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Youth Development & Agricultural Education

Projects & Grants

Creating a Pipeline for Agricultural Education Teachers in Indiana
Funding Indiana Education Roundtable

The goal of this project is to develop an innovative teacher recruitment and retention model to address the shortage of Indianan Agriculture teachers and increase the number of undeserved individual receiving an agricultural education degree from Purdue University and thus possessing the credential to teach agricultural science at the Indiana middle and High school level.

Agro-ecosystem Approach to Sustainable Biofuels Production via the Pryolysis-Biochar
Funding Purdue University

Adapting the iGEM model to engage students in agricultural science and bioenergy

Online Educational Resources to Enhance Horse Care and Management
Funding United States Equestrian Federation

Development of a series of learning lessons and webinars to educate USEF membership, and the general horse industry. These educational resources are targeted in areas of USEF grant funding, such as laminitis, rehoming of retired racehorses, business management and current disease and biosecurity issues.

Developing Targeted Tools to Optimize the Success of an Equine REscue FAcility: An online educational resource
Funding American Association of Equine Practitioners

The goal of this project is to develop an educational resource area for rescue operations. The resource area will be available on-line and thus national and international rescues can access the information. Information will be of vital importance to individuals or groups wanting to start a rescue. Resources will include AAEP's Care Guidelines for Equine Rescue and Retirement Facilities (2012) and utilize the vast amount of information on My Horse University and eXtension's HorseQuest web-sites. This proposal addresses Goals B,C, D and of the AAEP Foundation. The curriculum proposed will increase access of members of the equine community and the veterinary profession to important information regarding one of the most vital issues currently facing the horse industry; the care and well-being of unwanted horses.  Horse rescues, both formal and informal, have increasing pressures put on them due to changing economic conditions and owner confusion regarding how to manage unwanted horses.  This has resulted in the opening of more rescues and increasing demands on existing rescue facilities. Funding of this proposal will result in a better understanding of the educational needs of the rescue industry, and facilitate development and delivery of curricular materials that will enable rescue facilities to more effectively care for, rehabilitate, and place the horses in their facility. This curriculum will serve as a resource that veterinarian's can use to educate their clients, and in their work with animal control professionals in their communities.

Engaging New Audiences through Science Communication
Funding Ag Alumni Trust Fund

Multimedia Kits for Science Communication
Funding Provost's Instructional Equipment Program - Purdue University

Indiana Military 4-H Club
Funding 4-H National Headquarters/USDA, Army CYS services, Airforce Airman and family services, and Navy CYP

Funding to support Military 4-H Club programming at Crane Naval Reserve Center

Operation: Military Kids
Funding USDA/ US Army

Funding for Operation: Military Kids programming

Cultural Engagement and Professional Development in Agricultural Communication: Service-Learning Program in Romania
Funding Purdue University International Programs

Quality Assurance Modules-IBAT
Funding Purdue Extension-IBAT program

The purpose of the proposed project is to develop online modules that are age appropriate, and teach Quality Assurance for all meat animal species (beef, sheep, goats, and swine). Team members Neary, Claeys and Reid have developed materials in beef and small ruminants for online delivery that will become a part of these modules. Team member Fox has indicated that he can assist in seamlessly connecting the Online Modules to the existing Extension Database system which will enable county educators to easily see the status of their youth regarding this training; and generate completion documentation to be presented at exhibition time.

Malawi graduate student
Funding USAID

Engaging Underrepresented Populations in the food and Agricultural Sciences through Urban Agriculture

Urban secondary students need an appropriate, relevant context to explore the content and career opportunities in the food and agricultural sciences. This project uses Urban Agriculture to provide a contextual, hands-on learning environment. Additionally it uses school[-based plots to demonstrate how students can produce a supply of fresh vegetables. The project will increase the number and diversity of students pursuing a 2- or 4-year post secondary degree in the food and agricultural science.

