By: Casey Chastain, University of Georgia
Now that I am back in Georgia where the weather is warmer, I’ve taken time to reflect on my experiences from the National ACT’s Professional Development Conference. Traveling to Oklahoma was a new adventure for me. I fell in love with the Oklahoma State University campus, but not the cold wind and weather. Thankfully, we were inside for the majority of the conference, and shout out to Aspen Coffee Company for keeping me warm. This was my first year attending PDC and I had no idea what to expect. Little did I know, I would meet people from all over the United States, make connections to last a lifetime and change my life plans all within a weekend.
As an agricultural communication major at the University of Georgia, I am constantly asked if I can talk to plants or cows. Well the answer is yes, but then I look like some crazy girl talking to plants and cows. A large majority of people don’t know what the purpose of agricultural communication is or really care for that matter. Meeting other agricultural communicators from across the country was the best part of the conference. At PDC, the alumni panel and guest speakers encouraged members to keep talking about agriculture with those who are unaware of the impact it makes in their lives. The outside perspective on how to communicate agriculture in a positive light was beneficial to all students who attended PDC.
Oklahoma State’s ACT chapter did an amazing job putting PDC together. I enjoyed the wide range of speakers, alumni, lessons and of course, the food. Along with learning to promote the agricultural industry in a positive way, I also learned about job interview skills and had a quick lesson on photography, financial security and crisis management. All of the speakers at PDC talked about different topics and showed a variety of jobs within the agricultural communication field.
My favorite speaker at PDC was Dr. Shannon Ferrell who spoke about financial strategies we should try to live by. This opened my eyes to the benefits of investing and saving money early. The crisis management activity also taught me how to handle situations in a responsible way. The knowledge of all the speakers showed through their lessons and activities.
After attending PDC, I know I have found the right path for my life. Meeting people who share the passion for spreading a positive image of agriculture was a great experience. PDC was everything I thought it would be and then some. Thank you to Oklahoma State’s ACT chapter for being a great host. Texas A&M has big shoes to fill! I look forward to seeing everyone at Ag Media Summit this summer or at PDC next year!