GRIGGSVILLE, Ill. — Jordan Johns of Pontiac is the winner of the 2018 Illinois Agri-Women Agricultural Education Scholarship. This $1,500 scholarship is awarded annually to an agriculture education major finishing their degree in the upcoming year. Johns will be a senior in agricultural education this fall at the University of Illinois. She attended Pontiac Township High School.
In her winning essay, Johns said, “Without a doubt, agriculture impacts all of our lives. Although the industry is expanding and improving constantly, I believe it holds true to its roots of hard work, faith, and family. In our fast-paced and technology savvy world, consumers are fascinated with their food and where it comes from. I desire to become an agricultural education instructor because I enjoy working with youth, our most valuable resource, and I believe learning is a lifelong process. Teachers have the ability to make an impact on the lives of their students, a task which should not be taken likely.”
The Women Changing the Face of Agriculture (WCFA) conference, a project of the Illinois Agri-Women, takes place each spring to encourage young women to interact with women in agriculture, learn more about careers in the industry, and network with agricultural leaders from across the country. Each year, three “WCFA Agent of Change” $1,000 scholarships are awarded to college students who aspire to make a difference through their careers in the agricultural industry. The 2018 recipients are as follows:
Hannah Colleen Spangler, daughter of David and Colleen Spangler of Avon, will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Spangler attended Bushnell Prairie City High School and is currently studying agriculture leadership education at the University of Illinois.
“The things I learned from being at Women Changing the Face of Agriculture and visiting with other inspiring young women of agriculture have impacted my choices throughout the rest of high school,” Spangler said. “It led to my decision to major in Agriculture Leadership Education at U of I and pursue a job for Agriculture in the Classroom.”
Sierra Rene Day of Cerro Gordo will also receive a $1,000 scholarship. She is the daughter of Ronald “Mike” and Cheryl Day. She attended Cerro Gordo High School and is currently at Lake Land College. She plans to continue her education at Kansas State University where she will study animal science and agricultural communications.
“After attending WCFA, I quickly realized that there is a place for women in the agriculture industry,” Day said. “The conference has brought together numerous women in agriculture to share their stories and represent all types of agricultural occupations that are obtained by women. With that being said, this conference gave me the push to continue to follow my interests.”
Peyton Marie Gehrs of Carbondale will receive a $1,000 scholarship. Her parents are Matthew and Jill Gehrs of Carbondale. Gehrs is a graduate of Highland High School, and recently graduated from Southern Illinois University. She is currently taking graduate courses at Southern Illinois University in Plant, Soil, and Agricultural Systems/Literacy/Education.
“Without 4H, FFA, and conferences like WCFA, I would not be here today, researching how to improve the agricultural literacy levels of Illinois students,” Gehrs said. “I hope to be the presenter on the stage of WCFA one day who is able to inspire young women to pursue their dreams, no matter how far off they may seem. I hope to make an impact, even if in just one student’s life, by introducing them to agriculture. I want to be an advocate for our industry in every way possible, to show people that the past is the past and your future is anything you can dream it to be.”
For more information about Illinois Agri-Women scholarships and opportunities, visit illinoisagriwomen.org. To learn more about the 2019 Women Changing the Face of Agriculture conference, visit womenchangingthefaceofagriculture.com.
— Maddi Lindstrom, Illinois Agri-Women
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