Penn State Students Discuss College with Tyrone Ag Students


You need to find what you love to do, not just take college to spend money.

— Katrina Hagenbuch

Two Pennsylvania State University students visited Mrs. Tiffany Hoy’s Leadership and Communications, Agricultural Education and Introduction to Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources classes at the end of February to talk to students about public speaking, agriculture majors, and college.

Penn State freshman Jessica Barnhart and Tyrone High School alumna and current PSU freshman Katrina Hagenbuch explained the college admissions process and gave students tips on how to approach certain classes.  They also discussed specific clubs and organizations available to students at the Penn State Altoona campus. Each shared stories revolving around their freshman year college challenges and opportunities.

Barnhart was enrolled in a math course and she could not understand her professor’s accent. She worked as hard as she could to pull her grade up, but it was a challenging crisis for her. Unfortunately Barnhart had to withdrawal from that course, but added another math class in the spring semester and is doing very well. Barnhart used her own college experience to explain to students that setbacks will occur and it is acceptable to switch things up – especially if it does not go as planned.

“If you cannot understand your professor in the first week and it is not a strong subject for you, think about dropping the course in during withdraw period. There are other professors to take the same course from, you just need to figure out when and how to take your college course loads,” said Barnhart.

Hagenbugh discussed various fields of study, both inside and out of the field of agriculture. The challenge, according to Hagenbugh, is finding the right field of study.

“I changed my major and that will happen. You need to find what you love to do, not just take college classes to spend money. Don’t be afraid to try and look into a major you never thought of before,” said Hagenbuch.

Students in the leadership and communications class are preparing speeches on agriculture topics to present at the county competition. Barnhart and Hagenbuch both expressed how importnat improving their public speaking in high school was and how it changed their lives for the better.

“My biggest accomplishment was making it to regionals for extemporaneous speaking. I went out of my comfort zone and went the farthest I have ever gotten in public speaking,” said Hagenbuch.

Extemporaneous speech is performed without advanced preparation. Students are given a random topic, 30 minutes to prepare, and then present a speech to the panel of judges.

“I found their presentation to be very educational. It really gave me an idea of how many agricultural majors are available to college students,” said Tyrone freshman Colby Daughenbaugh.