Professional Development

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Learning does not just happen in the classroom. Students can take advantage of a number of opportunities on and off campus to expand their classroom experience. These include attending academic and professional conferences, media summits, networking events, career fairs, and other leadership seminars and symposia. Most of these experiences are underwritten by donors, sponsors, and program funds.

Join the National FFA Newsroom Crew

The National FFA Organization is seeking college students or recent college graduates pursuing degrees in journalism, public relations, telecommunications or a closely related field to share with the world the news and feature stories coming out of the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo Oct. 25-28, 2017, in Indianapolis.

Newsroom Crew are expected to arrive on Monday, Oct. 23 and work through Saturday, Oct. 28. Your reward? A small stipend, inside access to an amazing event, coaching on how to become a better communicator, and some awesome clips and experience that will help you in the future. This may be eligible for college credit so ask your school's advisor.

To learn more and apply, access the application now

CRISPRcon: Science, society, and the future of gene editing

The scientific community has handed the world an incredible tool: the ability to make precise changes to the DNA in living cells, which could allow us to eradicate diseases, transform the farming and agriculture industries, and enable massive leaps forward in environmental and life science. That is the promise of CRISPR and other technologies that allow scientists to make precise edits to genomes.

But the science behind CRISPR is just one piece of the puzzle. Now is the time to hear the voices of people whose lives could be impacted by this powerful technology: patients, doctors, farmers, consumers, nonprofit leaders, environmentalists, and other interested parties. From human and animal health to the future of the food chain, these stakeholders will play a critical role in assessing the potential of CRISPR to make the transition from the lab to the outside world.

Hosted at the University of California, Berkeley, the mission of CRISPRcon is to bring together a broad selection of diverse voices to discuss the future of this groundbreaking technology across all applications. Through keynotes, panels, interactive discussions, and networking opportunities, CRISPRcon will create a unique forum in which everyone with a stake in CRISPR can share their ideas, ask and answer questions, and make sure that their voices are heard.


This one-and-a-half-day event will explore the intersection of science, society, and the future of gene editing. The program will include keynote addresses, panel discussions, interactive audience polling, and opportunities for networking and discussion among a diverse set of voices. CRISPRcon will explore topics including:

  • Engaging the public in conversations about CRISPR
  • Social dimensions of CRISPR in medicine, food, and conservation
  • The role of regulation and social acceptance in determining the future of CRISPR
  • CRISPRcon will include the following discussions:
  • Taking the Debate from the Lab to the Living Room: Reflections from a CRISPR researcher on the social dimensions of the science
  • Envisioning 2050: Where might CRISPR take us – and do we want to go there?
  • CRISPR in the Public Eye: Societal perceptions of science
  • Genome Surgery: CRISPR cures, community perceptions, and questions of equity
  • If We Edit It, Will We Eat It?: Social acceptance of CRISPR in food
  • If It’s CRISPR, Is It Wild?: Considerations for CRISPR in conservation
  • Whether and How: Who determines the future of CRISPR?
  • Where to From Here?: Final reflections from CRISPR thought leaders

Please see event for information on how to register. 

Help protect pollinators!

The 2nd ‘Protecting Pollinators in Urban Landscapes’ conference will be held Oct. 9 – 11, in Traverse City, Michigan, located very close to Sleeping Bear Dunes, voted the most beautiful place in America by Good Morning America in 2011. 

If you plan to attend, you’re in for an excellent program

College Aggies Online returns for 2017

The Animal Agriculture Alliance’s annual College Aggies Online scholarship competition is returning this fall! The CAO program is all about developing life-long advocates for agriculture. College students and student clubs compete by engaging with peers, creating social media content and interacting with industry mentors. It is an opportunity for clubs to get more involved on their campuses and individuals to enhance their communication skills while standing out to future employers.

Last year’s individual scholarship winner, Topanga McBride, found the program to be a rewarding experience professionally and personally. “What makes the College Aggies Online program the premiere opportunity for college ‘agvocates’ is that it’s been designed to consistently build your skills. I enjoyed getting to have feedback from prestigious mentors in the industry as well as the other contestants. This program has given me a step up in my career,” said McBride.

During the program, students will take part in weekly challenges to create social media posts based on that week’s theme. Past themes have included meat matters, antibiotic use and engaging with an audience. Students are encouraged to participate in Twitter chats and webinars while clubs engage with peers on campus by hosting events. Throughout the competition, participants will receive feedback and earn points.

In 2016, 344 individual participants and 35 clubs representing 36 different states competed and more than 1,880 social media posts were created, reaching 2.3 million people!

The 2017 program also includes a new feature for students – the CAO Completion Emblem. Students who complete the program will earn the emblem which can be used to impress prospective employers. The emblem can be featured on resumes and online profiles, such as LinkedIn, to indicate that the individual completed the CAO program and has gained valuable skills to advocate on behalf of the industry.

Any college student who has an interest in agriculture can participate; you don’t have to be majoring in agriculture to be a College Aggies Online competitor! The 2017 competition will kick-off September 10. Students and clubs can sign up at The deadline to sign up is October 1.

The Animal Agriculture Alliance is a non-profit organization with thirty years of experience bridging the communication gap between farm and fork. Our goal is simple: Connect, Engage and Protect the animal agriculture industry. We encourage you to spread the word about the CAO program and to get involved by connecting with us online.

So you wanna work in Advertising? A quick 'n easy intro into a world of career possibilities

To help students understand the roles that exist in the Advertising industry, the Advertising Educational Foundation (AEF) in partnership with the Hearst Foundation, has developed a series of short films to provide a deeper look. These interviews provide first person insight into how the industry works to help students find the right path. Easily searchable by company, topic or speaker. Provides answers to questions which students previously had nobody to ask. Access this wonderful resource here.