Kirsten Blackford and Kiersten Kasey, senior students in the University of Illinois Agricultural Education Program, have been named recipients of the National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE) Upper Division Scholarship.
Kirsten Blackford was a student in the Parkland Pathways Program before transferring to the University of Illinois. She is actively involved in several organizations on campus, including Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Soriority, Collegiate FFA, IAVAT Student Branch, and Collegiate Farm Bureau. She is currently serving as President of the Ag Ed Club and is a member of Alpha Tau Alpha.
Blackford is a former member of the Paxton-Buckley-Loda FFA chapter, and will be student teaching this fall with Mrs. Diana Loschen at Tri-Point High School in Cullom, Illinois.
Prior to attending the University of Illinois, Kasey was a highly successful community college student at Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois. Since transferring to the U of I, she has served as an officer
for the Collegiate FFA, Post-secondary Agriculture Student (PAS) organization, and the Ag Ed Club. She is also a member of the Sigma Alpha Professional Agriculture Soriority.
Kasey is a former FFA member of the Charleston FFA Chapter and past Illinois Association FFA State Officer. She will be student teaching this spring at Carlyle High School in Carlyle, Illinois. Her cooperating teachers will be Mrs. Tamara Gerstenecker and Mr. Jeff Jacobs.
The $750 scholarship is only awarded to 15 students nationwide who are pursuing careers as agriculture teachers. The scholarship is sponsored by Delmar Cengage Learning.