MESA Child sexual abuse prevention in migrant farm worker communities
Funding Ms. foundation for Women

Funding Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Uniting Local Stakeholders to Recognize At-Risk Horse and to Strategize to Prevent Unwanted Horses
Funding Morris Animal Foundation

Multicultural Efforts to end Sexual Assault (MESA)
Funding Indiana State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Rape Prevention Education

Volunteer Engagement & Activation Resource (VEAR)
Funding Monsanto and National 4-H Council

Utilization of VEAR promotional/recruitment resources to recruit diverse 4-H Volunteers.

Indiana 4-H Adult Congress
Funding Monsanto and National 4-H Council

Funding 4-H 2013 Indiana 4-H Adult Congress

Migrant Farm Worker Project
Funding TMC Migrant Head Start

Operation: Military Kids
Funding USDA/ US Army

Funding for Operation: Military Kids programming

Enhancing Science Capacity in Introductory Animal, Plant, and Food Sciences Courses
Funding USDA/HEC

Enhancing STEAM Learning and Career Development through Life Science Education Contexts
Project Directors:Project Directors: Neil Knobloch, Colleen Brady, Natalie Carroll, Levon Esters, Kathryn Orvis & Roger Tormoehlen
YDAE Graduate Students: Megan Anderson, Annie Davis, Cecilia Espinoza Morales, Elizabeth Gall, Amy Jones, Matt Kararo, Lisa Keefe, Kendra Lancaster, Lindsay Nobbe, Rebekah Nortrup, Robbie Ortega, Noah Shields, Melissa Voigt, Faith Weeks, Melissa Welsh
Funding United States Department of Agriculture Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service Hatch Project

Innovative educational experiences, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom, are essential to develop science literacy and inquiry skills, motivate youth to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics. Life science education provides K-16 students with learning contexts to engage them to learn and apply math and science in agriculture, technology and engineering. Students are more interested and retain more when they learn abstract concepts in math and science through concrete, relevant applications. Learning math and science using natural resources, plants, animals, and food are real objects in which youth are typically interested and can relate. Learning interactively with these real-world objects will help students learn academic concepts and career opportunities that will motivate them to study science, math, technology, engineering, and agriculture, and hopefully prepare them to pursue careers in these fields as well.
A team of researchers known as the Life Science Education Signature Area in the Department of Youth Development and Agricultural Education organized the research capacity via this proposal to study the impact experiential and outreach programs in the life sciences have on human capital. We believe developing science literacy, understanding, and inquiry, and motivating students to learn science and pursue STEM careers in the life sciences develops human capital is needed for Indiana to become the crossroads of life science. Life science includes plants, animals, food, and natural resources within science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Because agriculture is recognized as being a STEM-related discipline, the acronym will be referred to as STEAM hereafter because of the inclusion of agriculture as contextualized STEM learning.
The goal of the project is to determine effective curricula and outreach programs that create engaging contexts for K-16 students to learn life science and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, agriculture, and mathematics (STEAM). The objectives of the project include: (1) Identify why students are interested to learn life science, participate in experiential and outreach programs, and pursue STEAM majors; (2) explore and describe how learning contexts create student interest and human capital outcomes for learning life science; (3) identify cognitive and motivational beliefs of formal and informal educators that are related to science literacy, inquiry, and motivation for STEAM learning and careers; and, (4) determine the effectiveness that life science curricula and outreach programs have on developing human capital, such as: K-16 students' academic achievement; science, agricultural, and environmental literacy; inquiry skills; and, motivation to learn life science and pursue STEAM careers.
Experiential and informal learning provide learning contexts and processes to engage K-12 and college students in the life sciences in formal and informal education. Programs (and courses) facilitated by teachers, professors, and educators will be studied to determine the influence the learning context (i.e., content, roles, setting) had on students' academic performance, motivation, and human capital outcomes. Informal and outreach education programs, school enrichment programs, afterschool programs, self-directed projects, summer camps, workshops, and learner-centered courses that meet the criteria for experiential learning, life science education, and human capital development will be studied using the following methods. Multiple methods (i.e., QUAL and quan, simultaneous qualitative and quantitative design with an inductive theoretical drive) will be used to address the four research objectives.
Expected outputs from the project include: surveys, case studies, experiments; workshops; consulting; new fundamental knowledge of contextual learning; applied knowledge of best practices for learner-centered teaching, experiential learning, and informal education; database of educational programs and resources; networks and collaborative partnerships; a website with best practices, research-based knowledge, and information for individuals and programs; and students graduated in agricultural education.

