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Travis Park named 2023 ASEC Distinguished Alumnus

Travis Park (B.S., Agricultural Education, 1996; M.S., Agricultural Education, 2002) has been named a Purdue Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication Distinguished Alumnus for 2023.

Park is a professor of Agricultural Education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at North Carolina State University. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses and is the program coordinator for agricultural education.
Travis Park Travis Park is a professor of Agricultural Education in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) at North Carolina State University.

Park’s love for and engagement with agricultural education has been a lifelong endeavor. He was an FFA member from Indiana and served as the 1992-93 National FFA President. He was a nine-year 4-H member in Johnson County. These formative experiences catapulted him into a lifelong vocation of helping others understand, appreciate, and find careers in agriculture.

As a Purdue student, Park was active in various campus organizations, including FarmHouse Fraternity, Mortar Board, Gimlet, IVATA-Purdue, and Agriculture Ambassadors. Upon graduation, Park received the G.A. Ross Award, which is presented to the most outstanding graduating male who has shown a commitment to scholarship, leadership, service, and character.

Park taught high school agriculture at Tri-County High School in Wolcott, Indiana, for five and a half years. The Tri-County FFA chapter was the 2001 Top FFA Chapter in Indiana and the agriculture program was one of six National Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Agriculture Programs for 2001. He earned a Ph.D. in Agricultural Education from the University of Florida in 2005.

Park is a member of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers and has been recognized with the CALS Outstanding Teaching Award. Park led the development of NC State’s first fully online degree program to provide remote access to the robust Agricultural Science major. He is coordinating the Agricultural Communicators Program, a collaborative effort between multiple colleges.

Park has served the agricultural education profession in several capacities. He provides leadership and pro bono service to the agricultural education community as the National Director for Agricultural Education, the National FFA Advisor, and the Chair of the National FFA Board of Directors. Park is an American Association of Agricultural Education (AAAE) Fellow, the highest distinction of the profession. He served as president for the National Council for Agricultural Education in 2020. In 2018-20, he was the Vice President for the Southern Region of AAAE. He edited Career and Technical Education Research, the premier academic research journal for career and technical education from 2015-2018.

Park’s research focuses on agricultural literacy and effective methods of preparing preservice agriculture teachers. He has published two dozen peer reviewed manuscripts, presented 100 peer-reviewed presentations, and been granted over $4 million in extramural, multidisciplinary research, and extension funding. He also co-authored two textbooks, Principles of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources and Natural Resources Systems.

Park is happily married to Lacy, his wife of more than 20 years. They are raising three creative, active, and intelligent daughters who are also active in FFA. They reside in Raleigh, North Carolina. In his spare time, Park enjoys backpacking, beekeeping, barbecuing, reading, and reaching into the soil to garden with native plants.

The other 2023 ASEC Distinguished Alumni are Abigail Borron and Aaron McKim.

The awards presentation will be 2 p.m. Friday, September 15, in Creighton Hall of Animal Sciences, room 1042. All are welcome to attend the ceremony and the reception that follows.

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