Natalie Ferand has joined the Career and Technical Education Program of the Virginia Tech School of Education, expanding the rich tradition of preparing secondary teachers who teach and lead agricultural education in Virginia and beyond.

The school’s Career and Technical Education–Agricultural Education program has expanded to include a new undergraduate major in agricultural education starting in the fall of 2021.

Ferand recently earned her Ph.D. at the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication in the University of Florida, where she specialized in agricultural teacher education. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech University in horticulture and turf grass science and her master’s degree in agricultural leadership at the University of Georgia. Before returning to higher learning to pursue her doctorate, she taught high school agriculture in central Georgia and eastern Texas.

Ferand’s research focuses on science within school-based agricultural education, teacher professional development, teacher self-efficacy, experiences of pre-service teachers, and gender stereotypes in agricultural careers. She co-leads STEM-it Up: Everything You Need to Know to Get Your Floriculture Curriculum in Bloom, a professional development program in which she works with high-school agriculture teachers from across the nation.

“Dr. Ferand brings a rich background in rigorous research, hands-on teaching, and community service and outreach,” said Kristin Gehsmann, director of the School of Education. “She is an outstanding addition to our faculty and to the entire Career and Technical Education Program.”

Tracy Rutherford, head of the Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education in the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, added, “Dr. Ferand’s work in STEM education, teacher professional development, and curriculum development are strong complements to the work of the faculty in our department. We look forward to working with her and the School of Education to develop future agriculture education teachers and supporting our current Virginia educators and agricultural education leaders.”

Visit the School of Education’s website to learn more about the new undergraduate major in agriculture education, as well as the master’s degree program in agricultural education.

“As the state’s land-grant institution and leader in agricultural education in Virginia, we are pleased to be expanding our agriculture education program to include undergraduates who aspire to earn their teaching credentials in career and technical education–agricultural education,” said Gehsmann. “Together with our partners in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, we are reimagining the future of agricultural education in the commonwealth, beginning with our public school students and teachers.” 

The Virginia Tech School of Education is a global catalyst for individual and social transformation through education, applied research, and advocacy. With 20 degree and certificate programs, the school offers students a range of pathway to serve the greater good. To learn more, visit the school’s website, or find the school on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and LinkedIn

Written by Sharon Stidham