(April 30, 2019) RESTON, Virginia – Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative awarded six scholarships totaling $5,500 to deserving students who are pursuing careers in the dairy industry. The winners were selected based on their individual application, letters of recommendation, and responses to dairy industry questions.
The scholarship recipients include:
Todd Allen, Jefferson, Maryland, attends Virginia Tech where he is majoring in Dairy Science with a minor in Agribusiness Management and Agriculture and Applied Economics. Todd grew up on Glen-Toctin Farm and is the son of Jim and Lisa Allen. At school Todd is active in the Dairy Club, Alpha Zeta, and the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture Mentoring Program. Todd plans to pursue a career as dairy nutrition consultant or Holstein classifier after college. According to Todd, he hopes to “work with local farmers. I would like to help farmers solve any problems they may have and I intend to work in a career to help improve the dairy industry.”
Magdalene Green, Hagerstown, Maryland will be majoring in Biology at Wilson College and plans to pursue a career in agriculture education. She is employed at Palmyra Farm in Hagerstown. She was active in 4-H, FFA and served as the Maryland State Dairy Princess Alternate. It was during her time as the Washington County Dairy Princess that Magdalene decided to pursue a career in agriculture education. “My future career as an ag educator will help to introduce a new generation into the dairy industry,” she said. “Fresh minds being brought into the dairy industry means new ideas and new perspectives that can help to solve industry challenges.”
Ellie Grossnickle, Myersville, Maryland is majoring in Dairy Science with a minor in Communications at Virginia Tech. She grew up on Ellerton View Dairy Farm and is the daughter of Donald and Donna Grossnickle. While at Virginia Tech, she has been involved in Collegiate FFA, Sigma Alpha and the Virginia Tech Dairy Club. “I have a huge passion for advocating for the dairy industry,” said Ellie. When considering her future plans, she hopes to change society’s view about farmers and the food industry. “I think that farmers need to be transparent. It’s our time to stand up and educate consumers and make sure they are confident that milk is the best product. I want people to understand and appreciate where their food comes from,” she added.
Tiffany Heishman, Strasburg, Virginia is attending Eastern Mennonite University with a double major in Accounting and Business Administration. Upon graduation, she plans to become a certified public accountant with a focus on agriculture. She was active in 4-H and FFA and it was during her connection with a local dairy farm where her interest in the dairy industry was born. According to Tiffany, “These experiences helped me decide that I want to pursue a career in agriculture.” She hopes to work as an accountant in the farming community to be able to be a resource for farmers. Tiffany’s parents are Ray and Tracey Heishman. Tracey is an employee at Maryland & Virginia’s Valley Milk plant in Strasburg, Virginia.
Isabelle Leonard, Spottswood, Virginia, grew up on her family’s 120-cow dairy and turkey farm. She currently is a Dairy Science major at Virginia Tech. Isabelle, the daughter of Kyle and Keedie Leonard, is a former Virginia State FFA Officer and spent time in Italy as an agritourism and cheese manufacturing intern for four months. “Growing up on my family’s dairy and turkey operation has instilled in me a life-long passion for agriculture and animals,” Isabelle said. “While I am considering coming back to the family farm one day, in between college and that day, I would like to work in a supportive sector of agriculture. I want to be the bridge between farmers and the millennial consumers.”
Rachel Gray, Stony Point, North Carolina is the third generation on her family’s dairy farm, Greyhouse Farms. She is the daughter of Andy and Amy Gray. Rachel will be a freshman at North Carolina State University this fall majoring in Crop and Soil Science and Agribusiness. Throughout her youth, Rachel has been active in 4-H and FFA. Her family milks 750 Holsteins and Rachel has helped with all aspects of caring for the animals including feeding calves, milking, and herd health checks. In the future, she hopes to return to her family’s farm. “This industry has so much to offer and I want to be able to help provide consumers with dairy products and help teach them about our industry,” she said.
To be eligible for a Maryland & Virginia 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 Daniela Roland at 800-552-1976.