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Published March 13, 2019
University of Wyoming agricultural education major Alyssa Lewark, of Frisco, Colo., has been selected from a large pool of candidates from across the nation to attend the National Teach Ag Campaign Future Agriscience Teacher (FAST) Symposium.
The event will be held in conjunction with the National Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) Conference April 4-7 in Kansas City, Mo.
The FAST Symposium is a component of the National Teach Ag Campaign, an initiative to raise awareness of the need to recruit and retain high-quality and diverse agriculture teachers. The campaign also encourages people to consider careers teaching agriculture and celebrates the contributions agriculture teachers make in their schools and communities.
Lewark fell in love with agriculture while spending time on her uncle’s ranch in North Dakota and through her annual trips to the National Western Stock Show in Denver. Although she didn’t have an FFA program at her high school, her hobby of horseback riding kept the passion alive. When she arrived at UW, she decided to merge her passion for agriculture with her dream of teaching.
“I had a great Spanish teacher in high school who inspired me to become a teacher. Since I also wanted to do something with agriculture, putting the two together at UW just made sense,” Lewark says.
Those selected to participate in the FAST Symposium will engage in professional development, networking and a career fair, and they will attend sessions during the MANRRS conference. The training Lewark will receive will improve her abilities as an agriculture educator by helping her develop engaging curriculum to expose her future students to cutting-edge concepts within the field of agriculture.
“The symposium focuses mostly on creating an inclusive classroom environment, inquiry-based learning, classroom management, professional development and collegiality,” Lewark says. “I want to learn how to reach all of my students and how I can adapt my lessons to ensure all students are engaged and involved.”
Lewark will attend the symposium through free conference registration and a $100 travel stipend. She also will have her room and board covered by the campaign for the duration of the conference.