U of M, Crookston Collegiate FFA Chapter Earns Leadership Award at National Alpha Tau Alpha (ATA) Conclave held recently in Indianapolis, Ind.

The University of Minnesota Crookston Collegiate FFA earned the platinum level A.W. Nolan Memorial Leadership Award at the National ATA Conclave held recently in Indianapolis, Ind.  The award was presented to sixteen U of M, Crookston Collegiate FFA members on Friday, October 26, 2012. 

Four colleges earned the platinum award, the highest level attainable, and it is the first time 
for the U of M, Crookston to garner the honor.  The Crookston students participated in all contest areas including parliamentary procedure, debate, quiz bowl, program of excellence and the essay competition.  

In addition, Addie O'Neil, a senior majoring in agricultural education from Redwood Falls, Minn., wrote two journal articles in the Horse Digest entitled "Ground Tying" and "Opening and Closing the Gate" for renowned horse trainer Dennis Auslam. 

Jennifer Spahn, a freshman majoring in early childhood education from St. Paul, Minn., won second place in the essay contest with her essay entitled "The American role in providing agricultural extension support in developing countries". Her placing in the contest marks the highest level ever attained by a U of M, Crookston student. 

The parliamentary procedure team consisted of two seniors, a junior and two sophomores: Whitney Lian, a senior majoring in agricultural education; Whitney Jacobson, a junior double majoring in animal science and agricultural education, both from Thief River Falls, Minn.; along with Thomas Chute, a senior majoring in agricultural education from Aitkin, Minn.; Justin Goodroad, a sophomore double majoring in animal science and agricultural education from Lindstrom, Minn.; and Katie Myhre, a sophomore majoring in animal science from Whapeton, N.D. Lian served as team's president and Myhre as its secretary.

Chute and O'Neil were joined by Maria Funk, a senior majoring in agricultural education from Sebeka, Minn., and Amy Lee, a sophomore majoring in agricultural education from Mercer, N.D., to make up the quiz bowl team.  

Emil Waskow, a sophomore double majoring in animal science and ag systems management from Hugo, Minn., and Emily Campbell, a freshman majoring in animal science from Aitkin, Minn., competed in the debate contest.   Contestants debated the statement "Should agricultural education teacher preparation programs continue the traditional teacher preparation curriculum as opposed to adopting more forms of alternative certification?"

The program of excellence presentation was given by Betsy Johannsen, a freshman from Hartland, Minn., and Sam Haugen, a sophomore majoring in agronomy from Fertile, Minn.  They discussed the highlights of the 2011-2012 year for the U of M, Crookston Collegiate FFA chapter.  Areas of professional development, fundraising, community service, and fellowship were the focal points. 

The U of M, Crookston is home to the only Collegiate FFA chapter in the state of Minnesota and Professor Lyle Westrom serves as the group's advisor.  The Collegiate FFA is part of the National FFA Organization which also held its 2012 National Convention concurrently with the ATA Conclave in Indianapolis, Indiana.  A new record of over 56,000 FFA members attended the National FFA Convention.  The convention returns to Louisville, Kentucky in 2013.

The A.W. Nolan Memorial Leadership award, named in the memory of Aretas W. Nolan, former professor and head of agricultural education at the University of Illinois, recognizes agricultural education organizations for their pursuit of leadership, ensures professionalism, and improves communication between collegiate agricultural organizations. Nolan and his students conceptualized and started Alpha Tau Alpha (ATA), the National Professional Honorary Agricultural Education Fraternity, in 1921. 

Today the University of Minnesota, Crookston delivers 26 bachelor's degree programs, 18 minors, and 39 concentrations on campus--as well as 10 degrees online--in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology.  With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from 25 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree.  "Small Campus. Big Degree."  To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.

In the photo: 
CFFA Members in attendance at ATA Conclave and National FFA Convention (left to rght): Maria Funk, Lyle Westrom (Advisor), Amy Lee, Sam Haugen, Jenna Cardinal, Emily Campbell, Justin Goodroad, Jennifer Spahn, Betsy Johannsen, Thomas Chute, Addie O'Neil, Whitney Jacobson, Katie Myhre, Whitney Lian, Emil Waskow

Contact: Lyle Westrom, professor, Agriculture and Natural Resources Dept., 218-2818110 (lwestrom@umn.edu); Elizabeth Tollefson, assistant director, communications, 218-281-8432 (ltollefs@umn.edu)