University News

WIU Student Selected for Prestigious National Ag Ed Scholarship

December 2, 2008

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MACOMB, IL -- Western Illinois University agricultural education major Cynthia Schriner has already spent a significant amount of time teaching in the classroom. She noted that experience, provided by WIU's ag education curriculum, was likely a factor in her recent selection as a National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) upper-division scholarship recipient.

One of only 15 upper-division college students in the nation to receive the $750 award, the soon-to-be 22-year-old hopes to continue her classroom experience via teaching agriculture in high school after she graduates in May.

"Being recognized by teachers around the country is a big honor," Schriner said. "I believe part of the reason I was selected to receive the scholarship was due to all of my teaching experience, which I have gained by going to WIU. The agricultural education curriculum at Western focuses heavily on the importance of the classroom experience, and I believe that experience, as well my involvement in National FFA Organization throughout my education, were strong factors in my selection for the scholarship."

Schriner grew up on a swine and grain farm in Archbold, OH, and she attended Lake Land College in Mattoon (IL) for two years before transferring to Western in 2007.

"While attending school there, I became interested in teaching agriculture," she explained. "I decided I needed to go to WIU because it has the best agriculture education program in the state and is competitive throughout the country. After I talked with Dr. Andy Baker and took a couple of tours, I knew Western was the right place for me."

Schriner's FFA background -- she showed pigs for nine years, and in high school she served as her FFA chapter president and received awards in swine proficiency placement -- as she noted, is another reason why feels she was among the 15 chosen nationwide for the scholarship.

Baker also attributed Schriner's selection to receive the award to her excellent academic performance. He noted in the 10 years he has been in Western's ag department, Schriner is the first WIU student to receive the NAAE's upper-division scholarship.

"While the scholarship may not be worth a lot in financial terms, it is worth a great deal in regard to the recognition by the profession Cynthia will be entering in the near future. I am proud of her, as she had to complete an essay, obtain reference letters and fill out a rigorous application to even apply for the scholarship. This is a prestigious award and she deserves it," he said.

For more information about the NAAE and the other scholarship recipients, visit For more information about Schriner and/or WIU's ag department, contact Baker at (309) 298-1246 or Visit Western's department of agriculture online at

Posted By: Teresa Koltzenburg (
Office of University Communications & Marketing