Fourteen students from rural Manitoba are among 70 heading into post-secondary agriculture or forestry studies this fall with scholarships worth $1,500 each from Monsanto Canada.
The Winnipeg-based Canadian arm of the U. S. seed and chemical company posted a record year for applications to its annual Opportunity Scholarship program, with “over 172” applying for postsecondary entrance scholarships in 2008.
Winners were picked by a panel of judges based on “academic performance, leadership capabilities and involvement in giving back to charities or other service groups in their local communities,” the company said Oct. 19.
Applicants also had to submit an application essay answering the question, “In what area of agriculture or forestry would you like to work and why?”
Monsanto’s new Opportunity Scholars from Manitoba are Autumn Darker of Beulah, Sarah Enns of Cartwright, Stephanie Foote of Killarney, David Gaston of Brunkild, Brooke Lowes of McAuley, Julie Mitchell of Roblin, Brett Ostberg of Dominion City, Mackenzie Ross of Minnedosa, Bonnie Schott of Warren, Heather Sparkes of Arborg, Jarrad Toews of Winkler, Joe Wallace of Pilot Mound, Kirby Wheelans of Tilston and Melissa Wiebe of Altona.
All from farm families, the 70 winners are high school graduates now enrolled in a first-year agriculture or forestry-related degree or diploma program at a recognized Canadian educational institution.
The remaining winners included 17 from Ontario, 16 from Saskatchewan, 11 from Alberta, five from Quebec, three from British Columbia, two from Prince Edward Island and one each from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
“It’s just great to see such a positive response to our program,” Monsanto Canada public affairs director Trish Jordan said in the company’s release. “I wish we could have helped every student who applied.”
This year’s judging panel included Bob Adamson, director of the Agriculture Biotechnology Enr ichment (ABE) program; John Morriss, editorial director of Farm Business Communications; Ellen Pruden, education and promotions co-ordinator with the Manitoba Canola Growers Association; and Johanne Ross, executive director for Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba.