Two high school graduates from Pennsylvania have been awarded $3,000 each by the Diary Excellence Foundation’s Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow program.
Adria Russell of Huntingdon County, Pa., and Isaac Dechow of Centre County, Pa. received the awards after completing and passing at least one of the Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow certification exams and associated coursework during their high school careers. As college freshmen for the 2023-24 school year, Adria and Isaac will receive scholarships to support their academic studies in dairy-related fields.
“These students not only excel in the classroom, but they are extremely passionate about finding careers serving the dairy industry in the future. From the large number of hours they have invested into dairy showmanship to leadership roles within their high school FFA groups, these students already have an active role in the Pennsylvania dairy industry,” said Michelle Shearer, Workforce Development Manager at the Dairy Excellence Foundation. “Now college freshmen, they are expanding on the knowledge they gained throughout their high school Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow courses and applying it to their career goals. We can’t wait to see the imprint they continue to make on the industry in the years to come.”
Congratulations to this year’s scholarship recipients:
Adria Russell, Pennsylvania State University
Adria Russell is a freshman studying animal science at The Pennsylvania State University. With both sets of her grandparents owning dairy farms, Adria developed an interest in animals and agriculture growing up in Huntingdon County, Pa. She began by showing Holstein dairy cattle in 4-H and FFA at her local fairs and moved on to regional, state-based, and national shows over time. Throughout high school, Adria also held various leadership roles, including the Juniata Valley Marching Band Commanding Officer and Regional 4-H Camp Counselor. Through the Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow program, Adria has attended several hands-on Exploration Experiences where she discovered she enjoyed working in a lab setting instead of directly on the farm. This ignited her interest in the genetics side of the dairy industry. Adria aims to become an IVF embryologist and push dairy breeds to the next level.
“I am extremely blessed to be receiving this scholarship. It truly is amazing to see and experience the support that Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow has for the upcoming generations. I will be eternally grateful for the financial assistance they have given me,” Adria said.
Isaac Dechos, Pennsylvania State University
Isaac Dechow is a freshman studying pharmacology and toxicology in the College of Agriculture at The Pennsylvania State University. Growing up in Centre County, Pa., Isaac spent time on his grandfather’s dairy farm where he trained cows and led them at the county fair. He also owns a herd of dairy goats that he milks and breeds. As FFA President and Senior Class President, Isaac gained experience forming leadership teams, public speaking, marketing, and selling chapter products for FFA.
The Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow Program helped Isaac better understand the daily decisions farmers make and how a cow’s body systems work. After college, he aims to work as a toxicologist in an animal-related field to ensure dairy or other farm-related products are safe to consume.
“I am honored to be recognized as a 2023 DLT scholarship recipient. I hope this scholarship will allow me to further my ag education and push the dairy industry to new heights,” said Isaac.
The Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow program is managed by the Dairy Excellence Foundation and impacts more than 25,000 high school students each school year. The program aims to prepare high school students to work in the dairy industry through classroom instruction, independent studies and virtual learning, on-farm experiences, and scholarship opportunities.
To qualify for the scholarship, students must be enrolled in a college or university beginning in the fall following their graduation from high school. This year’s recipients were selected based on their academic performance, evidence of leadership, character, and integrity, and their commitment to pursuing a future career in dairy.
To learn more about the Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow scholarship program, visit the website here. The 2024 scholarship application will be available on March 1, 2024.