ACEL alumni board presents inaugural awards

Sep. 3, 2019

The alumni board of the Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership (ACEL) at The Ohio State University is pleased to announce five alumni as recipients of the inaugural ACEL Alumni Awards.

The alumni, Beth Boomershine, Rose Hartschuh, Larry Lokai, Kayla Oberstadt and John Poulson, were recognized at the department’s annual banquet.

 “The ACEL Alumni Board is thrilled to recognize these five outstanding alumni, who have all done great things in their community and line of work,” said Ellen S. Zimmerman, president of the board. “It was exciting to read about the Buckeye spirit and good work being done in all of the applications of these qualified and deserving alums. We look forward to more applications, more Buckeye spirit and more deserving awardees in the coming years.”

Kayla Oberstadt and Rose Hartschuh were presented the Young Alumni Award. This award is presented to an alum under the age of 34 who has demonstrated professional and/or personal service achievements worthy of recognition.

Hartschuh, of Sycamore, Ohio, graduated in 2008 with a bachelor of science in agricultural and extension education and taught high school agriculture for several years in Bellevue and Mohawk schools. She now works in agritourism on her family dairy, The Pickwick Place and with Acres of Adventure.

Oberstadt, of Columbus, Ohio and formerly of New London, Wisconsin, graduated in 2015 with a master of science in agricultural and extension education. She works for OSU Extension in her role as an Ohio 4-H program manager where manages the Ohio Military Kids programming and provides guidance to Older Youth Leadership Development. Prior to her role at Ohio State, Oberstadt was a 4-H Youth Development Educator for University of Wisconsin Extension.

The Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to John Poulson, a 1981 alum in agricultural and extension education and animal sciences. This award was presented to an alum of the department who has personal and/or professional achievements which are worthy of recognition. 

Poulson, of Archbold, Ohio, has served as the agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor at Pettisville High School for the past 29 years. He also taught agricultural education at Crestview High School and served as an organizational director for Ohio Farm Bureau earlier in his career. In May, he was named the recipient of the inaugural Golden Owl Award, which recognized the top agricultural education teacher in Ohio.

Beth Boomershine and Larry Lokai were presented the with the Mentor to Students Award, presented to alumni who have served as a mentor that facilitated the growth and development of Ohio State students and have included students in professional opportunities, networking activities and other personal development activities. 

Bomershine, of Grove City, Ohio, graduated in 2000 with a bachelor of science in agricultural and extension education and in 2001 with a master of science, also in agricultural and extension education. She is a 4-H youth development specialist for Ohio State Extension in Franklin County. In her role, Boomershine serves 4-H audiences through community clubs, volunteer management, camping programs, service learning and more. She is also active in the National Association of Extension 4-H Agents, an organization that recently awarded her the NEA4-HA Distinguished Service Award.

Lokai, of Urbana, Ohio, is a two-time alum of the department, graduating in 1967 with a bachelor of science and in 1973 with a master of science, both in agricultural education. Lokai taught high school agricultural education for more than 30 years and has dedicated more than 48 years to the advancement of agriculture by teaching hundreds of students through secondary and post-secondary agricultural education.

The ACEL alumni board comprised of 12 alumni members, three from each program area and three at-large positions, as well as one student from each program area. The mission of the board is to connect alumni to current ACEL students, connect alumni with each other, and to recognize the alumni for the outstanding work they are doing in their careers and communities. 

If you have witnessed an ACEL alum doing extraordinary work, consider nominating them for an ACEL Alumni Award. Award nomination forms for the 2020 ACEL Alumni Awards will be available on November 1, 2019 at 

ACEL prepares communicators, educators and leaders in the food, agricultural, and environmental sciences to integrate research-based learning, practice and engagement, in ways that will advance positive changes that strengthen individuals, families and communities. For more information on the academic programs and research available in ACEL, please visit