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WIU School of Ag students Nichole Miller and Keely Egelhoff each recently won first place in a statewide poster competition.
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Two WIU Ag Students Place First in State Conference Poster Competition

April 18, 2017

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MACOMB, IL - Two Western Illinois University School of Agriculture students took first place in the poster competition of the Illinois State Academy of Science conference in Chicago.

Keely Egelhoff, a senior agriculture major from Medora, IL, and Nichole Miller, a junior agriculture major from Carlinville, IL, each won first place in the agriculture division of the Student Presentation Awards.

Egelhoff competed in the agriculture business division with research on marketing strategies for the impending 2000R compact John Deere tractors. Her poster was titled "Can Innovative Marketing Strategies Impact Projected Market Share Sales of Impending 2000R John Deere Series Compact Tractors in 2017?"

"I worked with [Assistant Professor of Agriculture] Jason Franken and [Assistant Professor of Agriculture] Dan Atherton during my research and used my local John Deere dealership to acquire data and results," said Egelhoff. "I completed research last semester and continued to gather information and data throughout this semester."

Egelhoff said Atherton asked her in early February to create a presentation for the conference, which she said was good practice for the upcoming Undergraduate Research Day at WIU, planned for Wednesday, April 19.

"At the conference, we presented to three judges and spoke to other students about our projects," said Egelhoff. "On the second day we were able to listen to fellow WIU students talk about computer science, physics and STEM. It was an honor to represent WIU on such a large scale and to receive high ratings from the judges. It would not have been possible without the support from the WIU School of Agriculture and my advisers."

Egelhoff said she looks forward to presenting at the conference again next year, as well as encouraging other agriculture students to compete.

Miller's project studies the effects of a corn kernel's planting orientation in soil and its proximity to moisture on its germination and emergence rates.

"Yield is an important variable on a farm that will affect a farmer's profitability," said Miller. "Early results from current studies have shown that uniform germination and emergence can increase yield at harvest time. My project was studying a few factors that could influence germination and emergence. I found that when a kernel is oriented with its embryo facing toward the soil surface, it will emerge faster than when it is pointed in any other direction. I also found that the kernel needs to be exposed to moisture around its embryo and tip area to promote better germination."

Miller said this was her first attempt at college research.

In addition to the students capturing first place, Atherton served as a judge in some of the conference's competition categories.

For more information about the WIU School of Agriculture, visit

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Office of University Communications & Marketing