AEC students travel to Greece as part of summer study abroad program
By: Norman Martin
More than a dozen students from Texas Tech University's Department of Agricultural Education & Communications had an enriching summer academic experience, spending 15 days (Jun. 17-Jul. 1) in Greece embracing agricultural education and communication programs coupled with tours of historical landmarks highlighting the rich history of an ancient civilization.
The study abroad opportunity was led by the Department of Agricultural Education & Communications' Associate Professor Courtney Gibson and Professor David Lawver.
“Agriculture and tourism are two of Greece's biggest industries,” Gibson said. “We wanted students to see and experience the unique ways the Greeks are bridging these two industries to educate the public on traditional agricultural production practices while still celebrating their cultural heritage.”
“Agritourism efforts in Greece can teach us so much about ways we can promote agricultural practices here in the U.S. to further educate the public,” she added. “Students in our study abroad course got to experience hands-on production of food, fiber, and natural resources as well as cultural and historical sites.”
From learning about the seasonal production of fruits and vegetables from local producers at regional laiki agora (farmers' markets) to learning traditional methods for growing grape leaves to cooking lessons using local crops to create traditional Greek dishes, Gibson said the students were immersed in a variety of educational activities focused on promoting agriculture to a variety of audiences.
Among the agricultural tours were Marianna's Vineleaves, Vamos Fabrica Farm & Houses; Gerovassiliou Winery; Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete; and the Terra Creta Olive Oil Company, along with a presentation on cultivation of olive trees and the use of spraying drones by Athanasios Gertsis, Perrotis College's chair of Sustainable Agriculture & Management.
“This trip has made me appreciate agriculture locally and internationally, which can easily be translated into my future career plans,” said Bryce Hamlin, an agricultural education master's candidate from Big Spring, Texas. Shayla Jones, a junior agricultural communications major from Meridian, Texas, added, "I gained a new respect for other cultures, as well as an appreciation for different practices.”
In addition, the students had an opportunity to view several Greek cultural landmarks, including Mount Olympus, Delphi and the Temple of Apollo and Delphi Museum, Ancient Olympia Museum, Palamidi Castle, Knossos Palace, Acropolis Hill and the Parthenon and the Panathenaic Stadium.
Tech's Department of Agricultural Education & Communications has 15 faculty members with more than 300 undergraduate students and 100 graduate students. Faculty members specialize in one of three disciplinary areas: teacher education, agricultural communications, and agricultural leadership. Master's degrees are available in agricultural education and agricultural communications, and a departmental Ph.D. program allows students to focus on any of the three areas. In addition, graduate certificates are available in agricultural leadership and agricultural communication.
CONTACT: Scott Burris, Chair, Department of Agricultural Education & Communications, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-8689 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Editor: Norman Martin
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