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WIU students who competed in the Illinois State Post-Secondary Agriculture Student Organization (PAS) conference Feb. 10 in Bloomington include, from left, Logan Runyen, Brandon Livingiston, Martin Nall, Morgan Lemley, Cori Sargent, Mariana Roberts and Kylee Johnston.
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WIU Agriculture Students Win Four State Awards, Qualify for Nationals

February 17, 2017

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MACOMB, IL – Seven Western Illinois University School of Agriculture students attended the Illinois State Post-Secondary Agriculture Student Organization (PAS) conference Feb. 10 in Bloomington, with four bringing home state awards.

The students now qualify for the national competition in St. Charles, MO, in March.

WIU students winning awards included:

• First place in Ag Ed CPA – Martin Nall, a senior agriculture major from Camp Point, IL

Nall said he had 10-15 minutes to present a lesson on a subject of his choice to a panel of three judges.

"We were scored on our lesson presentation and on the lesson plan itself," said Nall. "It is a great privilege to get to represent Illinois and WIU at the national level. WIU truly has an exceptional ag ed program that I feel has prepared me for experiences like this, but also for the classroom. I look forward to showcasing what I have learned at WIU.

• Fourth place in Ag Ed CPA – Mariana Roberts, a senior agriculture major from Liberty, IL

For her presentation, Roberts delivered an original lesson plan about soil formation.

"I spent several days working on a lesson plan that would engage students in learning about how soil is formed and why it is important to the human population," said Roberts. "It was a great opportunity to go to the conference and learn about what areas of teaching I am good at and also what I can do to make my lessons more effective in the classroom."

• First place in Career Progress in Horticulture, Environmental and Natural Resources – Kylee Johnston, a junior agriculture major from Carthage, IL

This will be Johnston's second trip to the national competition. Last year, she competed in Career Planning with John Wood Community College and finished in third place. Her competition is designed to prepare her for future job interviews.

"I hope this year to finish with a first place in Career Progress at nationals," said Johnston. "I will be working on trying to improve the application and work on my interview skills. Also, this time in the competition, I will have to write an inpromptu essay."

• Second place in Career Planning in Horticulture, Environmental and Natural Resources – Brandon Livingston, a freshman agriculture major from Marietta, IL.

Livingston interviewed four people in the field of horticulture and compiled information about their jobs and any tips they have for him in preparation for a future career.

"I was asked about my career short- and long-term goals, my education short- and long-term goals and the career path I thought myself most likely to follow should I choose horticulture," said Livingston. "We discussed my strengths, weaknesses and the things I should improve on in the future. Qualifying for the national competition is an incredible honor, especially for my age. Knowing I have much to improve on, and work toward gives me a goal to focus my efforts on here at WIU."

According to School of Ag Director Andy Baker, WIU has had the national winner in the Ag Ed CPA category in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Other WIU agriculture students participating in the competition include Logan Runyen, a senior from Maroa, IL; Morgan Lemley, a sophomore from Monmouth, IL; and Cori Sargent, a senior from Cameron, IL.

"We have a long standing tradition of doing very well in this area," he said.

For more information about the WIU School of Ag, visit

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