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CAFNR Students Tapped for Honor Societies

CAFNR students took part in induction ceremonies for Mizzou honor societies April 28 as part of 2023 Tap Day. Inducted were:

  • Andres Mesa (center), doctoral student in rural sociology, Rollins Society
  • Trillion Rosborough (left), senior in animal sciences, and Kathryn Wenger (right), senior in biochemistry, Omicron Delta Kappa

Tap Day is a tradition dating back to 1917, where small groups of students are selected (or “tapped”) by their peers to join one of MU’s six secret honorary societies. The six societies – QEBH, Mystical Seven, LSV, Mortar Board, Omicron Delta Kappa and the Rollins Society – honor new members for service, leadership and commitment to the Mizzou community. The new initiates’ identities are kept secret until Tap Day, when they were publicly revealed. Each society also honor taps MU staff and faculty members who have contributed significantly to the university.

CAFNR Students Named Gilman Scholars

Allyson Sampson, senior in animal sciences; Dylan Stover, senior in agribusiness management and plant sciences; and Feather Teghtmeyer, senior in natural resource science and management; have received the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. The competitive national scholarship provides $3,000-$5,000 to study or intern abroad. Teghtmeyer is using the scholarship to study abroad in Austria this summer; Stover plans to travel to New Zealand over winter break. Sampson will study in Ireland at a later date.

Soil Judging Team Takes Fourth Place at National Competition

The MU Collegiate Soil Judging Team took fourth place in the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Judging Conference 2023 Soils Contest, held April 12-15, in Modesto, California. Two students from the Mizzou team also placed in the top ten: India Williams, freshman in environmental sciences, placed sixth; Kali Dolson, sophomore in environmental sciences, received seventh place.

The team was composed of the following students (front row, in the photo): Sophie Teddy, sophomore in environmental sciences; Paige Simpson, sophomore in environmental sciences; Bit Sochacki, sophomore in environmental sciences; Dolson; Rosie Garza, senior in environmental sciences; Williams; Alayna Kruse, junior in environmental sciences; Kerry Clark (coach); Alex Kalisz, junior in environmental sciences; (back row, left to right): Lauren Clasbey, senior in environmental sciences; Heidi Gaertner, freshman in environmental sciences; V Marshall, senior in environmental sciences; Randi Noel, junior in plant sciences; Joey Meinert, assistant coach and graduate student in natural resources; Isaac Reinwald, senior in environmental sciences; Pierce Taylor, junior in plant sciences; Jeremy Wease, senior in environmental sciences; Dylan Sutton, senior in environmental sciences; Chris Kalogeris, senior in environmental sciences; Madisyn Branch, senior in environmental sciences.

The team is coached by Kerry Clark, assistant research professor and director of CAFNR International Programs.

The students and coaches saw duripans in soil for the first time, as well as large scale alluvial fans, Clark said.

“We also got to see road cuts of metamorphic and igneous rock that none of us had seen before. This includes serpentinite, marble, slate, granite, and pyrite-laden quartzs,” she said. “The contest took place amongst pecan and walnut orchards and the students got a first-hand view of agriculture in the CA central valley.”

The team also visited the coastal redwoods and a grove of giant sequoias, and hiked on Table Mountain in the Sierra Nevada foothills, made up of latite, from a pleistocene lava flow and covered with a wildflower bloom.

“All report that they learned more in the one-week trip than in a semester of classwork,” said Clark. “That is a typical response of students who do soil judging.”

The team’s trip was sponsored by the School of Natural Resources and the CAFNR Academic Programs Office, as well as a few individual donations, including one from Perry Agricultural Labs in Bowling Green.

CAFNR Junior Named Goldwater Scholar

Kristen Barwick, junior in biochemistry, was one of four University of Missouri students selected as a Goldwater Scholar for 2023. Each year, universities nominate up to four students for this prestigious national scholarship — this year, all four nominees from Mizzou were named to the scholar program.

The Goldwater Scholarship is a competitive national scholarship program that recognizes outstanding undergraduate students in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences and engineering. It provides $7,500 for tuition, fees, books, and room and board, and is awarded based on academic merit, research experience and potential for future achievement. This year, 413 scholars were selected nationwide.

