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by Joann Pipkin

FCS Financial’s board of directors implemented a program in 2003 to encourage and support higher education for children or grandchildren of FCS Financial customers.  Since its inception, more than half a million dollars in scholarships have been awarded to nearly 500 qualified applicants.

Now entering year 16, FCS Financial’s scholarship program annually distributes up to 35 scholarships of $1,500 each. Funds were first distributed in 2004.

FCS Financial is committed to supporting the agricultural youth of Missouri. As a cooperative, this scholarship is one of the ways FCS Financial gives back to its members and supports communities. Applications are available on the FCS Financial website at and due March 1, 2019.

Each year, we like to look back to see what recipients from five years ago are up to now. Here’s an inside look at the 2013 recipients. 

Jonathan Bellis - Aurora

A December 2016 graduate of Missouri State University (MSU) with a degree in environmental plant science, Jonathan was active in Collegiate Farm Bureau, Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and MSU’s Agronomy Club.

Jonathan Bellis

During his undergraduate studies, he traveled to Taiwan as an agricultural ambassador. Additionally, he studied abroad in China working in viniculture and propagation of virus-free grapes.

Jonathan also worked in Haiti teaching local farmers sustainable agricultural practices. He was an intern with Monsanto where he worked in the final testing stages for new varieties of corn and soybeans. Other internships were in Jefferson City at the Capitol with Senator David Sater and in Washington, D.C., with Senator Roy Blunt.

Currently, Jonathan is a project engineer with The Durham Company, working with GEC Durham Industries designing current and voltage transformers for metering applications. He spends most of his time in Lebanon, Mo., at the company headquarters in their engineering department although a portion of his time is also dedicated to its production facility in New Bedford, Massachusetts.

“My experiences through college and a through a variety of internships helped me land a job in an unlikely field of engineering,” Jonathan explains. “When asked how my plant science degree from MSU helps me in my current field, I say all science is the same. You just have to learn the terms.”

In the future, Jonathan plans to continue his career at Durham while helping his sisters on the farm their mother was raised on just south of Lebanon. “I am fortunate to live in a community surrounded by friends and family,” he says.

Caitlyn Claflin (Baney) - Sheldon

Caitlyn attended Oklahoma State University (OSU) graduating in December 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness, minor in plant and soil sciences.

While at OSU, Caitlyn was involved in the university’s Freshmen in Transition (FIT) program, a residential living-learning program that helps students in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) transition into college. FIT focuses on helping students make the most of their freshman year experience by providing opportunities for personal, professional and academic growth through engagement, service and networking.

Caitlyn was also active in the agronomy club and Aggie X club throughout college. She was on the president’s honor roll every semester and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society her junior year. Additionally, Caitlyn worked for OSU’s Department of Agricultural Economics one summer, and then the following semester by helping enroll incoming students and operate the department’s social media page. Through her position, Caitlyn says she learned how to handle a number of projects simultaneously while developing closer relationships with faculty and staff.

Currently, Caitlyn resides in Stillwater, Oklahoma. She and husband, Corey Baney, are in the process of relocating to Owasso, Oklahoma, where Caitlyn will be working as a financial advisor with Edward Jones.

Kimberly Duggan - Silex

Kimberly received a bachelor’s in agribusiness management systems in May 2017 from MU.

While at MU, Kimberly was a member of Sigma Alpha, a professional agricultural sorority. She was also on MU’s College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR) steering committee and was a member of MU’s shotgun team where she shot sporting clays and did trap and skeet shooting as part of the Association of College Unions International.

Additionally, Kimberly traveled to Brazil with the agricultural systems management department and served as a marketplace intern for FCS Financial in the summer of 2016. Kimberly is currently a legal secretary for Haden & Haden law firm in Columbia and hopes to attend law school at MU.

Brittany Eagleburger - Buffalo

A May 2017 graduate of MSU, Brittany received a bachelor’s degree in animal science.

While at MSU, Brittany was active in Collegiate Farm Bureau, Collegiate FFA, Block & Bridle Club and Agriculture Communicators of Tomorrow. She’s also a long-time member of the American and National Junior Angus Association (NJAA), Missouri Cattlemen’s Association and the American and Junior Simmental Associations.

