Faculty Spotlight: Lori Nagel, Agriculture
The following article, “Leading Youth to Tomorrow,” was published on Thursday, January 12, 2017 in AgUpdate, by Jane Fyksen.
Lori Nagel: Leading youth to tomorrow
Lori Nagel, Hilbert, Wisconsin
Organizations: Instructor in agribusiness and farm operations at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, Wisconsin, and adviser for Postsecondary Agriculture Students, a national organization that sponsors leadership events and competitions at state and national levels.
Years and areas of leadership: Nagel is in her third year teaching agriculture at Fox Valley Technical College, having previously taught in a veterinary-technician training program (not at FVTC). Prior to that, she was co-owner for eight years in a private veterinary practice in Wittenberg, Wisconsin. She was also staff veterinarian at ABS Global in DeForest, Wisconsin, where she took care of bulls for five years. She started her veterinary career in private practice in Darlington, Wisconsin.
Who or what inspired you to become a leader and why? In all of my jobs, I always placed emphasis on education. When I was in veterinary practice, I helped producers better understand prevention and prescribed therapies, and held client seminars. At ABS, I helped bull handlers and other livestock personnel understand why certain choices were made regarding livestock handling and health. My parents suggested I teach; I find it somewhat ironic I gravitated to what my parents recognized early on as a skill I had.
Dr. Christine Fortin at Center Hill Veterinary Clinic in Darlington, Wisconsin, mentored me when I was a newly graduated veterinarian. She encouraged me to put what I knew into practice. I try to do the same with my students – get them to recognize what they know and how to use it and develop that confidence.
Favorite agricultural quote: John Dewey’s “Education is not preparation for life. Education is life itself.”
What’s the biggest challenge and/or reward of working with youth? The challenge is to develop confidence in my students to see what they can do and encourage them to step out of their comfort zone -- to try something new. For them to tell a future employer what they’ve learned and how they can use that knowledge to contribute to an organization. The reward is hearing a student say, “I can do that.”
Nagel grew up on a dairy farm near Curtiss in Clark County, Wisconsin. She graduated with a double major in animal science and chemistry from University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She earned a master’s degree in reproductive biology at the University of Missouri-Columbia and a veterinarian-medicine degree from UW-Madison.
Nagel has 93 students at Fox Valley Technical College and 50 in the Postsecondary Agriculture Students organization. She teaches dairy and livestock health-related classes, animal science, genetics and reproduction, dairy and livestock records analysis, dairy-herd management and dairy facilities. Students are enrolled in two-year associate-degree programs, a one-year dairy technical-diploma program and a farm-operations program, which is similar to UW’s Short Course; students attend three days a week November to early April.
She exposes students to a variety of educational formats, from the internet and seminars at World Dairy Expo to textbooks and Professional Dairy Producers’ seminars. She wants to influence students to continue to learn from various avenues after they’ve launched careers. She also wants them to grow beyond young-adult students and step confidently into their roles as peers within Wisconsin agriculture.
She also works with many high schools to integrate Fox Valley Technical College’s curriculum for college credit, giving high-school students a head start on college.
Nagel is a general leader of the Chilton Tip-Top 4-H Club and volunteers with Calumet County's 4-H Livestock Committee. She and her husband, Robert Nagel, who is also a veterinarian, are part-owners in Holsum Dairy, which has two herd sites near Hilbert, Wisconsin. Her husband is the managing partner in the 8,000-cow operation. The couple has four children, three of whom are still at home.
“I like to encourage youth to find their area in agriculture and grow with it and find a lot of enjoyment in what they do,” Nagel said.