University News

Two WIU Agriculture Students Chosen For Prestigious Summer Institute

April 6, 2021

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MACOMB, IL – Two agriculture education students from the Western Illinois University School of Agriculture have been chosen to participate in the annual Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education (CASE) Institute this summer at Highland Community College.

Seniors Alicia Flowers, of Curryville, MO, and Sydney Riden, of Good Hope, IL, were two of 13 students chosen for inclusion in the program from its 44 applicants.

Both Flowers and Riden are students of School of Agriculture Director Andy Baker. Flowers will student teach in Silex, MO, this fall and Riden is the new agriculture instructor in the Rushville-Industry High School.

"I was very pleased when I was informed about Alicia Flowers and Sydney Riden being selected for the CASE training," said Baker. "Both of these young educators are deserving and qualified of this recognition. The CASE curriculum is a nationally-developed, inquiry-based curriculum in ag science, developed by agricultural educators across the country. The curriculum was developed to provide hands-on, engaging lessons for students to better understand the science of the agricultural industry. I am very proud that these young educators took advantage of the opportunity presented to them, and are excited about enhancing their instructional methodologies through this workshop."

The CASE Institute provides additional training and certification to agriculture education students and teachers. Both women will attend the programming free after being awarded grants from the Illinois Growing Agriculture Science Teachers (GAST) program.

Flowers said she is honored to be chosen for the institute because it will benefit not only her, but her future students.

"I not only wanted to invest in bettering my teaching techniques, I also wanted to be able to serve my future students to the best of my ability," said Flowers. "This institute will provide me with ideas on how to make my lessons more engaging and appealing to students. I hope that through this institute I learn about these teaching methods, as well as network with other agriculture educators."

Riden said the institute, July 12-15 and 19-22, is available to pre-service and in-service agriculture education teachers.

"The specific institute I will be attending is Introduction to Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources (AFNR)," she said. "Looking to the future, it is my hope that this institute will allow me to continue building a legacy that is established within the Rushville-Industry Agricultural Education Program."

Riden added that the program she will begin her teaching career in would like to incorporate and blend its agriculture and science departments so the curriculum works side-by-side to provide students with an understanding of agri-science.

"By doing so, students will understand more specifically how science is involved in agriculture.," she said. "From soil tests to animal cells, and everything in between, it is crucial that students understand agri-science to become involved in today's agricultural industry.

For more information about the WIU School of Agriculture, visit

Posted By: Jodi Pospeschil (
Office of University Communications & Marketing