Fifteen State Fair Community College agriculture students attended the National Professional Agriculture Students (PAS) conference March 13-16 in Louisville, Kentucky, along with three faculty and staff.
They competed in career planning and progress, employment interview, public speaking, college bowl, and career program contests, and attended workshops, social events and industry presentations. In addition, students toured local businesses such as Chaney Dairy Farm (uses robots for milking), Churchill Downs, Evan Williams Distillery, Louisville Slugger, the National Corvette Museum, and networked with agriculture students and instructors from Oregon to New York.
While SFCC students overall performed very well, the following students placed in these national contests:
- Career Planning—Libby James of Ashland, first place, Environmental and Natural Resources; Amber Carmichael of Boonville, first place, Ruminant Animal Systems
- Employment Interview—Jillian Herigon of Boonville, second place, Agribusiness Administration
- Prepared Public Speaking—Carmichael, second place
“We took an exemplary group of students to the PAS conference this year,” said Brad Driskill, Agriculture program coordinator and instructor. “Several students just missed finishing in the top three, but regardless of placement, this was a learning opportunity far beyond what we can provide our students in the classroom.
“I was pleased and proud to see two of our former graduates in attendance serving as National PAS officers, Ashley Rupe and Hannah Parker. They have done an outstanding job this past year as officers. Ashley is attending Northwest Missouri State University, and Hannah is attending the University of Missouri.”
Jennifer Wilbanks, SFCC’s Academic Records and Registrar, attended the conference as a volunteer coordinator in the scoring room where registration and competition scoring was managed. Wilbanks was responsible for accurately compiling over 2,000 scores from exams and judges for 600 students from more than 40 colleges and universities.
“The conference advisors were very appreciative of Jennifer’s time and talent in the scoring room and found her suggestions for improving the scoring process helpful,” said Driskill. “One advisor told me, ‘she has a permanent job if she wants it.’”
Also at the conference, student delegates representing each state in attendance voted to change the name of the organization to Professional Agriculture Students Organization instead of Postsecondary Agriculture Students Organization effective March 2018.
PAS is associated with agriculture/agribusiness and natural resource programs in approved postsecondary institutions that offer baccalaureate and associate degrees, diplomas and certificates. PAS is one of the 11 career and technical student organizations that has been approved by the U. S. Department of Education as an integral part of career and technical education. It is available to students in approximately 550 institutions in all 50 states.