Thomas Gabel

Thomas Gabel

To the Targeting Excellence, Sponsors, Board, and Committees, thank you for your continual investment in the lives of students over the years. Through your support, I am able to fund my education in an incredibly stressful time for students. Due to your generosity through this scholarship, I am able to devote more time to my students as I grow as a future educator to best serve the agricultural leaders of tomorrow. Once, again thank you for your support of students like myself.

Awards Received

2021 Undergraduate Award (Pennsylvania)

Hometown:

Hometown:

Newport, PA

School:

School:

Pennsylvania State University

Major:

Major:

Agricultural and Extension Education

Career Goals:

Career Goals:

I strive to advance the agricultural industry through my future role as a high school agriculture teacher, by investing in the positive and professional development of the next generation of agricultural students and leaders. Growing up on my parent’s dairy farm, I always felt a strong connection to food production, and have fond memories of days spent working with cattle. Through my experiences as part of the Newport FFA Chapter and Wila 4-H Club, I discovered my passion for communicating and teaching agricultural content with others. After participating in the 2016 Teach Ag Essay Contest through Penn State, which allowed me to take over my high school agriculture class for a day, I knew that teaching was the profession for me. Thus, I decided to commit my life to cultivating agricultural literacy in students, while sharing my own personal love and experiences with food animal production. To do so, I enrolled at Penn State as an Agricultural and Extension Education major with minors in International Agriculture and Sustainability Leadership. When thinking of professional goals for my future program, the biggest aspiration I have is a strong connection with local agriculturalists and businesses. Following the three circle model of agricultural education, including classroom instruction, leadership through FFA, and supervised agricultural experience projects, I hope to engage the community in program development and connect my student to the agriculture entities that are close to home. Thinking specifically of an example of this is the fact that students could learn about dairy production in an animal science course, grow as a communicator by delivering a speech on dairy genetic in an FFA competition, and employ their skillset by engaging with a local dairy operation. Not only will this benefit students by improving their skillset and professional interests, but this relationship will strengthen the local agriculture community by opening opportunities for continued collaboration. Overall, my primary goal is to invest in the positive development of students. To expand upon the three circle of agricultural education, I will invest in the leadership development of my students as an FFA Advisor. I have seen firsthand how continued investment through public speaking and leadership conferences can take a shy freshman and polish them into a clear agricultural communicator, as I experienced this change myself. I hope to have a similar impact on my future students, by helping them to get out of their comfort zone, and develop essential professional skills such as communication, collaboration, and critical thinking. As part of that critical thinking piece, I also aim to develop educated consumers through my program. Even in the event that my students do not wish to pursue a career in agriculture, every student engaged in my program will leave with an understanding of food labels, agricultural processes, and agricultural literacy. Throughout my entire professional career, my main goal is to develop students into being agents of change for the agriculture industry and have exponential impact as these students positively influence the industry for years to come.