Student News: College Aggies Online Winners; Nebraska Mentorships

Northwest Missouri State University Ag Advocacy Class “Newbies on the Farm” event. ( Animal Agriculture Alliance/Northwest Missouri State University Ag Advocacy Class )

Animal Agriculture Alliance announces 2019 College Aggies Online scholarship winners

Students from North Dakota State University, Western Illinois University, University of Wisconsin at Madison, State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill, Louisiana State University and Northwest Missouri State University have earned scholarships after being named winners of the Animal Agriculture Alliance’s College Aggies Online scholarship competition, according to a release from the Alliance. It awarded more than $20,000 to students and clubs this year. 

College Aggies Online is a program that the Alliance runs that connects college students across the country who are interested in promoting agriculture. In the individual division, students receive training from industry experts and engage on social media by posting information about current and emerging issues that are facing farmers and ranchers and telling personal stories, the release says. For clubs, students host farm tours, campus events, food drives and more to engage with their peers about agriculture.

“This year we had more than 300 individuals and 20 collegiate clubs enroll in the competition, representing 95 colleges and 35 states,” said Casey Kinler, Alliance communications manager, in the release. “The students’ posts about agriculture generated more than 7.2 million impressions on social media, demonstrating that they have been highly successful at spreading positive and factual information about animal agriculture online.” 

The individual winners are:

  • First place, $2,500 scholarship: Sarah McNaughton, North Dakota State University and Cassie Perrin, Western Illinois University
  • Second place, $1,000 scholarship: Ciera Ballmer, University of Wisconsin at Madison and Kathryn Bosley, State University of New York College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill
  • Third place, $500 scholarship: Katie Costanza, Louisiana State University and William Grant, Northwest Missouri State University

The club winners are:

  • First place, $2,500 scholarship: Western Illinois University Agriculture Club
  • Second place, $1,000 scholarship: Northwest Missouri State University Agriculture Advocacy Class
  • Third place, $500: West Texas A&M University Agronomy Club

First and second place winners in each division win an all-expense-paid trip to the Alliance’s 2020 Stakeholders Summit, which will take place May 7-8 in Arlington, Virginia.

Brynnen Gardner of Iowa State University was named the “Social Media Rock Star” for entering the best social media post of the competition. During the competition, students could earn mini scholarships for having the best social media posts, videos, blog posts and infographics, the release says. Clubs received awards for hosting the best events on their campuses. 

Along with the scholarship winners, 11 students earned the College Aggies Online Excellence Award for rising to the top of a very competitive field:

  • Emily Boyer, Oklahoma State University
  • Hannah Campbell, Michigan State University
  • Emily Matzke, University of Wisconsin at Madison
  • Kade Plattner, Northwest Missouri State University
  • Kathryn Helmink, Southern Illinois University at Carbondale
  • Mackenzie Wille, Oregon State University
  • Payton Craig, Northwest Missouri State University
  • Jessy Harris-Forkner, Oklahoma State University
  • Paige Skinner, Western Illinois University
  • Samantha Burdick, Oklahoma State University
  • Agnes Kurtzhals, Northeast Community College

 To learn more about College Aggies Online, visit their website.

Nebraska Pork Producers accepting 2020 mentorship applications

The Nebraska Pork Producers Association is looking for students to be a part of its 2020 Pork Mentorship Program. Scholarships are available for college students who have an interest in the pork industry, and they don’t have to be a pork producer, the release from the association says. The deadline to apply is December 15, and the form is found by visiting the youth tab on

“The NPPA Pork Mentorship Program is more than just a scholarship. It’s a way for students to build their capacity as a leader and professional in the pork and agriculture industries in Nebraska. The program provides students with an opportunity to identify future career goals and to evolve into strong agricultural advocates, NPPA youth education director Kyla Habrock says in the release.

Since its beginning in 1999, almost 150 students have completed the program and more than $75,000 has been awarded in scholarships. Each year students complete activities that encourage personal growth, leadership development, community engagement and expand their knowledge of the pork industry. They are awarded a $500 scholarship at the end of the year-long program.