President-Elect Candidates


Juan Marcos Ferdandez, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

MarcosFernandezDr. Marcos Fernandez is a professor of Animal Sciences and currently serves as the Associate Dean and Director of Academic Programs for the College of Agriculture at Purdue University (2011 - Present)  Dr. Fernandez held similar leadership roles with the College of Agricultural Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University (2005–11) and the College of Agriculture at Louisiana State University (LSU; 2001-05), and served in the faculty at LSU (1991-2005) and Langston University, OK (1986-91). His degrees are in Animal Science from Illinois State University (B.S. ’80), the University of Tennessee (M.S. ’83) and North Carolina State University (Ph.D. ’87). 

A member of NACTA since 2001, Dr. Fernandez quickly instituted a college-funded NACTA Initial Membership Support Program for new teaching-related faculty (a program that continues to this day), provides incentives and financial support for faculty and staff to participate in NACTA Conferences, hosted two National NACTA Conferences (2010 at Penn State and 2017 at Purdue), and more recently, provided support of Purdue students to participate in the Annual NACTA Judging Competitions.  In 2018, NACTA recognized Dr. Fernandez with its Distinguished Educator Award.

Dr. Fernandez serves in various national and regional leadership positions advancing agricultural- and related educational initiatives, including the Association of Public & Land-Grant Universities (APLU) where he currently serves as National Chair for the Academic Programs Section of APLU, and, coauthor of the oft-cited USDA/NIFA Study & Report “Employment Opportunities for College Graduates in Food, Agriculture Renewable Natural Resources, and the Environment, United States, 2015 – 2020,” to list a few.

Nick Fuhrman, University of Georgia, Athens

NickFuhrmanNick received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in forestry from Virginia Tech and his Ph.D. in agricultural education and communication, with a focus in environmental education program evaluation, from the University of Florida. Prior to entering graduate school, he was an environmental educator with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for seven years where he used injured, non-releasable birds of prey and reptiles as teaching tools in public presentations. These presentations gave him opportunities to teach before large audiences and on television. The impact of using animals as teaching tools is a major focus of Nick’s research. 

Also known as “Ranger Nick,” he is Professor of Environmental Education at the University of Georgia where he teaches graduate courses in educational program development and data analysis, and undergraduate courses in environmental education and teaching methods. His life’s passion is teaching, and he often uses live animals (such as snakes, turtles, and owls) in the classroom and on his monthly television series, “Ranger Nick.” He has been involved with NACTA for 15 years, serving as Chair of the Teacher Recognition Committee for four years and is currently the NACTA Southern Regional Director. Nick is married to his best friend, Jessica, and the two reside in Watkinsville, Georgia along with a small zoo of animal “teaching tools.” They have one son, Miles, who seems to love animals and nature as much as his Dad. Nick and Jessica look forward to reuniting with their NACTA family every summer at the annual conference.

Eastern Region Director-Elect Candidates

Elizabeth L. Karcher, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

Elizabeth KarcherDr. Elizabeth Karcher is an Assistant Professor in Animal Sciences at Purdue University and is the Undergraduate Programs Coordinator for the department. She holds degrees from Penn State University, Purdue University, and Iowa State University. Dr. Karcher teaches a variety of courses and has developed study abroad programs on animal production and environmental challenges in Europe and Southeast Asia. Her research focuses on the development of innovative experiential learning platforms to enhance student learning. She routinely mentors undergraduate students in her laboratory and coaches students participating in the National Dairy Challenge. Dr. Karcher joined NACTA in 2013 and currently serves on the International Committee (2017-present) and was a member of the Educational Issues Committee from 2014-2017. In 2017, she served on the Program Planning Committee and was a session moderator and host this same year. Most recently, she became a reviewer for the NACTA journal. She has received the NACTA Teacher Scholar Award (2018), American Dairy Science Association Purina Animal Nutrition Teaching Award in Dairy Production (2018), and NACTA Teacher Fellow Award (2014). She lives in West Lafayette, IN with her husband and five children.

