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High school students complete first KSU Animal Sciences Leadership Academy


Twenty-five students from 22 Kansas counties gathered on the Kansas State University campus to take part in the first K-State Animal Sciences Leadership Academy June 10 to 13.

The academy gave high school students the chance to evaluate real life livestock situations, gain familiarity with college life, and tour many facilities within the animal sciences industry.

Academy participants and their home towns included: Dustin Aherin, Phillipsburg; Jancy Alberding, Winfield; Brice Bailey, Winfield; Alissa Berger, Wichita; Billie Chesney, Woodston; Rachelle Coe, Soldier; Calvin Dix, Woodston; Lauren Gassman, Grainfield; Taylor Green, Sedan; John Holmquist, Smolan; William Holthaus, Baileyville; Cody Jensen, Courtland; Annette Jones, Cottonwood Falls; Garrett Kays, Weir; MaKayla LaRue, Chanute; Olivia Moore, Kansas City; Tanner Paxson, Medicine Lodge; Calli Ridder, Leoti; Austin Schmitz, Axtell; Jared Stieben, Bazine; Tyler Tebow, Courtland; Kaitlin Vaughn, Wellington; Ely Walker, Altoona; Destiny Wendland, St. John; and Kirk Woodruff, Ashland.

During their time at the K-State Animal Sciences Leadership Academy, students were given tours of the K-State farms, went on a College of Agriculture Scavenger Hunt, and engaged in three interactive leadership development sessions led by faculty members from across campus. Participants also lived in the dormitories and ate in the K-State dining halls, adding to their college experience.

The Academy also included two days of livestock industry tours across Kansas with stops including: Gnadt's Sheep Farm, Alma; Mill Brae Ranch, Maple Hill; Kansas Livestock Association, Topeka; Sundstrom Dairy, Ottawa; Peeper Ranch, Lenexa; Cargill Meat Solutions, Wichita; and Tiffany Feedlot, Herington.

Additionally, the students were divided into groups during the week to focus on current issues affecting the livestock industry. Students received classroom instruction on leadership, communication and animal science issues. Faculty mentors from the K-State Department of Animal Sciences and Industry assisted each group.

Using the information they learned, each group was asked to present their subject as part of the reception on the last day. During those presentations, the graduates explored topics such as "Animal Rights vs. Animal Welfare" and "Negative Media Surrounding Animal Agriculture." More than 100 family, friends, and members of the K-State community attended the closing reception to honor the graduates and hear their thoughts on these important issues.

The event was sponsored by the Livestock and Meat Industry Council and coordinated by the K-State Youth Livestock Program located in the Department of Animal Sciences and Industry. Information about future programs is available online at www.YouthLivestock.ksu.edu or by contacting Sharon Breiner, K-State Youth Livestock Program Coordinator at sbreiner@ksu.edu or 785-532-1264.

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