Tag Archives: #agchat

Missing a friend and a great teacher

Growing up as a teachers’ kid, you quickly learn what makes a good teacher. A good teacher encourages you to think, challenges your beliefs and opinions¬†and helps you gain more knowledge than you ever thought possible.

Chris Raines was a good teacher.

Dr. Chris Raines, 1981-2011

Now, I never sat in Chris’s classroom, but I know this is true. See, like so many others, I met Chris online through his Twitter “handle”¬† @iTweetMeat. From the get-go, I knew this guy was smart and witty. On so many occasions, he challenged my comments when he could have so easily passed them by. One of the first interactions I remember was when I made a comment about how farmers shoudn’t be held responsible for people who get sick from raw milk, because they knew that danger was there. Chris automatically came back at me, asking if that meant meat processors shouldn’t be held responsible for food poisoning because people should just cook it all the way? It was instances like this where he forced me to re-examine my beliefs, look at them from another angle, and learn something along the way. That’s why I know Chris was a good teacher in his “real life” job as a meat science professor at Penn State. I think he did things like that with his students every day.

Last night, Chris lost his life in a car accident and the online community of “AgChatters” and “Agvocates” lost a great friend. It’s amazing how close of a relationship you can form with someone in the digital space. I’ve spent my day randomly bursting into tears, despite the fact that my actual, in-person interactions with Chris were few. That doesn’t matter, though, because I will always remember his ability to teach us all, while making us smile at the same time. He will be sorely missed.

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New connections through online friends

I’m always surprised at how handy social media connections can be in real life, although I’m not sure why since they seem to keep happening! My online friends played a huge role in helping me look for a job in the agri-marketing world and, now that I’ve accepted a position and started my career, they’re coming in handy again connecting me with people in Minneapolis.

The people you can meet at conferences, like Michele Payn-Knoper who I met at the AgChat Foundation conference last year, can be valuable friends in times that may surprise you.

When I accepted my position, I knew that I would be moving to a city where I knew no one besides the people I work with. Thankfully, my network has been more than happy to connect me with people they know in the Twin Cities. Just the other night, I went out to dinner with Ellen, a former 4-Her from Michele Payn-Knoper‘s county in Indiana. She’s an intern with Land O’Lakes this summer and a student at Purdue. Despite the fact that we’d never met before, we had a great time getting to know one another over burgers at this great hole-in-the-wall burger joint near the University of Minnesota. We bonded over dairy judging, land grant university and internship experiences. It was great to hang out with someone I have so much in common with.

As time goes on, I look forward to meeting up with other people I’ve been connected to through mutual friends. It’s so nice to know that my online friends have my back and are willing to introduce me to their network so I’m not all by myself.

Have you ever moved to a place where you knew no one? How did you meet people?

 

AgChat conference perfect for college aggies

Since I recently graduated from Michigan State (Go Green!) and just took an awesome full-time position a couple of days ago, I’d like to think that I’ve done a pretty good job at preparing for “the real world” and that I can offer some halfway decent advice to college students and recent graduates. My big piece of advice today for those college aggies out there: apply for the AgChat Foundation Agvocacy 2.0 Social Media Training Conference!

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It looks…kind of like…a light up ahead!

So, looking back on my last post, I realize how scared I was just a week ago looking forward at what my future might look like without student teaching the picture. “Dark twisty path” I think is how I phrased it. Well, now I can confidently say a week later, there is definitely a light up ahead!

I cannot adequately describe how thankful I am for my great friends and network, in person and online. When I said I was switching gears, every single person around me was supportive and willing to lend a helping hand. Professionals in the industry who have only ever met me through the #agchat community were willing to read over my resume and cover letter to offer their advice. My friends in East Lansing helped me set up job shadow visits to get a feel for what working in agricultural marketing and public relations might be like. Everyone was there at exactly the moment I needed them the most. How amazing is that?

For those who are curious, I’ve started applying for positions and have even heard back from one to learn more about me. I’m excited to see where the next few months will take me and I finally understand that things happen the way they should, even if it’s scary when that shift first happens.

BONUS: I was so glad to read this post and know that I’m not the only person who crazily changes gears at the last minute!

Agvocacy 2.0 Conference!

Well, folks, it’s finally here. The event we’ve been waiting nearly two whole months for–the AgChat Agvocacy 2.0 Conference!! Ashley Messing and I just arrived in Chicago for what is sure to be two days of intense (yet totally fun!) social media training. I’m super excited to meet a whole host of great people and learn a ton. We’d love for you to follow what we are doing using the #ACFC10 hashtag on Twitter and check back here for updates. I know it will be a great time!!