40 College Students Selected for Agriculture Future of America Ambassador Program Funded by CHS Foundation

March 30, 2023

KANSAS CITY, MO. (March 30, 2023) — Agriculture Future of America (AFA) recently selected 40 college students from 29 states to serve as organizational Ambassadors, representing AFA on their respective campuses and throughout their networks to promote AFA opportunities, organize campus meetings and interact with industry professionals at various events on behalf of AFA.

AFA Ambassadors serve a year-long term, working to heighten awareness of AFA programs among their peers and establish creative strategies to increase student involvement from students on their campuses. These opportunities include AFA Leaders Conference, AFA Leader Institutes and AFA Leader and Academic Scholarships. Ambassadors are also integral in demonstrating AFA’s impact to corporate partners to support the continuation and acquisition of partnerships.

“Ambassadors are vital in driving awareness of AFA’s premier leader and career development experiences among highly motivated young professionals studying food, agriculture and natural resources,” says Kelly Boswell, AFA Senior Marketing Manager. “Mobilizing students as advocates for AFA ensures we are continuously reaching new students and diversifying student participation to be representative of nation-wide enrollment in agriculture programs.”

AFA’s Ambassador program has been made possible through partnership with the CHS Foundation. The CHS Foundation began funding the Ambassador program in 2011 and became the sole funder of the program in 2019, contributing nearly $1 million to date. The Foundation’s support has allowed the program to grow from 5 Ambassadors to 40 Ambassadors spread across the nation.

“CHS Foundation began investing the Ambassador program as a way to develop the next generation of agriculture leaders for lifelong success,” says Megan Wolle, CHS Senior Director of Stewardship. “The Foundation’s support of AFA student leaders is helping build a strong talent pipeline for the agriculture industry.”

In the last year, 68% of AFA Leaders Conference applications and 80% of AFA Leaders Institute applications were generated from campuses where Ambassadors are present, proving the program’s success. In return for their efforts, Ambassadors receive a $2,000 scholarship alongside professional training in goal setting, time management and respect and inclusivity.

“The AFA Ambassador program was an experience that solidified my identity in the industry and allowed me to network with students and industry professionals across the country,” says Mattie Thrasher, former AFA Ambassador and student at Louisiana State University. “The Ambassador program offers training and education, as well as skills that apply to the work of an Ambassador and to life. While this program strengthened me professionally, academically and personally, one of the most sentimental pieces of my Ambassador journey was becoming part of the AFA family.”

Upon completion of the program, Ambassadors walk away with tangible experience in sales and marketing, as well as skills transferrable to careers in the industry including resiliency, problem solving, interpersonal communication, audience awareness and storytelling.

2023-24 AFA Ambassadors

Kaleb Jackson, Alabama A&M University

Alex Escobar, California State University, Fresno

Jordan Gilles, Cornell University

RJ Brooks, Fort Valley State University

Lilly Pryor, Huntington University

Ellie Paulsrud, Illinois State University

Abbie Krause, Iowa State University

Natalyn Killoren, Kansas State University

Megan Matherne, Louisiana State University

Savannah Scott, Middle Tennessee State University

Anslee Boyd, Mississippi State University

Kaitlyn Held, Murray State University

Sarai Sarinana, New Mexico State University

Jashala Hoke, North Carolina A&T University

Peyton Gardner, North Carolina State University

McKayla Carlson-Hughs, North Dakota State University

Trenton Jones, Northwest Missouri State University

Rachel Barrett, Ohio State University

Macie McPeak, Oklahoma State University

Adie Rang, Oregon State University

Abby Kaelin, Pennsylvania State University

Trinity Bluford, Prairie View A&M University

Eion Stephens, Purdue University

Kristen Smith, South Dakota State University

Shelby Basham, Southern Illinois University – Carbondale

Jaraden Kearby, Texas Tech University

Charlye Colley, Tuskegee University

Bailey Herberger, University of Arkansas

Lana Guzman, University of Florida

Whitney Foster, University of Idaho

Harrison Albright, University of Kentucky

Grace Tisone, University of Maryland, College Park

Rylee Schofield, University of Mount Olive

Callie Robinson, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Sarah Tyler, University of Tennessee at Martin

Katie Zimmer, University of Wisconsin – River Falls

Abigail Johnson, University of Wyoming

Della Paloy, Washington State University

Helene Keiser, West Texas A&M University

Elizabeth Lee, Western Illinois University

About Agriculture Future of America

AFA builds bridges for young leaders to foster engagement and innovation in food and agriculture through premier leader and career development experiences. With program participation increasing 28% in the last five years, AFA has provided 26,000 leader development experiences to college leaders and young professionals from more than 200 colleges and universities throughout 43 states since its inception in 1996. AFA has awarded more than $11 million in academic and leader development scholarships. For more information about AFA, visit agfuture.org.

Media Contact:

Becca Frazier

AFA Marketing Manager