Karen Vines, Virginia Tech University, Blacksburg

Karen VinesKaren Vines is an Assistant Professor and Continuing Professional Education Specialist in the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech. Karen’s primary research focuses on opportunities for improved effectiveness and sustainability of Cooperative Extension and Higher Education through greater emphasis on community engagement. Karen’s interest in this subject is based on her 29 years of experience in Higher Education and Cooperative Extension in four states and in roles as both agent and state specialist. Karen obtained her BS in Animal Science at the University of Kentucky in 1987 and MS in Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences from Virginia Tech in 1989. She received her PhD in Agriculture and Extension Education from The Pennsylvania State University in 2017. Karen currently serves as the PI on a Rural Health and Safety Education USDA-NIFA Grant focused on prevention of opioid addiction and a co-PI on subsequent grants related to opioid issues. Karen served as the NAEPSDP-eXtension Program Planning Fellow for 2018, has attended NACTA conferences in the past and found them beneficial in providing networking opportunities and appreciated the broad diversity of disciplines represented with a focus on continual improvement of education.

Kimberly Bellah, Murray State University, Murray, KY

Kimberly Bellah MurrayState KYKimberly Bellah is an Associate Professor and Program Director of Agricultural Education at Murray State University. Her academic preparation is in agricultural education and communication and she earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in agricultural science from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. After serving as a successful secondary level agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor, Bellah returned to Cal Poly where she served as a lecturer in agricultural education and as the Professional and Curriculum Development Coordinator in Agricultural Education for the California Department of Education. After seven years in that position, Bellah earned her PhD from the University of Florida in agricultural education and communication. Before joining the faculty at Murray State, she was an associate professor at Tarleton State University where she also served as assistant department chair overseeing the Family and Consumer Sciences’ programs. At Murray State University, Bellah has teaching and outreach responsibilities related to agricultural education teacher preparation. Her research interests include teacher concerns regarding adoption of educational innovations, agricultural literacy across the content areas, and brain-based teaching and learning. She is currently serving on the Academic Suspension Appeals and Program Review Committees. She advises multiple graduate and undergraduate honors theses students. Bellah has served on the Teaching Awards committee for NACTA, has published in the NACTA Journal, presented at NACTA conferences, is chairing the Knowledge Bowl for the NACTA Judging Conference, and continues serving on the NACTA Journal Editorial Board.

Southern Region Director-Elect Candidates

Brian Pearson, University of Florida, Gainesville

BPBrian Pearson began his teaching career in 2006 when he volunteered to teach a course at the University of Florida. Although initially intimidated at the thought of teaching, this experience forever changed his life. Brian found teaching to be so uniquely rewarding, he enrolled in a doctoral degree program the following semester. While pursuing his degree, Brian became aware of NACTA after receiving a one-year membership as a gift from his administration along with a handwritten note explaining the importance of the organization. Brian quickly recognized the value and impact of NACTA on his teaching effectiveness as well as that of others. The NACTA annual conference rapidly became the highlight of the year and Brian quickly joined the Educational Issues and Teaching Improvement (EITI) committee to contribute to the organization and its mission. Recognizing NACTA’s importance to teaching excellence, Brian sought out a leadership role within NACTA and became chair of the EITI committee in 2017. Eight years after first becoming a member, Brian continues to look for opportunities to contribute to NACTA as an enthusiastic early career faculty member at the University of Florida. As a regional director of NACTA, Brian would seek to foster additional membership through enhanced communication with institutions and their administration. In addition to developing recruiting materials for his region as well as that of others, Brian would dedicate himself to developing resources and opportunities to enhance NACTA and the impact the professional association has on teaching excellence amongst its members.

Tobin Redwine, Texas A&M University, College Station

Redwine HeadshotDr. Tobin Redwine is an instructional assistant professor in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications at Texas A&M University. Redwine grew up on a farm in Lazbuddie, a rural community in Northwest Texas. After serving as the Texas FFA President in 2003-2004, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Leadership and Development at Texas A&M University in 2008. While there he developed an affinity for ugly shirts, and cheesy jokes. He earned a Master of Science in Agricultural Communications at Texas Tech University in 2009.

