Courtney N. Heiser
Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership
2021 Distinguished Senior Award Celebration Program (.pdf)
2021 Distinguished Senior Award Recipient Poster (.pdf)
Tying together her passion for helping others and her love for Ohio State, Courtney Heiser’s time as a CFAES ambassador, at both the Wooster and Columbus campuses, has been her most rewarding and enjoyable experience as a Buckeye. A first-generation college student, Courtney didn’t know much about college life or the extensive opportunities available to her, so being able to share parts of her journey to help inspire future Buckeyes has been extremely gratifying.
Courtney cites her education abroad trip to Brazil with Alpha Zeta Partners (AZP) as her most valuable learning experience. Her program spent six weeks traveling throughout Brazil and gaining insight into the country’s agriculture, natural resource management, environmental standards, and culture. In addition, she also learned about personal leadership, adaptability, and resilience. One of the most important lessons she took away from this journey is that we can truly accomplish anything when we suspend judgment and have a sense of curiosity.
Courtney said of her mentor, “From the start of my college journey, David Dietrich has pushed me to step out of my comfort zone and grow as a leader. As a freshman at Ohio State ATI, he encouraged me to apply for Track 1 of the Ag Future of America (AFA) Leaders Conference. I made many connections and learned more about professional development through my AFA experiences, and I cannot thank Dave enough for believing in me and pushing me to apply. Dave is the director of admissions and recruitment at Ohio State ATI; during my time as an ambassador at the Wooster campus, he was a great role model and supporter, always supporting my fellow ambassadors and me. Dave also helped make my transition to the Columbus campus smooth by connecting me with his colleagues at the campus.”
How is this going to work? That was the big question Courtney received in her role as the manager for the Tiffin Seneca Farmers Market. She accepted this position two weeks before the initial pandemic lockdown in March 2020. Courtney wasn’t well-versed in crisis communication, but she used her talents to provide support to their vendors. During her first week, she worked tirelessly to create a new website and collaborated with state and local officials to develop a plan-of-action for the 2020 market season. Thanks to her coursework, she was able to apply her knowledge to help local farmers and small businesses stay successful throughout the pandemic.
After graduation, Courtney will work for Heritage Cooperative as a marketing specialist, partnering with the marketing team and their divisional leaders to develop social media plans and generate digital marketing content. After a few years of field experience, Courtney plans to return to school to complete a graduate program, with hopes of becoming a professor to prepare the future leaders of agriculture.
Service, involvement, and accolades: Ohio State Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, president | Alpha Zeta Partners, chancellor| Ohio Soybean Association | Ohio Corn & Wheat | Ag Relations Council | Ohio State Welcome Leader | Clintonville Resource Center | American Soybean Association Advocacy Communications Team | AgriNaturalist Magazine, associate editor