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Five students traveled to St. Cloud, MN, during Western's Spring Break this year to attend and compete in the National Postsecondary Agricultural Student (PAS) Organization Conference. From L to R: Grace Foster (junior, Joliet, IL) will serve as the National PAS secretary for 2014-15; Joe Keller (junior, Farmersville, IL), member of the team that won first in the soil specialist competition; Jennifer Honnold (senior, Oakland, IL) won first place in the agricultural education specialist contest and won second place in the employment interview-agriculture education competition; Ben Shriver (senior, Ursa, IL), member of the team that won first in the soil specialist competition; and Sarah Farmer (senior, Monmouth, IL), member of the team that won first in the soil specialist competition and won third place in the employment interview-fertilizer and ag chemicals contest.

Ag Students Win Top Awards at National PAS Conference

March 24, 2014


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MACOMB, IL – A team of three students in Western Illinois University's School of Agriculture took the top award in the soil specialist competition at the National Postsecondary Agricultural Student (PAS) Organization Conference during WIU's Spring Break (March 9-15). Sarah Farmer (senior, Monmouth, IL), Ben Shriver (senior, Ursa, IL) and Joe Keller (junior, Farmersville, IL) were on the first-placing team and were among five Western students who attended and competed at the national conference, which was held in St. Cloud, MN.

Farmer also placed third in the employment interview-fertilizer and ag chemicals contest. Jennifer Honnold (senior, Oakland, IL) won first place in the agricultural education specialist contest, as well as earned a second place award for her performance in the employment interview-agriculture education competition.

School of Agriculture Interim Director Andy Baker (who is also a co-adviser for WIU's WIU Collegiate FFA /PAS chapter) noted Honnold's first place award in the agricultural education career program area marks the third year in a row a student from Western has topped the competition in this particular contest.

"This contest requires the student to organize and prepare a lesson plan and then present the lesson, as if he or she is teaching a lesson to a class of students, to a panel of judges," Baker explained.

In addition, for the third consecutive year, a Western student will serve as a national PAS officer. Grace Foster (junior, Joliet, IL) will serve as the PAS secretary for 2014-15. Honnold served as the 2012-13 vice president, and Riley Hintzsche (Lindenwood, IL) served as the 2013-14 vice president.

Baker said the students were able to attend the conference in St. Cloud this month through financial support from WIU's School of Agriculture, GROWMARK (Bloomington, IL), Jim (a seed sales associate for Pioneer in Monmouth area) and Martha Missavage, Monsanto and Keister's Tire Center in Monmouth.

"The results of the students' performances in the 2014 National PAS Conference demonstrates the type of students we are blessed with in the School of Agriculture. They are dedicated, knowledgeable, competitive and selfless leaders," Baker noted. "We are also very honored to have Grace serve the entire PAS Organization on a national level. Having Western represented, for the third in year a row, at this national level is a major accomplishment for a chapter that has only been active for four years," he added.

For more information about the WIU PAS chapter, contact Baker at (309) 298-1246 or AJ-Baker@wiu.edu.

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations