One Ohio State student is being recognized nationally for her love of getting involved and her passion for manure.
Ellen Gilliland, a fourth-year in agricultural communication, is the new first vice president for the Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, which aims to create networking opportunities for students and professionals, according to an ACT press release.
Gilliland’s love of agriculture started early – she grew up on what she calls a “very small, cute” farm raising hogs in McCutchenville, Ohio.
“I entered a hog show ring at the age of 3 and I’ve been showing hogs ever since,” Gilliland said. “It’s always just been a part of me.”
Gilliland competed in FFA, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, events throughout high school and served as a state officer her senior year.
Wanting to continue her involvement in agriculture, Gilliland went to her first ACT meeting as a first-year. Still a competing member of FFA, she decided to use the meeting as an opportunity to have a fresh audience hear the piece she was preparing for the national competition.
The topic? Manure.
“I’m sure their first impression of me was like, ‘Who is this girl? What a freak. She’s literally talking about poop right now,’” Gilliland said with a laugh.
Conversation topic aside, Gilliland said she knew she found a home with ACT.
“But my first impression of ACT was ‘Wow, these people like what I like. These people do things that I like to do. This is me. This is my fit,’” she said.
ACT was the first of 11 student organizations she is involved with.
“It’s not a priority, that whole sleep thing,” Gilliland said.
Gilliland has served as fundraising chair and president of OSU’s chapter of ACT, and she is the acting vice president of the club in addition to her place on the national executive board.
The purpose of ACT is to join students and professionals in the agricultural communications industry, said Texas A&M student Jennifer Enocksen, second vice president of ACT national. The organization aims to help students gain internship and job opportunities.
“I met Ellen this year when she was elected and so was I,” Enocksen said. “She is definitely a really, really cool person.”
OSU’s chapter of ACT is one of the larger chapters nationally, and it has won Chapter of the Year six out of the past seven years, Gilliland said.
Stacie Seger, a third-year in agricultural communication and president of OSU ACT, said the club is delighted with Gilliland’s achievements.
“She’s the one that went above and beyond last year as president,” Seger said. “We couldn’t be happier or more proud with what she’s done.”
Although she does not yet know what she wants to do after graduation, Gilliland has the future of ACT in mind as well.
“My big word right now is succession,” Gilliland said. “I want people to be able to step up and keep what I’ve done going.”