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Source: American Agricultural Editors' Association (AAEA) and Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT)

Author Mark W. Boyer once said, "The best help we can offer the youth of today is to prepare them for tomorrow."

Helping our youth build that foundation toward their future is the goal of the AAEA ACT scholarships, as well as the AAEA editorial and marketing communications internships. Through these opportunities we strive to recognize the very best students and support them in their endeavor to join our profession.

Four outstanding students have been selected to receive the 2017 AAEA ACT scholarships.

Shalin Lawson, West Texas A&M University. "I am consistently impressed with Shalin's work ethic, her commitment to her education, and her demonstrated leadership skills in various organizations," says Missy Macon, Leadership Coordinator, Rogers LEAD WT. "Rogers LEAD WT is a two-year academic certification program in leadership education and development. It is the most prestigious program at West Texas A&M University. Over the past year, I watched as Shalin emerged as a leader among leaders in Rogers LEAD WT. She has risen to the top of her class by leading by example, always making her LEAD responsibilities a top priority, by following through and being true to her word. Shalin is one of the most impressive people I've had the opportunity of working with."

Jackie Newland, Kansas State University. "Like many state Farm Bureaus, we in Kansas frequently seek highly engaged, capable young leaders and spokespeople for agriculture to 'build the bench' for the future of the industry and our organizations," says Terry D. Holdren, CEO & General Counsel, Kansas Farm Bureau. "As you'd expect, we're looking for passion, a willingness to learn and be challenged, and a desire to positively impact others. Jackie has all of those attributes and is an excellent candidate for your scholarship program."

Lindsey Robinson, University of Missouri. "I was so fortunate to have Lindsey as my lead AAEA Awards intern during the spring, summer and fall of 2016 in my consulting business as we managed the AAEA Communications Awards program together," says Marilyn Cummins, President, Cummins Consulting. "Lindsey is wise beyond her years and an extremely capable and talented communicator. In her work with me, she was quick to learn the online system we used for entry intake and did an outstanding job from the start in taking responsibility for reviewing entries and entry payments with a sharp eye for any questions or discrepancies. I appreciated how professionally she balanced her school work, work at home on the farm, her responsibilities on the National Junior Swine Association Junior Board of Directors and her work with me on the AAEA awards."

Audrey Schmitz, Kansas State University. "Progressive Publishing had the privilege of hiring Audrey as our 2016 editorial intern," says Walt Cooley, Managing Editor, Progressive Dairyman. "She impressed us on paper before she began, and she was even more outstanding in her work over the three months she was in our Idaho office. She did everything we asked her to do and was eager to learn more than what might be traditionally expected of an intern. During her time with us, I saw her writing improve and her organizational skills increase. We would love to hire her as a full-time employee when she graduates. She is career-ready."

Of the four finalists, one will be chosen to receive the top scholarship of $3,000, which is in honor of Dr. James Evans who has had a tremendous impact on the establishment and growth of agricultural communications programs.

The candidate selected to receive this scholarship is recognized for "excellence in academics and leadership, and for exemplifying the dedication and commitment of the outstanding individual for whom this award is named." As part of the selection process, each student will be interviewed during the Agricultural Media Summit (July 22 - 26, 2017) in Snowbird, Utah, to determine which candidate will receive the $3,000 scholarship.

The remaining three students will be awarded the Past President's Scholarship in the amount of $1,500 each.

A luncheon to honor all four students will be held on Monday, July 24, 2017, during the Agricultural Media Summit. The winner of the Dr. James Evans Scholarship will be announced at the luncheon.

All four scholarships are made possible through a grant from the AAEA Professional Improvement Foundation.

Established by the National Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT) in 1993 and adopted by AAEA in 2004, AAEA scholarships are awarded to outstanding members of ACT for their achievements in leadership, career-related experiences, academics and service.

Congratulations to the four finalists!

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