Growing up, Brittany served in leadership roles for a number of associations, but she marks her term as president of the Missouri Junior Angus Association among her favorites. “I enjoyed working with all the members and motivating them to take advantage of all the opportunities they are given,” Brittany says.

With her involvement in the NJAA, Brittany won a number of awards through the organization’s contests including photography, team sales, team marketing, career development, quiz bowl and Certified Angus Beef Cook-off.

Brittany credits much of her success over the years to her involvement in NJAA as it provided her the opportunity to observe the vastness of the agricultural industry. “I was able to experience touring fields of tobacco, large dairies with technology I couldn’t imagine, mushroom farms, Montana’s mountains, impressive Angus farms and so much more,” she explains.

In her current role as an environmental health specialist (health inspector) for the Arkansas Department of Health, Brittany took part in a special food safety certification class called “Food Safety Preventative Controls Alliance” (FSPCA). “This class broke down how to create a food safety protocol for manufacturing companies,” Brittany says. “Through the class, I learned many details about the risks of producing food, how to control those risks and take action for when they are not controlled.”

As a health inspector, Brittany spends the majority of her time conducting reviews of restaurants, schools, daycares, grocery stores and meat markets. She also teaches the public about food safety, works with businesses on the processes of new and safe food for retail and handles rabies bite investigations.

“Through an FSPCA class I connected with a food safety consultant for large manufacturing companies,” Brittany says. “I have recently started doing some freelance work with him to create food safety plans and protocols.”

Professionally, Brittany is a member of the Arkansas Society of Professional Sanitarians, Medical Reserve Corps, Arkansas State Employee Association and Serve Northwest Arkansas. She also takes online classes at the University of Arkansas (U of A) to obtain a master’s degree in food safety.

Brittany currently lives in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and is engaged to Zak Wilkerson, who studies law at U of A. She hopes to complete her master’s in May 2019 and eventually work as a food safety consultant for manufacturing companies in addition to staying involved in the cattle industry.

“Throughout my undergraduate education, I was thankful to have received the FCS Financial Scholarship,” she says. “Along with many other scholarships, (those monies) completely paid for my education at MSU.”

Collin Gandy - Gower

Collin attended North Central Missouri College in Trenton for two years before transferring to NWMSU in Maryville where he received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science.

While in college, Collin completed an internship with Monsanto in Camden Point, Missouri, assisting with research on seeds and new chemicals.

Collin is currently in Florida helping with storm clean up from Hurricane Michael.

Rachel Groves - Barnett

A May 2017 summa cum laude graduate of MU, Rachel received a bachelor’s in agricultural economics with an emphasis on public policy and a minor in political science.

Rachel Groves

While at MU, Rachel served as a College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources peer career coach and ambassador. She also worked from her sophomore through senior years at the MU Commercial Agriculture Extension office under the supervision of Ray Massey, Joe Horner and Ryan Milhollin. In addition, Rachel served as a teaching assistant for ag econ macroeconomics classes where she administered exams, tutored students and completed office hours. Rachel was active in Agribusiness Club, serving as vice president of programs and scholarship during her senior year. She competed on the ag econ quiz bowl team that traveled to regional competitions in Atlanta, Georgia, and San Antonio, Texas. Additionally, Rachel attended a Hunger in the World study abroad at the University of Bologna, Italy.

“I attended the Hunger In the World: Causes, Consequences, and Remedies program for two weeks in January 2015,” Rachel explains. “The study abroad class focused on teaching us about food insecurity. The first half of the program was spent at the University of Bologna. In the second half, we attended sessions at the Food & Agriculture Organization at the United Nations in Rome. It was very impactful to learn about how much of the world deals with food insecurity while at the same time, food waste is also a huge problem.”

Rachel Groves

While learning about Italian culture, Rachel says she also toured a dairy farm that made Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and the Barilla pasta factory. Sight seeing also took her group to Florence where they spent a day exploring the Vatican City.