Barwick has been involved with research since her freshman year on campus. She focuses on working with bacteria to create a specific antibody to help locate proteins that can be used in further studies.

Sigma Alpha Received Outstanding Student Club Award as Part of 2023 Celebration of Excellence 

Sigma Alpha, Mizzou’s professional agricultural sorority, was named Outstanding Student Organization at 2023 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Tuesday, April 11. 

 With four founding pillars – scholarship, leadership, fellowship and service – Sigma Alpha is focused on furthering the development of women pursuing careers in agriculture. The organization highlights each of those pillars in different ways. 

 For scholarship, Sigma Alpha hosts study hours each semester, where older chapter members offer help to younger members. Those peer-to-peer conversations strengthen an important educational focus area. Leadership is a vital Sigma Alpha pillar and one that members are encouraged to pursue as well. A recent example is this past year’s Homecoming festivities for which the group planned and coordinated a variety of activities.  

 For fellowship, along with standard events to learn more about the agricultural industry, members participate in numerous social events where lasting friendships are created. Sigma Alpha members take great pride in the service pillar. They participate in community service and philanthropic activities throughout the year, such as volunteering at food pantries, collecting clothes for the Ronald McDonald House and creating cards for those in nursing homes. They also volunteer at CAFNR Week activities. 

 “Sigma Alpha is dedicated to their goal of cultivating professional women in agriculture,” said Hailey Schepers, senior agribusiness management major and president of the organization. “However, our chapter also realizes the importance of giving back to those who support us. It is because of this support that we are able to continue to strive for excellence each year and pass the torch onto the members who follow us.” 




Hailey Schepers Received Outstanding Senior Award as Part of 2023 Celebration of Excellence 

Hailey Schepers, an agribusiness management major, was named Outstanding Senior at CAFNR’s 2023 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Tuesday, April 11. 

 Schepers has had a variety of hands-on learning experiences throughout her time as a Tiger. She is the president of Sigma Alpha, where she leads more than 60 members and assists the executive officer team in completing a variety of duties. Schepers is the vice president of Collegiate Farm Bureau and also a member of the University of Missouri Honors College. She participated in a study abroad experience to Italy last spring.  

 Two internships offered Schepers real-world learning experiences. She worked with the United States House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., assisting staff with data collection and handling constituent concerns. Her second internship was with Corteva Agriscience and included crop scouting work, data collection on corn and soybean product trials, and several communication opportunities. Along with those experiences, Schepers has served as a research assistant with MU Extension since 2020.  

 After graduation, Schepers will begin a two-year trainee program with Dairy Farmers of America in their commercial rotational track program. 

 “Overall, Hailey Schepers is an outstanding representation of the leaders we look for in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources,” said Linda Sowers, an instructor of agricultural and applied economics. “She is an exceptional student and serves as a leader inside and outside the classroom. Her drive to learn and share her experiences and knowledge with others has had a positive impact on the College. I have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know and work with Hailey during her time at Mizzou.” 

Grant Norfleet Received Outstanding Junior Award as Part of 2023 Celebration of Excellence 

Grant Norfleet, an agricultural education major, was named Outstanding Junior at CAFNR’s 2023 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Tuesday, April 11. 

 Norfleet, who is also completing a minor in both agribusiness management and digital storytelling, has taken on numerous leadership roles in CAFNR. He is currently a CAFNR Ambassador, where he serves as president, and discusses all that the College has to offer to prospective students. As president, Norfleet also manages 40 student ambassadors through meetings, campus events and volunteer hours.  

 Norfleet is a member and past president of the Agriculture Education Society and part of the Mizzou Student Foundation.  

 Norfleet helps CAFNR students as a peer success coach, too. In that role, he helps plan several events, such as the Career Fair and industry campus takeovers. He conducts mock interviews with more than 70 CAFNR students each semester. Norfleet was a Litton Leadership Scholar and worked as a youth development intern with Boone County 4-H last year. That internship allowed him to design, market, implement and evaluate 4-H youth development programs.  

