GREENSBORO, N.C.– Syngenta has announced the national winners of the third annual Syngenta Agricultural Scholarship essay contest: master’s winner Sharon Perrone of the University of Minnesota and bachelor’s winner Abigail Arthaud of Oklahoma State University.
Oklahoma State University bachelor's level student Abigail Arthaud (left) and University of Minnesota master’s level student Sharon Perrone (right) after being presented with Syngenta Agricultural Scholarship national winner plaques.
Perrone and Arthaud were selected from approximately 200 eligible applicants who crafted essays about someone in their lives who inspired them to be rooted in agriculture and how this person’s influence motivated them to pursue a degree in the industry. Each applicant discussed how they will pay it forward and encourage others to be rooted in agriculture as well.
“The advancement of agriculture is contingent on its future leaders,” said Mary Streett DeMers, senior communications lead, Syngenta. “We are happy to have found two students who have been inspired to pursue careers in the industry, and to honor them and those who sparked their passion.”
Perrone and Arthaud received $1,000 in regional awards and $6,000 in national awards to assist them in meeting financial obligations and ultimately realizing their educational and career goals.
“Sharon and Abigail are motivated and deserving, and it is a pleasure to present the two of them with the Syngenta Agricultural Scholarship,” said DeMers. “We’re looking forward to seeing where their promising careers take them as well as how they will pay it forward within our industry.”
In her essay, Perrone describes her first time working on a farm, the development of her relationship with her teacher, who also served as a mentor, and how it inspired her to pay it forward. “Participating in this contest enabled me to powerfully reflect on the central role of the selfless people that supported and guided me along my path of self-discovery in agriculture,” said Perrone. “It forced me to consider my role as a mentor and future educator, and I look forward to further exploring what it means to teach and support others in becoming agents of positive change in the food system.”
Raised on a farm, Arthaud said she is continually amazed by the level of patience that her father possesses. Her essay focused on how his character shaped her perspective of agriculture and influenced her desire to tell the stories of farmers around the world. “It is both humbling and an honor to be chosen as the national scholarship award recipient,” said Arthaud. “Receiving this award encourages me to continue to pursue a career in ag communications and become an advocate for agriculture.”
Six additional students were each awarded a $1,000 regional scholarship prize. Recipients included Gilma Castillo (University of Florida), Leah Schwinn (The Ohio State University), Clara Ervin (Virginia Polytechnical Institute and State University), Jonathan Stephens (Pennsylvania State University), Eduardo Garcia (California Polytechnic State University) and Elizabeth Warren (Washington State University).
For additional information about the winners and the scholarship, click here.