In 2013, Rachel competed at National FFA Convention for agricultural sales and returned the following year to accept her American FFA Degree.

An internship in the summer of 2015 sent Rachel to the Missouri Pork Association where she managed educational and promotional events. She also interned at the law firm of Haden & Haden in Columbia in 2016.

Currently in her second year at the University of Iowa College of Law in Iowa City, Iowa, Rachel works as a research assistant and is the conference co-chair for the Organization for Women Law Students and Staff. She is also a student writer for the Journal of Corporation Law. The summer of 2018, she worked as an intern in Des Moines, Iowa, in a dual internship program with Nyemaster Goode law firm and with in-house counsel at John Deere Financial.

In 2019, Rachel will spend the summer working at a law firm in Kansas City. Having lived all her life on a cattle ranch and learning from faculty members and mentors at MU, Rachel developed a keen interest in agribusiness law and litigation. She expects to graduate in May 2020 with her juris doctorate degree.

“I’m very thankful for all the help FCS Financial has provided me with my education,” Rachel says. “I’m extremely grateful to FCS Financial for granting me one of their scholarships.”

Caitlyn Harrison - Palmyra

Caitlyn attended Crowder College in Neosho, Missouri, graduating in 2015 with an associate degree in energy efficient building technologies general construction. She graduated cum laude in her class.

Since finishing college, Caitlyn has apprenticed at two organic vegetable farms. As part of her life goal to become self-sufficient, she says the opportunities are broadening her farming experiences when compared to growing up on a small cattle farm.

Currently a farm hand at an organic farm, Caitlyn lives in central Illinois.

Kellie Harvey - Shelbina

After completing her undergraduate studies in health science at MU in May 2016, Kellie was accepted into the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Pharmacy at MU.

Kellie HarveyAs an undergraduate at MU, Kellie was active with Kappa Alpha Theta sorority. Through her involvement, she had the opportunity to volunteer with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), Special Olympics, Red Cross Blood drives and become a mentor to children at a local elementary school in Columbia.

She was on the dean’s list in December 2014 and May 2015. And while active in her sorority, Kellie started two part-time jobs.

“I worked with Alternative Community Training (ACT) as a personal assistant for individuals with special needs, and at Boone Hospital inpatient pharmacy as a pharmacy technician,” she says. “I believe having both of these jobs, and my involvement with my sorority, were big reasons why I got into pharmacy school.”

In pharmacy school, Kellie is involved in a number of professional organizations, including the American Pharmacists Association, Missouri Society of Health-System Pharmacists and National Community Pharmacists Association. She has also attended the Rural Immersion Program in Chillicothe, Missouri.

“This program was a selective program to show health care professionals the need for providers in rural communities,” Kellie explains. She is currently class liaison on the Columbia campus for the Class of 2020.

Kellie Harvey

This year, Kellie accepted an invitation to be in the Missouri Area Health Education Center Scholars program. The organization is a federally funded program that prepares health professional students to become leaders in inter-professional and practice that will serve in rural communities.

Currently a third-year pharmacy student at the UMKC School of Pharmacy at the MU campus, Kellie also works at Boone Hospital Center as a pharmacy intern part time. Additionally, she is involved with the many health-related service events around the Columbia area.

In May, Kellie will begin nine, month-long rotations and will graduate with a doctorate in pharmacy in May 2020. Following that, she will need to pass the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy and Missouri pharmacy law exam before she can become a pharmacist.

Kellie has purchased a home south of Columbia. She eventually hopes to return to northeast Missouri and her hometown of Shelbina to pursue a career as a pharmacist and work with local farmers and ranchers.

“I took a huge interest in this when it was shown that farmers and ranchers are at highest risk of farm-related injuries and being on medications—or not being on medications when they should be—is shown to be a main cause,” Kellie explains. “With the path the field of pharmacy is going, I have high hopes I will be able to provide care to these patients that will decrease farm-related injuries in my area.”

In addition to becoming a pharmacist, Kellie hopes to stay involved with her family’s farm in the future.

