June 1, 2017 RESTON, Virginia – Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative is pleased to announce its 2017 scholarship winners and award. A special $2000 scholarship was given to the most outstanding candidate under the Michael Burton Memorial Scholarship Fund. The cooperative awarded $5,000 in scholarships to five deserving students dedicated to pursuing careers in dairy. This crop of promising students will undoubtedly be assets to the dairy industry in the years to come.
The scholarships are funded through the cooperative’s operating budget and awards are made possible thanks to generous donations from members, staff and industry as well as proceeds from Maryland & Virginia’s Annual Meeting Silent Auction. The Michael Burton Memorial Scholarship Fund honors the late Michael Burton, a leader and passionate advocate of the dairy industry. Mr. Burton worked for MDVA work 13 years and this scholarship was funded in his memory to support young dairy farmers. This award and scholarships will help to offset college expenses for the 2017-2018 academic year. The recipients were selected based on their responses to essay questions, financial need, leadership activities and career aspirations.
Maryland & Virginia’s 2017 Scholarship Winners:
The Michael Burton Memorial $2,000 Scholarship:
Rayann Elizabeth Eaves, New Midway, Maryland, is a focused and driven high school senior. She was raised on their 5th generation family dairy farm that has also been raising swine for three generations and she raises and shows alpacas. Rayann has been a leader in many agriculture organizations including Chapter President and Delegate of her school’s FFA, the President of Maryland and Frederick County Kaleidoscope 4-H and a Special Olympics team member. She has national and local level competition experience showing animals, and is active in many academic and agricultural groups. Rayann has demonstrated a passion and commitment to animals and sciences, and to her dairy farm roots. “I feel that my family heritage and involvement in agriculture has not only instilled strong work ethics but also has opened many doors of opportunity for me. My love for animals quickly grew into a love for the sciences.” She is an intern at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, working on a project to determine how host immune cells respond to bacterial invasion, with applications directed at antibiotic resistance. Rayann is considering a career in veterinary medicine and large animal veterinary practice or research in the future and will attend the University of California- Davis in Animal Sciences this fall.
Katelyn Allen, Jefferson, Maryland attends Virginia Tech, majoring in Dairy Science. She has been involved in the Maryland and National Junior Holstein Association for thirteen years, the
Maryland FFA, Frederick County 4-H and was also a 3-year varsity basketball player. Katelyn earned the Brunswick FFA Star Greenhand and Maryland FFA degree. She represented Maryland at the National Holstein Convention as a member of the Dairy Quiz Bowl Team, Dairy Jeopardy and Prepared Public Speaking. Katelyn was among 75 students selected to participate in the National FFA International Leadership Seminar for State Officers to go to South Africa. However, it was her experience as Frederick County Dairy Princess that put her out working with the community and promoting dairy farming and the values of milk. Focusing her interests into Communications and Dairy Sciences, she is combining her knowledge and experience of animals and dairy farming with her passion for writing, and working with people into career goals for improving farm operations and consumer-producer relations. “I believe that the biggest issue the dairy industry and all of agriculture is currently facing is a lack of trust and understanding from consumers. If we, as agriculturalists, can help bridge that gap to help connect the public with their food source, the dairy industry will have a strong consumer base and a bright future.”
Courtney Hoff, New Windsor, Maryland, attends Cornell University in the Animal Sciences and Agribusiness program. She grew up on a dairy farm, and her focus remains on the pivotal health of heifers and calves. Courtney has immersed herself in the Cornell University Dairy Science Club, Sigma Alpha professional agriculture sorority and the Quiz Bowl Team. She has had some exciting experiences including travelling to Patagonia, Argentina, where she designed and carried out her own field study on Magellanic Penguins. Even though she enjoyed employing scientific method in the field, her passion remains researching cows. Courtney also had the opportunity to attend a study trip to Italy where she was able to experience dairy food production and marketing and its relationship to the Italian consumer. Courtney is currently an assistant in the Department of Animal Science’s dairy labs at Cornell, where she has had the opportunity to support work on a calf study evaluating the effects of B-vitamin supplementation during the weaning phase. She is especially interested in how the results of experiments can be used and implemented on farms to improve conditions and outcomes. “I hope to have the opportunity to benefit the dairy industry through research, because it allows for the discovery of techniques and practices that can help the farmer help the cow; be it nutrition, herd management or genetics.”