Indiana Military 4-H Club
Funding 4-H National Headquarters/USDA, Army CYS services, Airforce Airman and family services, and Navy CYP

Funds to support Military 4-H Club at Crane Naval Support Center

Agro-ecosystem Approach to Sustainable Biofuels Production via the Pyrolysis-Biochar Platform (AFRI-CAP)

Multi-state project cellulosic biofuels $9,750,000 to Iowa State; $698,261 to Purdue

Heifer Romania: A Culture-Centered Service-Learning Program in Agricultural Communication
Funding Purdue University International Programs

OMK Camp
Funding Office for the Secretary of Defense

Funding for OMK Camp, Summer 2013

Partnership for Research and Education in Plant Breeding and Genetics and Purdue University
Funding USDA NIFA Agricultural and Food Research Initiative Grant

Enhancing Science Capacity Introductory Animal, Plant and Food Sciences Courses
Project Directors:Neil Knobloch, Bryan Hains, Mark Balschweid, Tameshia Ballard, Colleen Brady, Levon Esters, John Graveel, Mickey Latour, Andrea Liceaga, Kathryn Orvis, Mary Rossano, Lori Unruh Snyder, William Slyvia, & Michael Zanis
YDAE Graduate Students Supported: Lisa Keefe, Lindsay Nobbe

This project focuses on improving the learning experiences for undergraduate students in introductory courses through engaging online learning enhancement modules that will improve students' knowledge, interests, and abilities to apply science concepts in animal, plant, and food sciences. Three instructional design teams consisting of content, pedagogy and content-pedagogy specialists will design, develop and pilot-test the online learning enhancement modules for their respective areas of animal science, food science, and plant science. The modules will not focus on content being delivered, but will be designed to help freshmen and sophomore college students learn and apply science concepts through instructional games (active learning), video demonstrations and lab-simulations (inquiry learning), and interactive case studies (contextualized learning). An innovative faculty development workshop will be conducted for 30 professors and teachers in the animal sciences, plant sciences, and food sciences. Faculty and teachers will learn how students learn science concepts in agricultural contexts, and be trained on how to integrate the learner-centered teaching online modules in their animal science, plant science, food science, and agricultural education teacher preparation courses. An expanding access study will be conducted with prospective audiences to determine the potential utility of the online learning enhancement modules for university biology courses, 1890 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, urban and suburban high schools, high school agriculture and science courses, 4-H animal science projects, and informal science education. The project will have the following impacts on students, faculty & teachers, and education: (1) Undergraduate students will have a greater understanding of science terminology, concepts, and how those concepts are applied in industry settings. Students (and their instructors) will have renewed interest in learning (and teaching) science in agricultural contexts; (2) professors and high school teachers increase their knowledge of learner-centered teaching pedagogy, science knowledge, and how to more effectively teach science concepts in both, college and high school classrooms; and, (3) a new educational network of university professors, community college instructors, and high school teachers will be created to engage in rich instructional conversations, which will increase communications, collaborative projects, and better articulation across the career pathways of animal sciences, plant sciences, and food sciences.

Healthy as a Horse: Using the Equine Model to Educate High School Students in the Science of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology- Planning Conference Proposal

Operation: Military Kids
Funding USDA/ US Army

Indiana 4-H Adult Congress
Funding Monsanto and National 4-H Council

Funding for 2012 Indiana 4-H Adult Congress

Indiana Military 4-H Club
Funding 4-H National Headquarters/USDA, Army CYS services, Airforce Airman and family services, and Navy CYP

Youth Farm Safety Educational and Certification Program: Development and Management of Instructor Training
Funding United States Department of Agriculture/CSREES

OMK Camp
Funding Office for the Secretary of Defense

A Collaborative Land-Grant Model for Integrating Learner-Centered Instruction in 1890 Food and Agricultural Science Classrooms
Project Directors:Orlenthea McGowan, Bruce McGowan, Neil Knobloch & Levon Esters
YDAE Graduate Student Supported: Amy Jones
Funding United States Department of Agriculture 1890 Institution Teaching and Research Capacity-Building Grant

