FFA, McCoppin and Switzer featured.

UMC Collegiate FFA Chapter earns leadership award
The University of Minnesota Crookston Collegiate FFA earned the platinum level A.W. Nolan Memorial Leadership Award at the National ATA Conclave held recently in Indianapolis, Ind.  The award was presented to 16 U of M, Crookston Collegiate FFA members on October 26.

Four colleges earned the platinum award, the highest level attainable, and it is the first time for the U of M, Crookston to garner the honor.  The Crookston students participated in all contest areas including parliamentary procedure, debate, quiz bowl, program of excellence and the essay competition.

In addition, Addie O’Neil, a senior majoring in agricultural education from Redwood Falls, Minn., wrote two journal articles in the Horse Digest entitled “Ground Tying” and “Opening and Closing the Gate” for renowned horse trainer Dennis Auslam.

Jennifer Spahn, a freshman majoring in early childhood education from St. Paul, Minn., won second place in the essay contest with her essay entitled “The American role in providing agricultural extension support in developing countries”. Her placing in the contest marks the highest level ever attained by a U of M, Crookston student.

The parliamentary procedure team consisted of two seniors, a junior and two sophomores: Whitney Lian, a senior majoring in agricultural education; Whitney Jacobson, a junior double majoring in animal science and agricultural education, both from Thief River Falls, Minn.; along with Thomas Chute, a senior majoring in agricultural education from Aitkin, Minn.; Justin Goodroad, a sophomore double majoring in animal science and agricultural education from Lindstrom, Minn.; and Katie Myhre a sophomore majoring in animal science from Whapeton, N.D. Lian served as team’s president and Myhre as its secretary.

Chute and O’Neil were joined by Maria Funk, a senior majoring in agricultural education from Sebeka, Minn., and Amy Lee, a sophomore majoring in agricultural education from Mercer, N.D., to make up the quiz bowl team.

Emil Waskow a sophomore double majoring in animal science and ag systems management from Hugo, Minn., and Emily Campbell, a freshman majoring in animal science from Aitkin, Minn., competed in the debate contest.   Contestants debated the statement “Should agricultural education teacher preparation programs continue the traditional teacher preparation curriculum as opposed to adopting more forms of alternative certification?”

The program of excellence presentation was given by Betsy Johannsen, a freshman from Hartland, Minn., and Sam Haugen, a sophomore majoring in agronomy from Fertile, Minn.  They discussed the highlights of the 2011-2012 year for the U of M, Crookston Collegiate FFA chapter.  Areas of professional development, fundraising, community service, and fellowship were the focal points.

The U of M, Crookston is home to the only Collegiate FFA chapter in the state of Minnesota and Professor Lyle Westrom serves as the group’s advisor.  The Collegiate FFA is part of the National FFA Organization which also held its 2012 National Convention concurrently with the ATA Conclave in Indianapolis, Indiana.  A new record of over 56,000 FFA members attended the National FFA Convention.  The convention returns to Louisville, Kentucky in 2013.

The A.W. Nolan Memorial Leadership award, named in the memory of Aretas W. Nolan, former professor and head of agricultural education at the University of Illinois, recognizes agricultural education organizations for their pursuit of leadership, ensures professionalism, and improves communication between collegiate agricultural organizations. Nolan and his students conceptualized and started Alpha Tau Alpha (ATA), the National Professional Honorary Agricultural Education Fraternity, in 1921.

Poe the focus of McCoppin essay in recently published book
Often the celebration of Halloween conjures up tales of suspense and for many the spooky stories of the famous author Edgar Allan Poe. A book published recently on Poe includes an essay by Associate Professor Rachel McCoppin who teaches in the Liberal Arts and Education Department at the University of Minnesota, Crookston. The book entitled Adapting Poe: Re-Imaginings in Popular Culture published by Palgrave Macmillan includes the essay “Horrific Obsessions: Poe’s Legacy of the Unreliable Narrator” authored by McCoppin.

The book, edited by Dennis R. Perry and Carl H. Sederholm, is a collection of essays examining a wide range of genres and media all centered on Poe and his works. The compilation looks closely at Poe’s influence on popular culture and his relevance today.

"Poe is known for his psychological horror; his narrators terrify readers because their afflictions come from within their own minds,” McCoppin says. “Poe narrators are famous for repressing their true selves, until the horrific culmination of the story shows the narrator as a slave of his own demanding psyche, usually forcing him to commit murder.

“My article focuses on Poe's narrators in some of his most famous stories, like "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Black Cat" and connects them to leading characters in the popular films, Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and M. Night Shyamalan's Sixth Sense, to show how failing to know oneself may lead, given the right circumstances, to terror," she continues.

McCoppin earned her doctorate from the University in Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pa., her master or arts from Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Mich., and her bachelor of arts from the University of Michigan, Flint, in English. Her research interests include American transcendentalism, modernism, existentialism, and the pedagogy of literature and ethics. She has been teaching in the area of literature, oral interpretation, and communication ethics at the U of M, Crookston since 2003.

Switzer earns Microsoft® Office 2010 Master Certification
Adam Switzer, a senior at the U of M, Crookston from Apple Valley, Minn., majoring in sport and recreation management, successfully passed the Microsoft® Office 2010 Master Certification. He is the first student to earn the certification at the master level from the Crookston campus. The U of M, Crookston is Microsoft Testing Site for such certification.

The Microsoft Office Master certification denotes fluency in several important Microsoft Office applications. To achieve this highest designation, a candidate must pass three required exams and one elective exam. The required exams are Word 2010 Expert, Excel® 2010 Expert and PowerPoint® 2010.

The benefits of the certification as a Microsoft Office Master are to build credibility through proof of skills, to set yourself apart as a desktop computing expert, to differentiate yourself from your peers, to possess a professional recognition accepted around the world, and to demonstrate computing efficiency in the workplace.

The Microsoft Office certification program within the university helps provide graduates tangible proof they possess skills that make them ideal hires. This certification gives students a leg up in a difficult job market.

“When our students are competing against other students from other business schools, if all things are equal, this is a differentiator for our students,” explains Twyla Treanor, assistant professor in the Math, Science, and Technology Department. “We know students need to look at every angle possible to stand out and get ahead.”

Microsoft Certified Application Specialist certifications are primarily for those who use Microsoft Office programs as a vital part of their job functions. To learn more about the Microsoft Certification available at the U of M, Crookston, visit www3.crk.umn.edu/academics/mst/itm/certification.htm.