minn., excelled in the parliamentary procedure competition by taking top honors in the written test that covers general knowledge of parliamentary law.

Co-authors Leeah Luepke, of Spencer, and Travis Sprague, of Wittenberg, took second place in the team essay competition with their response to the question, “Does the three-circle model develop 21st Century skills in students?”

In the debate competition, team members had to argue both sides of the issue in separate contests. The 2015 topic was: A nation-wide moratorium on new agricultural education programs or expansions of existing programs should be implemented and kept in place until the supply of agriculture teachers is sufficient to meet or exceed the demand for existing programs. The UW-River Falls team captured third place. Team members included: Michelle Herrman, of Sparta; Alexandra Klapoetke, of Westfield; William Larson, of Aitkin, Minn.; and Lea Zuern, of Hartford.

For the 11th consecutive year, UW-River Falls received platinum level recognition in the A. W. Nolan Memorial Leadership Award. This award recognizes organizations for their pursuit of national leadership and professional development opportunities for their members.

Jim Graham, professor of agricultural education at UWRF, was recognized as he stepped down from his yearlong term as president of ATA. Succeeding him as president is his colleague, Tim Buttles, professor of agricultural education.

For more information about this event, email laura.walsh@ uwrf.edu or call 715-425-3535.