Creating social capital through 1862 and 1890 land-grant university partnerships and reforming traditional college instructional practices with alternative teaching strategies are imperative to teach more diverse student populations and develop human capital for the food and agricultural sciences system. The primary focus of this project is to develop, incorporate, and disseminate a variety of models of faculty teaching partnerships for their effectiveness in improving educational quality, faculty productivity, and enhancing the undergraduate experience. Specific objectives include: (1) Engage food and agricultural science faculty in professional development workshops and develop an online course on how to re-design their existing courses and deliver learner-centered teaching approaches (active, inquiry-based, and service learning) in their classrooms; (2) establish a "first-time" 1890 Faculty Development/Learner-Centered Teaching model to facilitate learner-centered education among faculty cohorts from food and agricultural sciences programs covering three1890 land-grant universities and one multicultural urban institution; (3) develop faculty development partnerships to infuse the learner-centered education experience throughout the 1890 community and beyond. The teaching project addresses Faculty Preparation and Enhancement for Teaching across the disciplines in food and agricultural sciences through three major activities: (1) faculty development workshops designed to create course plans to incorporate learner-centered teaching approaches; (2) online course for faculty and graduate students to implement and evaluate the effectiveness and impact of learner-centered teaching approaches on their teaching, student learning experiences, motivation, career development aspirations, and performance outcomes; and, (3) collaborative dissemination through a national teaching conference, a learner-centered teaching online network and website, faculty websites, journal articles, and mentoring.

Training STEAM Educators to Teach Applied and Advanced Topics in Animal Genetics
Project Directors:Amy Lossie, Neil Knobloch, Colleen Brady, Joe Ruhl, & Byron Earnest
YDAE Graduate Students Supported: Josie Holscher

In our increasingly technological society, it is critical that high school students are adequately prepared and motivated to pursue postsecondary education and careers in agriculture and science. However, the scientific complexity and ability to judge which discoveries are important emerging topics in science and agriculture are major hurdles that create a gap between scientific knowledge and dissemination of this knowledge to secondary school students. This goal of this proposal is to shorten that gap by creating a high degree of self-confidence in the ability of high school STEAM teachers and community college Food and Agricultural Science instructors to teach applied, basic and advanced concepts in animal genetics. This project addresses secondary education teaching improvement projects with a primary focus on students or faculty within any of the academic grades 9 through 12, in any of the Food and Agriculture Sciences subject matter areas. This project targeted high school agriculture and biology teachers and community college instructors. Our unique group consists of experts in genetics (Amy Lossie, Colleen Brady), youth education (Neil Knobloch, Colleen Brady) and high school science (Joe Ruhl) and agriculture (Byron Ernest), maximizing our ability to reach diverse high school and community college students. We will create an online course consisting of 11 units concentrating on various aspects of animal genetics, from taxonomy and domestication through nature vs. nurture, genetic engineering and epigenetics. These units emphasize science concepts in an animal science setting, and are aligned with National and State Science Standards. Simulations will follow a template of: pre-test, introduction of topic, address national science standards, introduction of concept and factual information, application using agricultural and life science examples, simulation exercises, review questions and assessment (post-test). These units will be taught in an active manner to a group of 9 agriculture, biology and community college instructors, as well as 15 pre-service Advanced Life Sciences students during a 3-day workshop. Participants will have online access to these modules for a year following the symposium, and will be expected to develop their own teaching modules based on these units. Formative and summative evaluations will be conducted to demonstrate how the products, results and outcomes demonstrate an impact on the SPECA Grant Goals to: (1) Increase the number of students who pursue and complete a 2- or 4-year postsecondary degree in food and agricultural sciences; (2) help students achieve their career goals; and, (3) meet workplace needs by increasing the quality of secondary and postsecondary instruction. We fully expect this project to positively impact teachers and their students by creating: (1) Knowledge of genetics and epigenetics in teachers; (2) self-efficacy of teachers to teach genetics and epigenetics; (3) an understanding of genetics and epigenetics in students; and, (4) a positive learning experience in students.

