Delmarva Chicken Association has granted scholarships totaling $19,000 to nine students pursuing college and graduate studies connected to careers in Delmarva’s chicken industry through the DCA College Scholarship Program. Eight of the recipients are enrolled in undergraduate programs and received $2,000 scholarships. A graduate student was also awarded a $3,000 scholarship. “By supporting these students, DCA is investing in the next generation of leadership for our 100-years-strong chicken community,” said Holly Porter, DCA’s executive director. “We’re glad these young people are interested in putting their education and skills to good use in the chicken community. They’ll join an essential, motivated workforce that feeds America and the world every day.” Since 1985, DCA has awarded $197,000 to students pursuing chicken careers through its College Scholarship Program. The scholarships are funded by DCA’s College Scholarship Golf Tournament, taking place this year on Sept. 25 at GlenRiddle Golf Club in Berlin, Md. The students receiving scholarships are:
- Jadon Cook of Cordova, Md., a Chesapeake College student attending University of Mount Olive this fall. Cook grew up on family farm that raises chickens, assisting with the farm’s conservation buffer program and with the family landscaping business. With an interest in botany and experimentation with fertilizers he intends to major in plant science. “With his commitment and never-ending curiosity of the outside world, I am confident Jadon will go far in the agricultural field,” Jadon’s horticulture instructor wrote in a recommendation letter.
- Macy Cook of Cordova, Md., a Chesapeake College student attending University of Mount Olive this fall. With a career goal to become a financial advisor for Delmarva's poultry farmers, she intends to major in business administration. Cook grew up on a family poultry farm and desires “to see this industry continue to grow and thrive.” In a letter of recommendation, Macy’s homeschool instructor and pastor wrote: “She has an entrepreneurial spirit running her family's asparagus operation, teaching piano lessons, and is always willing to start new projects.”
- Yasmin Cruz of Bridgeville, Del., a Woodbridge high school student attending the University of Delaware this fall. Cruz is pursuing a degree in food and agribusiness marketing and plans to “work hard and be able to make processing broilers even more efficient through time, effort, and cost while still producing quality birds.” As a high schooler, she participated in the Woodbridge agriscience program and FFA. In a recommendation letter, Cruz's agriscience teacher and FFA advisor praised her “understanding of the benefits of hard work and the importance of the agriculture industry.”
- Dakota Gunter of Greensboro, Md., a rising junior at Salisbury University who is majoring in accounting. Gunter has volunteered with the Queen Anne’s County Parks Department to plant trees to assist with Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts and plays lacrosse for Salisbury University. His goal is to work with Delmarva farmers to assist with accounting needs. “Farmers are usually in the business because they love farming and not the accounting aspect of the job,” he notes. Gunter is a “conscientious, attentive, and bright student with strong analytical skills,” a professor at Salisbury wrote in his recommendation letter.
- Brayden Hearn of Laurel, Del., a Laurel High School student attending Delaware Valley University this fall. Hearn grew up on a farm raising livestock and produce. “Growing up as a ‘farm kid’ in our community and organizations such as 4H & FFA have taught me many valuable life skills that I will use as a foundation to achieve my career goals in agriculture,” he wrote in his application. He intends to pursue a degree in agribusiness with a focus on supply chain management. “Brayden's performance in the National Agriscience Fair led him to a first-place finish in Delaware and a Gold placing nationally, being recognized for placing within the Top 4 projects in the nation,” his agriscience teacher wrote in a letter of recommendation.
- Meghan Malloy of Dover, Del., a Caesar Rodney High School student attending University of Delaware in the fall. She intends to pursue a degree in pre-veterinary medicine and told DCA her dream is to “ensure the health of meat birds.” Meghan has participated in FFA in leadership positions and plans to work at the UDairy farm. She has volunteered time to numerous organizations such as Pedal for Prostate, Adopt a Family, Little Rider Clinic and the American Heart Association. “Meghan is a natural- born leader. She is one that leads by example, not word,” her animal science teacher and FFA advisor wrote in a letter of recommendation.
- Ethan Patey of Delmar, Del., a graduate of Salisbury Christian School who’s currently attending Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus pursuing a degree in agribusiness management. Patey intends to transfer to a four-year institution and notes interest in “many aspects of the chicken industry, from live production to finance and sales.” Ethan’s poultry production professor told us: “he has a passion for the subject matter, completes every assignment, participates during class and in the lab, and attended every corporate field trip.”
- Aryavir Sangwan of Salisbury, Md., a Stephen Decatur High School student attending University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in the fall. Sangwan is a junior assistant trainer at TidalHealth and intends to pursue a degree in chemistry to develop skills in food science. In a letter of recommendation his chemistry and biomedical science teacher told us: “What I truly admire about Aryavir is how he stays with a problem until he figures it out or asks the right question.”
- Anuradha Jeewantha Punchihewage Don of Princess Anne, Md., a Ph.D. student in food and agricultural sciences at University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Punchihewage Don previously earned his master’s degree in food science and agricultural sciences from University of Maryland Eastern Shore. His current research is investigating antimicrobial resistance on and whole genome sequencing of Salmonella in organic and non- organic chicken in the Delmarva area. He has published works in the Journal of Food Protection, Heliyon, Pathogens, and Sri Lanka Journal of Animal Production. He writes that his “main ambition is to be a researcher in the poultry industry.”