College students from across Pennsylvania were awarded student leader scholarships
Ten undergraduate students were recently honored with Student Leader Scholarships, intended to encourage and empower the next generation of dairy producers. Supported by the Center for Dairy Excellence Foundation of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association, each scholarship recipient received $3,000 to support their undergraduate studies in academic programs that support the dairy industry.
“The process of awarding this year’s Student Leader Scholarships was very competitive, with so many students making an impact on the future of dairy. These 10 recipients represent true leadership and excellence. They excel academically, are forward-thinking in and out of the classroom, and are dedicated to using their education to advance the dairy industry,” said Brittany Snyder, dairy education program manager at the Dairy Excellence Foundation.
The Student Leader Scholarship program was designed to provide recognition, encouragement, and financial assistance to outstanding students enrolled in dairy-related academic programs—including dairy and animal science, agricultural marketing and business, nutrition, food science, agriculture and extension education, agricultural communications, agricultural engineering, or related fields.
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.
“While the world of education has faced significant changes and uncertainty over the last few months, it has never been more important to invest in our future dairy leaders. The Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association strives to help the next generation gain relevant skills and experiences that will shape the future of dairy in Pennsylvania,” said Dave Smith, Executive Director at the Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association.
Congratulations to this year’s scholarship recipients:
“Being awarded the Student Leader Scholarship is a true blessing to me. I have always dreamed of being able to attend Penn State University in order to pursue my goals. This scholarship will allow me to achieve this dream. It will help me to pursue a degree in animal science, focusing on business and animal management. I hope to use this degree in the future to help farmers have more sustainable and profitable farms.” –Caroline Arrowsmith
Mikayla Davis is a sophomore studying agribusiness at The Pennsylvania State University – Berks Campus. Mikayla is the daughter of Mike and Angie Davis of Leesport, Berks County. After growing up on her family’s dairy farm, Mikayla gained a sense of responsibility from a young age as she cared for her cows and became involved in the Dairy 4-H program. With experience in the Dairy Princess Program, Dairy Judging Team, Holstein Association, and more, Mikayla gained confidence in talking to consumers about dairy. She is highly involved in her community and uses her optimism and outgoing personality to encourage the community to support local farmers. In the future, Mikayla sees herself working in ag extension, dairy promotion, or sales.
“I am honored to receive the Student Leadership Scholarship. I am so grateful to be part of the dairy industry and all the many opportunities that come with it. This scholarship will help me pay for my education so I can pursue a career in the industry that has given me so much.” –Mikayla Davis
“I am extremely honored to have been awarded this scholarship. It will be used to directly fund my education at Penn State University in the College of Agricultural Sciences. I hope to give back some of the knowledge I will be gaining to the dairy industry in the future.” –Madeleine Denlinger
Dylan Duncan is a freshman studying food science at The Pennsylvania State University. Dylan is the son of Sara Carter of Meadville, Crawford County. He has grown up with dairy farms in his family and began milking seven days a week on his aunt and uncle’s dairy farm at the age of 14. Dylan is a member of Dairy 4-H, Dairy Bowl, Dairy Judging Team, the Holstein Association, and more. He is interested in farms that have diversified their businesses in the areas of cheese and ice cream production, and hopes to use his experience with food science to help his family farm adapt and diversify.
“The Student Leader Scholarship will allow me a better financial start in my future career in food science. The biggest stress factor of my college education is finances, and this scholarship has lessened that burden immensely. I am extremely excited to begin this journey.” –Dylan Duncan
Thomas Gabel is a junior studying agricultural and extension education at The Pennsylvania State University. The son of Robert and Jennifer Gabel of Newport, Perry County, Thomas gained experience on his family’s dairy farm where he learned how to make breeding and management decisions. Thomas aspires to impact the next generation of students and advocate for the dairy industry as a teacher. He believes education is key to correcting consumer misconceptions. His goal is to create opportunities for students of any background to make a connection to the dairy industry through an immersive learning environment.
“To me, this scholarship is a reminder of the dairy industry that has developed me into who I am today and serves as a motivator to continue cultivating dairy excellence in my role as a future educator.” –Thomas Gabel
Yvonne Longenecker is a junior studying food science at The Pennsylvania State University. Yvonne is the daughter of Douglas and Yvette Longenecker of Williamsburg, Blair County. With experience growing up on her family’s dairy farm and time spent promoting the dairy industry as a Pennsylvania Dairy Princess, Yvonne became passionate about food safety and quality. She hopes to take the knowledge she is gaining in college about food safety, distribution and product development to promote the dairy and agriculture industries to consumers.
“Receiving the Student Leader Scholarship reminds me of the amazing support system I have within the dairy industry. This award will lessen the financial stress of my college education and allow me to work towards my goal of understanding and promoting the role of food science in dairy production.” –Yvonne Longenecker
Donald Opp is a junior studying animal science at The Pennsylvania State University. Donald is the son of Donald and Marcia Opp of Eighty-Four, Washington County. After growing up on his family’s 120-cow dairy, Donald has experience with dairy nutrition, risk management, and pasteurizing and marketing milk products. As an Ag Ambassador, member of Alpha Zeta, and Dairy Science club member, among other leadership roles, Donald is passionate about making a tangible impact on the dairy industry for generations to come. He has an interest in pursuing a career as a dairy economist or dairy processor.
“Being a recipient of the 2020 Student Leadership Scholarship means so much to me and will help me immensely in this upcoming year. To be chosen as one of the few recipients, it only instills in me a desire to uphold the qualities of leadership. Receiving this financial award will help ease the burden of my financial obligations and allow me to focus less on the monetary aspect of my education and more on the experiential aspect.” –Donald Opp
“The Student Leader Scholarship will be incredibly helpful in allowing me to pursue my passion of working in the dairy industry one day, either through being involved in a dairy farm operation or in the genetics industry. I’m very appreciative to the Foundation and PA Dairymen’s Association for providing this scholarship.” –George Sebright
Madison Weaver is a junior studying animal science at The Pennsylvania State University. Madison is the daughter of Fred and Tammy Weaver of Ephrata, Lancaster County. She is actively involved on her family’s dairy farm and currently works for Way-Har Farms as a milker, milk processor, and milk deliverer. After being a part of the Dairy Princess Program, Madison developed an interest in dairy communications and education. She enjoys educating the public and improving consumers’ perception of dairy products. Madison hopes to pursue a career in dairy communications and remain active as a herdsman on her family’s dairy farm.
“Being awarded the Student Leader Scholarship is such an honor. This scholarship will help me continue my degree in animal science at Penn State.” –Madison Weaver
Hanna Welk is a senior studying animal science at The Pennsylvania State University. Hanna is the daughter of Jeremy and Erin Welk of Quarryville, Lancaster County. After growing up on her family’s crop farm, Hanna was involved in 4-H from a young age and was responsible for the care and management of show animals. As a college student, Hanna has gained experience in agronomy and learned about the connection between agronomy and feeding dairy cows. Now, she helps plan crop rotations, take soil samples, and make contacts with seed salesmen. Her goal is to become a dairy nutrition specialist for an agronomy company after graduation.
“Being awarded this scholarship means more than just money — it tells me I am seen as having the potential for being a future leader in the dairy industry, which is great motivation going into my senior year of college! I will be able to spend less time working and more time on my studies. Finishing my college career strong will help my GPA and my knowledge base, which I will use to land a job in the dairy industry.” –Hanna Welk
Visit www.centerfordairyexcellence.org/scholarships to learn more about the Student Leader Scholarship program and how to support the scholarship fund. Contact Brittany Snyder at email@example.com or 717-346-0849 with questions.