Linking Watershed Research and GK-12 Education within an Ecosystem Context
Project Directors:Richard Moore, Casey Hoy, Lance Williams, P. Goebel, Virginia Bouchard & Neil Knobloch
YDAE Graduate Students Supported: Matt Kararo, Robbie Ortega
Funding National Science Foundation Graduate Teaching Fellows in K-12 Education (GK-12) Grant

Watershed science serves as a model for incorporating multiple disciplines into a holistic, constructivist, systemic educational approach to create a cooperative learning opportunity involving researchers, students, and teachers. The Sugar Creek Project, consisting of diverse long-term scientific research projects by 25 researchers designed to improve water quality, is widely accepted in the community with 100% support of superintendents of public schools in the 356 square mile watershed. Members of the Sugar Creek research team serve as mentors for graduate fellows who work directly with K-12 teachers and students living within the Sugar Creek Watershed. STEM fellows conduct research in the watershed with the willing cooperation of local citizens and extend their presence to the school systems by working with teachers to integrate science into the curricula. Fellows have technical knowledge of watershed ecology and grow professionally in their knowledge of pedagogy, varied learning styles, and educational assessment by working with the teachers. Teachers share their knowledge and experience of teaching youth in school-based settings and grow in their knowledge and skills in watershed ecology, technology use and constructivist approaches by working with the fellows. The intellectual merit of the proposal is to test, evaluate, and demonstrate the value of place-based constructivist educational approaches for STEM fellows. The approach will promote and encourage motivation and cooperative learning opportunities where students are both participants and observers in activities that engage them in critical thinking, reasoning, and problem-solving. The broader impact of the study is that it will create a new cadre of fellows who understand and can implement place-based and constructivist approaches in their careers. It will also strengthen and widen the community base of the Sugar Creek Project through student involvement and provide the basis for a program for future projects.

2011 Toyota 4-H2O Community Project, Indiana
Funding National 4-H Council, CSREES, USDA

Participation in an Educational Dairy Farm Event Related to Consumers' Motivations and Dairy Production Beliefs
Project Directors:Neil Knobloch & Lindsay Nobbe
YDAE Graduate Student Supported: Lindsay Nobbe
Funding Indiana Soybean Alliance & Milk Promotion Services of Indiana

Consumers who participate in non-formal, educational, on-farm events are able to connect what they hear and see from others to what actually occurs in the food production system, allowing them to make more informed decisions. If organizations based in agriculture are able to develop programs tailored to consumers' motivations for attending non-formal, educational, on-farm events, then they would have greater opportunity to more effectively deliver messages to their respective target audiences. In addition, knowing consumers' beliefs regarding dairy industry practices pertaining to animal welfare, environmental care, and food safety would allow agriculture industry-supported organizations to better focus the topics of their messages for consumers. Lastly, if these organizations knew what sources of food purchasing information consumers used as well as who consumers trust for this information, then they also would be able to increase the efficiency and accuracy of their message delivery. All of these benefits would help to move toward a more informed society that is better equipped to make decisions that ultimately affect the agricultural industry. Therefore, the purpose of this descriptive study was to explain and predict consumers' participation in a place-based learning experience on a dairy farm based on consumers' interest motivation to participate in a free educational dairy event, adult consumers' beliefs of the dairy industry, the channels of information that adult consumers use to inform their food choices, and the sources that they trust for the same information. The place-based learning experience was a three-hour event at an Indiana dairy farm where local consumers had the opportunity to enjoy a brunch meal, meet a local dairy farm family, and participate in a personal tour of the farm. There were 202 consumers who responded to the mailed questionnaire approximately six months after the event. The study resulted in four major conclusions. First, participants and those who did not participate in the educational dairy farm event were similar in their beliefs of the dairy industry's animal welfare, environmental care, and food safety practices. Second, participants were more motivated to attend a free educational dairy farm event than those who did not participate. Third, nearly three of four consumers in an Indiana community would attend an educational event on a dairy farm if they: (1) were highly motivated to attend educational agricultural events because it is fun, interesting, and enjoyable, (2) were highly motivated to attend educational agricultural events out of desire to acquire new knowledge and meet a challenge, (3) were highly motivated to attend educational agricultural events out of desire to be nutritionally healthy, (4) were very familiar with agriculture or directly involved with it, (5) agreed or strongly agreed with the animal welfare practices that dairy farmers implement, and (6) resided in households that report consuming, on average, at least three gallons of fluid milk per week while at home. Fourth, participants were more frequently informed by family and/or friends and educational events when making food purchasing decisions than those who did not participate. The study's results may benefit agriculture industry-supported organizations to develop non-formal, educational events that are more appealing to their target audiences as well as market those events in a way that will entice more consumers to attend. In addition, those organizations will be able to more effectively and efficiently deliver their key messages to consumers. Future studies should focus on utilization of data collection methods beyond a questionnaire so that more qualitative information may be obtained, continuation of theory development because theory-based consumer motivations have not been used frequently in previous agricultural-based studies, and replication in other contexts, such as agritourism.

