Farm Journal is committed to investing in building student leaders who will soon be the face of the agricultural industry. The Sonja Hillgren Memorial Scholarship provides three university students who have a passion for food and agriculture with $1,500 each, professional development opportunities and mentoring from Farm Journal editorial staff, as well as the potential for their work to be published online and in Farm Journal brand publications.
The experiential scholarship program honors the late Sonja Hillgren, award-winning journalist, former editor of Farm Journal and former president of the National Press Club. Recipients will gain valuable workplace experience as they showcase agriculture and interact with rural communities.
The first three winners of the Sonja Hillgren Memorial Scholarship are:
Madeline McGarry, from Ames, Iowa, is a senior at Iowa State University. She has considerable experience in the pork industry and in agricultural policy, thanks to internships in Washington, D.C., and abroad. After graduation, she plans to build her career around telling agriculture’s stories.
Grace Vehige is a senior at the University of Arkansas. She wants to connect consumers to farmers and help farmers navigate generational transitions. Vehige was raised in Billings, Mo., where she manages her family’s social media outreach for their cattle operation.
Macey Hurst, a senior at Missouri State University, was raised in Wardsville, Mo., where she manages social media for her family’s cattle operation. In addition to helping grow her family farm, Hurst hopes to pursue a career in agricultural broadcasting.
“These students embody the energy, enthusiasm and love for agriculture that Sonja Hillgren brought to her role as editor of Farm Journal,” said Charlene Finck, President of Producer Media for Farm Journal. “Creating opportunities for young people to build their skills in communicating with ag audiences and telling industry stories is what Sonja stood for, loved and dedicated her life’s work to. Farm Journal is honored to carry on that work by giving these students an opportunity to serve the industry in her name.”
Scholarship winners will work as members of the #FJSocialSquad where they will develop a wide variety of content for Farm Journal’s social media channels and receive training from Farm Journal editors. Their work will be eligible for publication online and in Farm Journal’s print publications. Staff members will teach students valuable career skills transferable to future endeavors.