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CALS Alumnus Highlight: Jonathan Heavner

Agricultural educator Jonathan Heavner is a 2017 graduate of the UF/IFAS Department of Agricultural Education and Communication. He is currently working at Braden River High School.

What brought you to CALS and your department? What first sparked your interest in your major?

I always knew I wanted to be an agriculture teacher. The University of Florida has the best agriculture education program in the country. It was an easy choice to attend UF.

Was there a particular CALS faculty/staff or mentor that was influential in your career path?

Several CALS faculty/staff members were instrumental in my decision to attend UF. Dr. Charlotte Emerson was extremely helpful in navigating the transfer process from out of state, Dr. Andrew Thoron served as my undergraduate advisor and helped me along the way, and Dr. Brian Myers, Dr. JC Bunch, Dr. Grady Roberts, and Dr. Trey Easterly all provided examples of leadership and demonstrated qualities necessary to be successful in agriculture education.

What do you find to be the coolest/best part of your job/career?

I get to do what I love every day. Teaching students about agriculture is a blessing. I work with the best kids in the world and get to use the information I learned while in Gainesville to do it.

What are some exciting projects you have worked on in the course of your career?

My students have participated in Growing Beyond Earth, a science experiment with NASA and Fairchild Botanical Garden in Miami, to gather data that helps influence experiments conducted on the International Space Station. We’ve also competed in multiple state FFA contests, and I’ve been able to travel to different professional development conferences.

What advice would you give to students who are interested in the same major/career path as you?

Do it! Being an agriculture teacher is the best job you could ever have. I’d advise those students to follow their interests.

The Department of Agricultural Education and Communication develops leaders, educators and communicators to meet the challenges society is facing in the agricultural and natural resource industries. The department offers programs for both undergraduate and graduate degrees in agricultural education and communication, with specializations involving agricultural communication, agricultural education, extension education and leadership development. At the undergraduate level, AEC programs are offered both in Gainesville and Plant City, Florida. Find a CALS major that suits your interests by taking our majors quiz. You can also find information regarding our undergraduate and graduate programs on our website. Questions for Jonathan Heavner about his experiences in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication should be directed to jonathan.heavner@yahoo.com

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