Degree Type

Creative Component

Semester of Graduation

Spring 2020


Agricultural Education and Studies

First Major Professor

Scott Smalley


Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Education


There are 98,300 public schools in the United States (Bustamante, 2019). According to the National Association of Agricultural Education, there are approximately 8,200 high school and middle school agricultural education programs throughout the United States and Puerto Rico (Thompson & Fritsch, 2011). Agricultural classes were not offered at the high school I attended and as a result I was not given the opportunity to be exposed to agriculture curriculum until college. However, I did have the opportunity to grow up on a working dairy and grain farm that was ran by my family. I grew up 45 minutes outside the city of Chicago, in what once was a farming community and is now better known as a suburb. Due to the lack of agriculture exposure and shrinking footprint of the family farm, I continually witness many misconceptions and misunderstandings about agriculture.

Currently, I live in a small town in a county that is known for agriculture. To my surprise, many of those same misconceptions and misunderstandings persist. Fortunately, high school agriculture classes are more prevalent and have reached maximum capacity in our district. Although, I have always wondered why we are not harnessing learning opportunity earlier. I believe, we need to offer an introductory class at the junior high school level so students can have the opportunity to go more in-depth in high school agriculture classes. In middle school, my school district offers four varying classes each of the nine weeks to the three grade levels. For example, these courses consist of lab science, health, geometry, and a research paper for the eighth grade students. This presents a good opportunity to share the fundamentals of agriculture with my students in place of the nine weeks of lab science.

Copyright Owner

Schultz, Katelyn

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