Insights from OFB Foundation Scholarship recipients

Buckeye Farm News

Twelve young Ohioans have been named recipients of $1,500 college scholarships from the Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation. The Foundation annually recognizes Ohio students for their academic effort, engagement in their communities and career interests that link agriculture to community service, education or scientific research.

Scholarship winners for 2014 are Jordan Bonham of Washington Court House, Molly Cleveland of Green Springs, Andrew Corcoran of Chillicothe, Grant Cory of Frankfort, Maria Dimengo of Cleveland, Karen Hiltbrand of Hamilton, Sierra Jepsen of Amanda, Summer McCracken of Anna, Nall Moonilall of Miami, Fla., Stephanie Neal of Massillon, Sarah Peterson of Sabina and Ashley Wilson of East Liberty.

Ohio Farm Bureau Foundation Scholar Award

This award recognizes students for academic effort, community service and career interests that use agriculture to enhance the partnership between farmers and consumers.

On the ideal partnership between farmers and consumers: 

“As we move agriculture forward through the 21st century, our farms of today are not our forefathers’ farms; I want to be the one to help my partners continue to evolve to meet the needs of the consumers and stay competitive in an ever-changing world market.”

~ Ashley Wilson, a graduate of Benjamin Logan High School who plans to study agricultural business at Wilmington College

“The ideal partnership between farmers and consumers would be fostered through developing new farming strategies that would benefit the consumers, farmers, and the environment.”

~ Nall Moonilall, a graduate of Florida International University who is pursuing a master’s degree at Ohio State University in environmental science with emphasis on soil science

“By taking the time to share with consumers what we do on a daily basis, we can create positive experiences and allow them to feel more confident in eating food grown here in the United States and around the world.”

~ Sierra Jepsen, a graduate of Amanda-Clearcreek High School who is studying agribusiness at Ohio State University

Women’s Leadership in Agriculture Scholarship

The Women’s Leadership in Agriculture Scholarship Program was established by the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee. The Fund is one of the oldest in the nation and supports academic institutions, social service and charitable organizations providing opportunities “to ennoble, to uplift and to strengthen the lives of young women.”

On their academic, vocational and personal goals concerning the challenges in agriculture:

“As I have grown and become a young adult I have decided that I want to spread my passion to other people. I want to give them the chance to experience the countless opportunities that agriculture provides and to educate them about the fact that agriculture is more than just a field of corn or a cow in a pasture. Agriculture is everywhere.”

~  Jordan Bonham, a Miami Trace High School graduate who is majoring in agricultural communications and sustainable plant systems with a specialization in agronomy at Ohio State University

Today’s society is one of critics and sincere, relatable Americans telling their personal stories is what consumers need to hear.”

~ Karen Hiltbrand, an Edgewood High School graduate who plans to study agricultural communications and animal sciences at Illinois Central Community College

I have watched hundreds of students over the past six years start their freshman year with no interest in animal agriculture and four years later graduate with a passion for the industry. I believe those transformations in students are invaluable to changing agriculture’s narrative and relationship with the consumer.”

~ Stephanie Neal is pursuing a PhD in comparative veterinary medicine at Ohio State University

Cindy Hollingshead Scholarship

This program was established in memory of Cindy Hollingshead, Ohio Farm Bureau’s 39-year executive secretary who passed away in 2011. She was instrumental in the development of Ohio Farm Bureau’s service to its members and a leader in her community.

On agriculture’s biggest challenges going forward:

“Agriculture needs more people trained in technology to make sure that the great opportunities that await us are designed with the farmer in mind. As our future will ask us to do more with less, technology is the way to make sure that we are maximizing the good that we can do. I plan to be a part of that future.”

~ Andrew Corcoran, a Zane Trace High School graduate who plans to study computer engineering at Ohio State University

“I want to create new opportunities for farmers by teaching them how to grow their farms. We cannot rely on the government to feed every underserved child in our rural and urban communities. It demands the collaboration of everyone to get the job done.”

~ Maria Dimengo, who is finishing a master’s degree in nonprofit organizations at Case Western Reserve University

“As a bridge between the industry and the government, I would push the creation of more programs involved in agriculture and funding for them. Youth should be given the chance to learn about the value of agriculture because if they became engaged with these programs, it would change their lives for the better as well.”

~ Summer McCracken, a graduate from Anna High School who attends Ohio State University, studying agribusiness and agricultural communications

Darwin Bryan Scholarship

The Darwin Bryan Scholarship commemorates Darwin R. Bryan, whose enthusiastic leadership during his 37 years of service to the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation has been an inspiration to rural youth throughout Ohio.

On how volunteer and leadership experiences have influenced their journey:

“My leadership and volunteer experiences have influenced my life so greatly, that I would not be the same person I am today, had I grown up without them. 4-H and FFA are two of the biggest experiences that have affected my life.”

~ Molly Cleveland, a graduate of Old Fort High School who plans to double major in animal science and agronomy at Ohio State University

“One of the most important aspects of my life that has changed because of my volunteer and leadership experiences is my will to work hard. I have found that I have developed a high work ethic though my involvement.”

~ Grant Cory, an Adena High School graduate who plans to study agricultural systems management at Ohio State University

“Life is not about the car you drive or the house you buy, a true life is about the experiences that shape who you are. I have led a very diverse life for someone of my age; I have been blessed with a family that has encouraged and supported me in my intellectual and personal growth, and allowed me to participate in programs and activities that have truly changed my life.

~ Sarah Peterson, a Miami Trace High School graduate who is a student at Ohio State University majoring in agricultural business and economics


Lynn Snyder 

Lynn Snyder is senior director of communications for Ohio Farm Bureau.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *