Rebecca Dean Swenson
Assistant Professor, Agricultural Education, Communication & Marketing
Her colleagues agree: Rebecca Swenson deserves sole credit for creating the popular major in agricultural communication and marketing (ACM) and developing four new courses. Thanks to her, ACM majors are now preparing for careers in fields like agricultural communication, journalism, marketing, sales, and extension.
Swenson arranges for students to work with environmental organizations and create digital stories about their events. Her students also become active volunteers in the annual Minnesota FFA convention on the University’s St. Paul campus. They solidify their experience by writing features for the organization’s Convention News publication.
“They walk away from a three-day event with dozens of hours of professional field experience, while making a real difference for our organization,” says an FFA administrator.
I adopted a student's words as my motto: Look for opportunities to engage with enthusiasm, spark growth in students, and begin something great.
Among Swenson’s favorite class exercises is a crisis simulation where student teams must, using what they’ve learned, respond in real time to news reports and social media posts about a food recall. As a mentor, Swenson makes sure students’ projects are rigorous while still reflecting their passions, and she includes students as co-authors on research papers.
“Dr. Swenson and I are using information gained in my first research project to create a hands-on agricultural communication curriculum for high school students,” writes a student. “She continuously seeks input from students. She is the type of educator I hope to become.”