URBANA – The 2016 winner of the Illinois Agri-Women scholarship for a senior majoring in agriculture education is Samantha Martin. Martin’s high school agriculture teacher and FFA advisor said, “She is a woman who strives for excellence and works diligently to not disappoint.” Martin will graduate from Western Illinois University. She has a passion for agriculture education, is aware of the shortage of educators in Illinois, and has solid ideas on how to encourage young people to pursue careers in agriculture education. Her leadership experience includes section sentinel and chapter vice president for FFA, membership coordinator of Sigma Alpha Agriculture Professional Sorority, and secretary of Collegiate FFA.
The Illinois Agri-Women, in conjunction with the Women Changing the Face of Agriculture conference, awards three Agent of Change scholarships each year. The first winner is Krista Temple, a student at the University of Illinois majoring in agricultural communications and minoring in food and environmental systems. Krista is a graduate of Fulton High School and was a 10-year member of the Garden Plain Ripsnorters 4-H Club. At the collegiate level, Krista is involved in 4-H House, Illini Agriculture Communicators of Tomorrow, and Explore ACES. Krista credits her participation in WCFA with helping her build a network in the agriculture industry, as well as allowing her to gain hands-on experience in photography and videography.
The second 2016 Agent of Change Scholarship winner is Jordan Johns, a student at the University of Illinois majoring in agricultural science education. Jordan is a Pontiac Township High School graduate, where she served as the Section 9 FFA president. She went on to serve as the Illinois Association FFA state treasurer. At the collegiate level she is a member of Collegiate Farm Bureau and is a James Scholar. Jordan said WCFA was an eye-opening experience that helped her decide on a career in agricultural education because seeing all the women light up while talking about their personal career paths made her want to be like them.
New this year is an Agents of Change Scholarship dedicated to women pursuing further graduate education. The 2016 winner is Mary Francque. Mary is a graduate of Sterling High School and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, where she studied agribusiness. She is currently studying agriculture law at Drake University School of Law. She plans to advocate for the agriculture as an industry and farmers as individuals while practicing law in her hometown of Sterling. Mary said WCFA helped her realize she can do anything she wants. “It was this conference that brought the infinite career opportunities of the agriculture industry to my attention,” she said.
Applications for the scholarships provided by the Illinois Agri-Women become available on April 1, 2017, at womenchangingthefaceofagriculture.com. Applications are due on May 26, 2017.