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Students from the WIU School of Agriculture who competed at the Spring 2013 Illinois Postsecondary Agricultural Student (PAS) Conference in Springfield in February. Back row, L to R: Craig Shehorn, Elizabeth Bollin, Ben Shriver and Riley Hintzsche. Front row, L to R: Sarah Farmer and Jennifer Honnold. Photo courtesy of Michelle Howe.
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Ag Students Eligible to Compete at National PAS Conference in March

March 5, 2013

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MACOMB, IL – Students from the Western Illinois University School of Agriculture are eligible to compete at the upcoming National Postsecondary Agricultural Student (PAS) Organization Conference in Louisville (KY). After their individual-level Spring 2013 Illinois PAS Conference performances—each achieving first or second place—in Springfield last month, the students—Riley Hintzsche, senior (Lindenwood, IL); Craig Shehorn, junior (Coal Valley); Ben Shriver, junior (Ursa, IL); and Christy Miller, sophomore (Clinton, IL)—have the chance to compete at the National PAS Conference, slated for March 18-21, in the following categories:

  • Hintzsche: Ag Education. He received first place at the state-level contest, in which he had to create a lesson plan and "teach" it to the judges.
  • Shehorn: Ag Sales. He received first place and had to create a product and "sell" it to the judges.
  • Shriver: Career Progress—Ag Business, first place. (He also received third place award in the individual Soils Specialist category.)
  • Shriver and Miller: Soils Specialist. The two-person team won second place in the Soil Specialist category.

According to Michelle Howe, co-adviser for the Western's Collegiate FFA/PAS group and assistant director of Career Services at WIU, other students who attended and competed at the state-level competition in February include: Sarah Ziegler, junior (La Harpe, IL), and Sarah Farmer, junior (Monmouth, IL)—competed in the Soils Specialist category; Elizabeth Bollin, sophomore (Nauvoo, IL)—competed in the Prepared Speaking category; Shriver also competed in the Impromptu Speaking category; and Shehorn, Shriver, Miller, Bollin and Jennifer Honnold, senior (Oakland, IL), all competed as a team in the College Bowl contest.

Hintzsche, who recently completed one year of service as the Illinois PAS vice president, noted serving in that state-level office helped him become more independent and organized.

"The opportunity has allowed me immerse myself in the agriculture education industry. I have been able to network extensively, and I have made many friends. On a personal level, it has allowed me to grow and develop as a future educator. My confidence has increased, and it has helped me feel as if I can make a difference," he explained. "The PAS motto is 'Uniting Education and Industry in Agriculture,' and the main goal is taking what students already know in agriculture and applying that to industry-based experiences their involvement in PAS activities provide them with, so they can grow their knowledge about the industry. An example is how their participation in various agriculture-industry skills contests helps them develop and learn."

Hintzsche added he hopes to continue service to the PAS organization by winning election as a national-level officer later this month; he will run as a candidate for the National PAS Organization in Louisville.

Honnold, who helped plan the National PAS Conference/Convention to be held in Louisville, will also complete one year of service as a national-level officer at the March 18-21 event.

A total of eight members of Western's PAS chapter are eligible to compete at the 2013 National PAS Conference this month. In addition to the students who qualified at the Spring 2013 Illinois PAS Conference, five students who competed at the Fall 2012 Illinois PAS Conference are also eligible for national competition. Those students include: Daniel Mitchell, junior, Colchester, IL (who received first place in Ag Equipment Service); Stephanie Nelson, senior, Good Hope, IL (who received first place in Ag Communications); Aaron Prins, junior, Olney, IL (who received second place in Ag Sales, as well as first place in Team Crops Specialist, with Ziegler, and second place in Individual Crops Specialist); and Ziegler (who received first place in Team Crops Specialist, with Prins, and first place in Individual Crops Specialist. (see

For more information about the WIU PAS chapter, contact Howe at (309) 298-1838 or or School of Ag Professor Andrew Baker at (309) 298-1246 or For more information about the PAS Organization or about the conference, visit Learn more about the WIU School of Agriculture at

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