 “As a student leader, Grant has played a pivotal role in organizing and leading various events and initiatives for our College ambassador team,” said Alex Muñoz, CAFNR’s director of student recruitment. “He has shown remarkable skill in coordinating with various stakeholders, including students, faculty and administrators, to ensure the success of these trainings. His ability to communicate effectively, delegate tasks and motivate team members has been instrumental in achieving our goals. Under Grant’s leadership, our organization has grown our membership, and more importantly, our member involvement week-to-week.” 




Abby Loesing Received Outstanding Sophomore Award as Part of 2023 Celebration of Excellence 

Abby Loesing, an agricultural education major, was named Outstanding Sophomore at CAFNR’s 2023 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Tuesday, April 11. 

 Loesing is a CAFNR Ambassador and member of Sigma Alpha. She is also part of the Agriculture Education Society, where she serves as part of the executive team.  

 Loesing spent her first semester at Mizzou working for Tiger Garden, Mizzou’s student-run floral shop. She was an events associate where she planned, coordinated and assisted with delivery, set up and pick up of event pieces.  

 This year, Loesing is serving as a research assistant for Rebecca Mott, an assistant teaching professor in the Division of Applied Social Sciences. Loesing is working with the North Central Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Center, which is funded by the United States Department of Agriculture. She assists in analyzing data and is conducting a content analysis of resources created by the 12 states involved in the project. This summer, she will intern with the Missouri Corn Growers Association, an experience that was made possible by Loesing attending CAFNR’s Career Fair. 

 “I first met Abby when she came to learn more about the agricultural education program here at Mizzou last spring,” Mott said. “I was immediately impressed by her maturity, her communication skills and her academic record. I was thrilled when I learned that Abby would be attending MU in the fall. It has been a pleasure to watch her find her home at Mizzou. I look forward to watching Abby take advantage of other RISE experiences in the upcoming years. She is off to a fantastic start, and I know there will be more to come!” 



Morgan Watkins Received Outstanding Freshman Award as Part of 2023 Celebration of Excellence  

Morgan Watkins, an agricultural education major, was named Outstanding Freshman at CAFNR’s 2023 Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony, held Tuesday, April 11. 

 Watkins is an active member of Missouri 4-H and the National FFA Organization. She is currently serving as a 2022-23 Missouri state FFA vice president, where she educates high school students and is focused on building a bright future for the agricultural industry. The vice president role allows Watkins to network with industry leaders, and she has facilitated numerous events during the past year. 

 Since coming to the University of Missouri, Watkins has joined Sigma Alpha and is an at-large representative of the CAFNR Student Council. Watkins attends professional development events and assists with service projects through Sigma Alpha. Through CAFNR Student Council, she communicates with other students, focuses on creating a positive environment and serves as a voice for the CAFNR student body. 

 “As a student, Morgan works hard to make an impact on her classmates and community,” said John Tummons, associate teaching professor in the Division of Applied Social Sciences. “Morgan is self-assured, in a positive way, and she is very willing to speak up for what she thinks is right. She speaks up in a very inclusive and constructive way, but I appreciate how she stands firm on the right ways to lead and treat people. Morgan is comfortable taking leadership roles. She truly cares about others and their successes. Morgan has the unique ability to hold followers to extremely high levels of performance, but to do so in a caring way and in a way where followers want to be challenged and celebrate success.” 

Livestock Team Named Reserve Team Overall at Blue Dragon Classic

The Mizzou Livestock Judging Team was named Reserve Team Overall at the Blue Dragon Classic in Hutchison, Kansas, held in early April. The team placed third in Reasons, Cattle and Sheep & Goats, and fourth in Swine.

Team members who placed include: Allison Eitel, senior in agriculture, 11th Overall; Sam Wheeler, junior in agriculture, 12th Overall; and Addie Thessen, junior in plant sciences, 14th Overall.

The team is coached by Tawnie DeJong, instructor of animal sciences.

Team members pictured left to right are Brady Schnelten, junior in animal sciences; Shane Vehige, junior in animal sciences; Eitel; Jenna Blessing, senior in agriculture; Thessen; Grant Stafford, junior in agriculture; and Wheeler.