Meet Alumni Educator Donna Meller

Donna Meller is a science instructor at Pettisville High School, teaching 8th grade science, chemistry, physics, anatomy & physiology, environmental science and a high school research class. Other roles include Science Fair Director, STEM Club co-coordinator, Pettisville FFA Alumni member, and Henry County Junior Fair Board Advisor for the Horse Department. In addition, she provides oversight for all science research projects at the high school and works closely with the agriscience instructor/FFA Advisor on projects that are part of a student’s SAE (Student Agricultural Experience), to help students in the experimental design of their project or to connect them with a mentor, and also in the development of their research technical report. She’s been a teacher for 27 years.

Meller said, “My favorite part of teaching is when my students are totally engaged in learning, and they don’t realize it! I value the opportunity of seeing them learn basic science concepts and then see how those concepts apply to the world they live in. My challenge as a teacher is to create lessons that provide these moments.”

How has FTW changed your view of agriculture?

I’ve had the opportunity to work in several school systems with great agricultural science departments. I’ve gained so much knowledge on various science topics as I have worked with the agriscience teachers over the years. I realized very quickly that everything about agriculture is SCIENCE! This experience, along with the various opportunities provided by FTW, has allowed me have a greater perspective on how important it is to give all students the opportunity to see the science in agriculture, and to understand where our food comes from and how important agriculture is as a major industry in Ohio. FTW has given me many resources to use directly in the classroom to teach various science concepts and help students better understand agriculture. I DEFINITELY recommend the FTW workshops to anyone looking for professional development that will give value to the lessons you teach.

What kind of outreach activities are you hoping to do as an FTW alumni educator?

The past two years I have presented at the NW Ohio Science Educator’s Symposium at BGSU in the fall and would like to participate in that again. I also try to make sure any staff in the four county area know about upcoming FTW workshops. Another idea that I am currently working on is an educator’s workshop in the Farm Bureau tent at our local county fair.

If you could develop the perfect crop, what would you develop?

A perfect crop would be one that can be grown with minimal energy and nutrient input but is itself nutrient rich and can be grown in a variety of growing conditions and can be easily stored/preserved once harvested without much energy output to keep it long term.