He has been an active NACTA member for 10 years, presenting either research or professional development sessions at every NACTA conference for the last decade. He has authored or co-authored twenty presentations at research conferences in the last eight years, including many specifically focused on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and presented at NACTA conferences. In professional organizations, Redwine serves in leadership roles in one national professional organization, one international professional organization, as well as on the NACTA Editorial board and Experiential Learning Committees. As advisor for the TAMU Chapter of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, Redwine helped coach a team to participate in the NACTA Judging contest in 2017 and 2018.

Redwine considers his NACTA Teaching Awards (both as a graduate student and a faculty member) to be among his proudest accomplishments. He specifically cherishes relationships and collaborations formed at NACTA that propel the scholarship of Teaching and Learning in agriculture.

Tobin is also a freelance journalist, photographer, musician, and amateur habanero salsa maker.

Wendy Warner, North Carolina State University, Raleigh

Wendy Warner SouthernRegionDirectorElectDr. Wendy Warner is an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences at NC State University. Wendy teaches undergraduate and graduate courses both on-campus and via distance in the areas of agriculture teacher preparation, educational technology, and youth program management. Her research interests focus on technology integration, the influence of performance assessments on the student teaching experience, and the scholarship of teaching and learning.

In 2009, Wendy attended her first NACTA Conference in Stillwater Oklahoma. Since then she has attended eight conferences, been a lead author or co-author on 19 oral presentations and several poster presentations. Wendy was recognized as a NACTA Teacher Fellow in 2013 and has been on the Teacher Recognition Committee since 2010. She has served as the chair of that committee since 2015.

Wendy’s involvement in NACTA has encouraged her collaboration on SoTL research and teaching innovations with other faculty members at NC State and from other institutions around the country. She appreciates and promotes NACTA’s commitment to encourage and recognize instructional excellence and scholarly efforts specific to teaching and learning.

Western Region Director-Elect Candidates

Lee G. Wood, Southern Utah University, Cedar City

LGW NACTAThank you for your consideration to be nominated as the NACTA Western Region Director-elect. My involvement in NACTA has had a profound impact on my professional career, contributing to my efforts to become an effective teacher. I joined NACTA in 2007 and am now a life-time member. I have met and developed relationships with many wonderful friends and associates and have felt a great sense of camaraderie through participation in the organization. My membership has given me the opportunity to share experiences and exchange ideas with colleagues from all over North America, and to experience aspects of agriculture and teaching that I would not have been exposed to if I were not a member of NACTA. I have taken an active role on the Educational Issues and Teaching Improvement Committee for a number of years and have enjoyed my involvement. My membership has provided a professional venue to share research, ideas, and teaching techniques. I have taken the opportunity to publish in the journal and made numerous presentations during the conferences. One of the greatest benefits I have experienced as a part of my membership in NACTA is the exposure to the many teaching ideas and tips from the NACTA Journal and annual conference presentations. I appreciate the opportunities I have had to serve and look forward to continued involvement in NACTA!

Shannon Arnold, Montana State University, Bozeman

Shannon Arnold Professional PhotoDr. Shannon Arnold is an Associate Professor in Agricultural Education at Montana State University where she holds a 75% teaching appointment. My teaching focuses on extension and non-formal education for youth and adults, outreach education for agricultural professionals, program development and evaluation, and equine guided education. As a member of NACTA for 10 years, I have had the opportunity to be involved with the organization in many ways. I have presented several posters and papers at NACTA conferences, serve as a NACTA journal reviewer, published in the NACTA journal, and served on the 2014 NACTA conference planning committee. Highlights of my credentials include the NACTA Teaching Award of Merit and Teacher Fellow Awards; the Western Region American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE) Outstanding Young Member and Distinguished Teacher Awards; the State, Regional, and National Award Winner for Excellence in Teamwork from the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents; and the MSU President’s Award for Service Learning. If elected as the NACTA Western Region Director-elect, my goals would be to provide representation for our region at meetings and conferences; increase recruitment of new faculty and student members; expand conference involvement and attendance; encourage members to apply for organizational awards; and become more involved in committees, including the Membership and Public Relations Committee. Mostly, I would just like to give back to NACTA as it has provided me with years of professional development skills and opportunities!



** NACTA OFFICER VOTING | February 25th through April 25, 2019

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