HARRISBURG, Pa. — To encourage and empower the next generation of dairy producers, the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association recently honored 10 undergraduate students with Student Leader Scholarships. Each scholarship recipient received $3,000 to support their undergraduate studies.
“The Dairymen’s Association strives to invest in our future dairy leaders by helping them gain relevant skills and experiences in the dairy industry,” said Dave Smith, Executive Director at the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association. “The Student Leader Scholarship is a significant accomplishment for these 10 students who are passionate about shaping the future of dairy.”
The Student Leader Scholarship program was designed to provide recognition, encouragement, and financial assistance to outstanding students enrolled in academic programs that support the dairy industry. To qualify for the scholarship, students must be enrolled in a dairy-related undergraduate major and demonstrate a commitment to pursuing a future career in dairy. One scholarship is specifically designated for an incoming freshman.
“This year’s scholarship winners are eager to make a positive impact on the dairy industry in a variety of ways, from animal science and agricultural education to food science and communications,” said Brittany Haag, Dairy Education Program Manager at the Center for Dairy Excellence. “Our hope is that the Student Leader Scholarships motivate them to continue their studies in dairy education and make their goals a reality.”
Congratulations to this year’s recipients:
Mikara Anderson is a freshman studying animal science at The Pennsylvania State University. Mikara is the daughter of Gerald and Holly Anderson of Three Springs, Huntingdon County. After gaining experience on her grandfather and uncle’s dairy farm throughout her childhood, Mikara became involved in the Junior Holstein Club and the Huntingdon County dairy promotion program. Her goal is to conduct research in dairy science during her undergraduate studies and eventually become an agricultural attorney to help protect farmers across the Commonwealth.
Thomas Gabel is a sophomore studying agricultural and extension education at The Pennsylvania State University. The son of Robert and Jennifer Gabel of Newport, Perry County, Thomas aspires to impact the next generation of students and advocate for the dairy industry in the classroom. His goal is to create opportunities for students of any background to make a connection to the dairy industry by developing an innovative agricultural education program.
Nicole Guise is a junior studying agricultural and extension education at The Pennsylvania State University. Nicole is the daughter of Denton and Amy Guise of Spring Grove, York County. With a personal herd of dairy cows, Nicole is passionate about advocating for the dairy industry and serving as a role model for youth. After interning at the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau during the summer of 2019 and working with educators across the state in the Ag Ed Mobile Science Labs, her goal is to become an agricultural sciences educator.
Clara Hess is a freshman studying agricultural business at The Pennsylvania State University (Berks Campus). Clara is the daughter of Dave and Starla Hess of Lancaster County. Growing up on her family’s dairy farm, Clara has experience milking cows, caring for calves, maintaining calf and cow records, and feeding dry cows, heifers and calves. As an active member of her high school’s FFA chapter, she also helped several local farmers with waterway projects. Clara’s goal is to use her degree in Ag Business to make a difference in the dairy industry.
Peyton Jones is a freshman studying agricultural business at Morrisville State College. Peyton is the son of Abigail and William Jones III of Friendsville, Susquehanna County. With 10 years of experience showing dairy animals, Peyton has received several awards and has shared his knowledge with others as a leader at his county’s 4-H dairy camp. After graduation, Peyton hopes to return to his family’s dairy farm and continue making a positive impact on the dairy industry.
Austin Kreiser is a sophomore studying animal science at The Pennsylvania State University. Austin is the son of Eric and Erica Kreiser of Elizabethtown, Lancaster County. Austin has extensive experience working with dairy cattle in high school through a co-operative education program, where he spent more than 400 hours on a Pennsylvania dairy farm. He also traveled to the Netherlands to learn about their farming methods. Austin’s goal is to become a large animal veterinarian and work with dairy cattle in Lancaster County.
Gretchen Little is a freshman studying communications at The Pennsylvania State University. Gretchen is the daughter of Kris and Karen Little of Bellefonte, Centre County. Growing up on her family’s dairy farm, Gretchen gained experience in the industry and found her voice in the community by joining dairy promotion. She also has more than 10 years of experience showing dairy cows. Gretchen’s goal is to use her degree in communications to promote the dairy industry in a positive way.
Madison Shaw is a freshman studying animal science at The Pennsylvania State University. Madison is the daughter of Angela Shaw of Harrisburg, Dauphin County. With a passion for agriculture, Madison was a member of the 4-H program and spent time visiting schools and demonstrating the cheese-making process to students. Her goal is to eventually own a dairy operation and other animal commodities connected to a creamery.
Drew Walton is a junior studying animal science at The Pennsylvania State University. Drew is the son of Matthew and Shala Walton of Cochranville, Chester County. Growing up on his family’s third-generation dairy farm, Drew has been committed to the dairy industry and joined the Dairy Science Club where he traveled abroad and saw dairy operations in different parts of the world. His goal is to return to his family’s dairy and manage the reproductive program, perform nutrition and ration formulation work, and identify bottlenecks that can be improved.
Taylor Wolfe is a junior studying animal science at The Pennsylvania State University. Taylor is the daughter of Ray and Dawn Wolfe of Milton, Northumberland County. She is a member of the Pennsylvania Junior Holstein Association and has also gained hands-on experience at a variety of farms over the past few summers. Taylor’s goal is to return to her family’s dairy farm and potentially pursue a career in sales or consulting.
Visit centerfordairyexcellence.org to learn more about the Student Leader Scholarships and to learn how to support the scholarship fund. Contact Brittany Haag at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-346-0849 with questions.
–Emily Barge, Center for Dairy Excellence