Isabelle Leonard, Spottswood, Virginia, is completing her year as a full-time State FFA Officer before she heads to Cornell University this fall. A graduate of Riverheads High School, she was awarded the Lions Club Foreign Exchange Scholarship, the National 4-H Dairy Conference Scholarship and crowned the 2015 Virginia Dairy Princess as well as the 2015 National Holstein Association Young Distinguished Junior Member. Isabelle grew up on her family’s 115-cow dairy farm, and as the State Reporter for the Virginia FFA association, she has served as an ambassador for agriculture, agricultural education and shared the American farming experience as she travels throughout Europe as part of her responsibilities. Isabelle has traveled in Europe and Southeast Asia and credits these experiences with shaping her career goals in international marketing and agribusiness. “The entire agriculture industry, including the dairy industry, has gone global in recent years. Our milk price is affected by imports from China, exports from New Zealand, EU policies, and so many other international factors. As our economy increases to expand internationally, the American dairy industry will need advocates to protect our interests. I hope to be a voice for American dairy farmers in the global dairy market.”
Jenna Metzler, Martinsburg, Pennsylvania, will be attending Penn State University this fall, majoring in Agribusiness Management and accounting. Her grandparents are dairy farmers and she has been involved with the Central FFA Chapter as President and vice president, Morrisons Cove 4-H Dairy Club, member of the PA Holstein Association and member of the two-time PA State Champion Dairy Quiz Bowl team. Jenna credits the dairy industry with shaping her into the person she has become and also thanks 4-H for providing opportunities for valuable experiences. Jenna competed as a member of the Pennsylvania 4-H State Dairy Judging Team at World Dairy Expo. She sees endless opportunities in the dairy industry, “As I prepare for my future, I have no doubt that my educational experiences will pave the way for me to explore many new and exciting opportunities in the dairy industry.” She dreams of one day managing her family’s dairy farm and help other dairy farmers in the area. Her career path in agribusiness is fueled with goals to help farmers successfully manage and finance their dairy farms and increase efficiency.
Andrew Pryor, Walland, Tennessee, attends Middle Tennessee State University and is majoring in Agribusiness and Computer Information Systems. He interned at MDVA member farm Southern Swiss Dairy in Georgia last summer, and noted that the experience inspired him to pursue the dairy industry as a career. In addition to going to college, he has worked for two and one-half years at the MTSU Dairy Farm, which processes, whole, skim, reduced fat, cream and chocolate milk and will be bottling their milk this spring. A long-time volunteer with the Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church, and four-time All-Academic Tennessee state Basketball team, Andrew is also active the Block and Bridle Club and Dairy Science Club. “I have always had a passion for agriculture and educating consumers about food products because of growing up on my family farm that was established in 1843,” he said. “I hope to benefit the dairy industry with my hard work and dedication as an advocate of the dairy industry as a producer of a safe and healthy product. Many false accusations flood the public perception about agriculture in general, and I hope to change many of these as an educated agriculturist.”
To be eligible for a Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers scholarship, students must be the son, daughter or employee of a current co-op member or the son or daughter of a Maryland & Virginia employee and attending an accredited college or university. Applications are made available in November of each year and are due in mid-February. For more information, please contact Amber Sheridan at 800-552-1976 extension 449.
Owned and operated by 1,500 dairy farm families from Pennsylvania to Florida, Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association, Inc. is a milk marketing and processing cooperative that has been providing consumers with fresh milk and dairy goodness since 1920. Headquartered in Reston, Virginia, the cooperative owns and operates two fluid processing plants in Newport News, Virginia and Landover, Maryland, and two ingredients facilities in Laurel, Maryland and Strasburg, Virginia. Student photos available upon request.