National 4-H Entomology curriculum
Funding National 4-H Council, CSREES, USDA

Encouraging Regional Trade with Hermetic Storage for Cowpea in West and Central Africa
Funding Gates Foundation

Indiana 4-H Adult Congress
Funding Monsanto and National 4-H Council

Implementation of an Indiana 4-H Science Academy
Funding National 4-H Foundation & Noyce Foundation

4-H 101 Online Revisions
Funding USDA/ US Navy

2010 Toyota 4-H2O Community Project
Funding National 4-H Council, CSREES, USDA

Indiana 4-H Military Club Grant
Funding 4-H National Headquarters/USDA, Army CYS services, Airforce Airman and family services, and Navy CYP

Communicating Ocean Sciences to Informal Audiences
Funding NSF, sub from Univ. of CA, Berkley

Operation: Military Kids
Funding USDA/ US Army

OMK Camp
Funding Office for the Secretary of Defense

Web-based Learning Modules to Enhance Science Learning in Agriscience Classrooms
Project Directors:Colleen Brady & Neil Knobloch
YDAE Graduate Students Supported: Noah Shields

Two national initiatives in agricultural education, broadly-defined, are addressing the need for relevant educational models for today's youth. First, the National Council for Agricultural Education's (2008) 10x15 Initiative is a long-range tactical plan to create new agricultural education programs in communities that do not have such programs, and strengthen the quality of existing programs with a comprehensive approach to personal, career, and academic development of youth. Second, the National 4-H Council (2008) announced a Science, Engineering and Technology (SET) mandate for all 4-H programs to focus on educating youth about science, engineering and technology through nonformal learning programs. Web-based educational simulation modules will be developed that can be used in classroom instruction, or in a self-directed learning environment. These simulation modules will emphasize science concepts in an animal science context, and will be aligned with National Science Standards and State Science Standards. Simulations will follow a template of a pretest, topic, the national science standard addressed, and introduction of the concept and factual information, application of the concept in agricultural and life sciences, the simulation, review questions, and a learning assessment. The impact of this project will increase the science competency of students in agriscience classrooms and increase understanding of the role of science in agriculture and agriculture as a science. Products will be assessed in formal classroom settings, as well as in nonformal settings, to determine the efficacy of the simulation modules under both teaching formats. Development of this type of self-directed, web-based learning, will assist nonformal youth educators in assessing the science and technology knowledge of participants in their program, therefore expanding the audience for this product, and creating another avenue through which young people may become engaged in agriculture and science. Furthermore, the project team believes there may be opportunities through the development of these simulation modules in a comparative fashion, to attract teachers and students in traditional science courses (e.g. biology, chemistry), to this contextual learning experiences. No matter which national initiative is served, ultimately, youth will benefit with more opportunities to learn STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math) and pursue related careers.

Enhancing Communication with At-Risk Audiences: Innovative Information Strategies to Encourage Recommended Food Safety Behaviors

Agricultural Education Assessment System
Funding Indiana Department of Education

Indiana Energizes!, A 4-H SET Activity
Funding Duke Energy

Development of a Methodology Handbook for Afghanistan Agriculture Teachers
Funding People in Need, Czech Republic

Indiana 4-H Science Academy
Funding National 4-H Council