“I would like to thank FCS Financial for granting me a scholarship my senior year of high school,” Kellie says. “I was able to attend my dream college and continue my dream of becoming a pharmacist with less stress about financial burdens thanks to their generosity.”

Dan Haynes - Jefferson City

A December 2016 graduate of MU, Dan received a degree in general agriculture. While at MU, he was active in Collegiate Farm Bureau and was a Missouri FFA state vice president. He also interned for Missouri Farmers Care political action committee during the “Right to Farm-Amendment 1” campaign.

Currently, Dan raises corn, soybeans, forage crops and cattle in central Illinois. He serves on his county’s Farm Bureau board and is chairman of his Farm Bureau young leaders committee.

Dan and his wife, Betty, are also involved with ministries in the Dominican Republic.

Sam McDonald - Silex

Sam graduated in 2017 from MU with a bachelor’s degree in plant science, emphasis in breeding, biology and biotechnology. He also achieved a minor in agriculture economics.

Sam was actively involved in four primary organizations during his undergrad studies at MU. As a four-year member of the MU Agronomy Club, he served as treasurer and president for the group.

Sam McDonald

“A big role that the agronomy club has for its members is facilitating opportunities for networking with professionals and students at other universities,” Sam explains. “We attended the annual Students of Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Sciences meeting every spring, which was hosted by a different university each year.”

In 2016, Sam was selected as a Golden Opportunity Scholar through which he was paired with a mentor and given the opportunity to attend the American Society of Agronomy annual meeting.

“I still talk with my mentor often, and we see each other occasionally at meetings and conferences,” he says.

Through MU’s Collegiate Farm Bureau organization, Sam held offices as treasurer and vice president. In conjunction with his service as vice president, Sam co-hosted the annual Farm Forum.

“This was one of the highlights for me in Collegiate Farm Bureau,” Sam says. “I really enjoyed working with my co-host to come up with a topic, organize a panel of speakers and drawing in a crowd for the event.”

Additionally, being in Collegiate Farm Bureau enabled Sam to travel with Missouri Farm Bureau staff and members to Washington, D.C., during National Agriculture Week. While there, the group toured and met with lawmakers, American Farm Bureau staff and representatives from the French Embassy.

Volunteering for two years with the pick-up team for MU’s food pantry called Tiger Pantry brought Sam the opportunity to interact with community members. “When organizations on campus or in the community held food drives, our team was responsible for providing receptacles before the food drive started and picking up the donated items and delivering the items to the food pantry once the drive was complete,” he explains.

Sam found himself taking part in three service trips with Mizzou Alternative Breaks, which he calls his favorite organization. During a weekend outing to Schuyler County, Missouri, Sam helped with a haunted house to benefit a local food bank. The group also helped clean out a community garden so it could be prepared for the next season.

Another trip with Alternative Breaks sent Sam to Starkville, Mississippi, during spring break. There, his group worked with Habitat for Humanity.

“We spent our week roofing, putting up siding and painting,” he says. “The local churches sponsored each of our meals, and I ate some of the best food of my life that week, finally understanding southern hospitality.”

A third excursion with Alternative Breaks took Sam to the Dominican Republic. The winter break journey during his senior year of college placed him in Monte Cristi where he worked with an organization called Outreach360, an immersion-based program that teaches English to children.

Sam McDonald

“They typically do lessons in the classroom, but since we were there during their winter break as well, we got to hold a camp in the community center,” Sam says. “Camp was a little less structured than classroom lessons, so we got to be creative with how we would incorporate English into the fun.”

In addition to those service experiences, Sam completed two internships while at MU. Both were researched-based opportunities with DuPont Pioneer (now Corteva). The first internship was at a corn breeding station in Miami, Missouri, while the second was at a station in Woodland, California, that mostly focused on drought stress in corn.

Between his sophomore and junior years in college, Sam studied abroad in Costa Rica for four weeks. “I took two courses, sustainable agriculture and tropical forestry, at E.A.R.T.H (Escuela de Agricultura de la Region Tropical Humeda) University,” he explains. “I got to travel across most of the country to tour farms and to go into the rainforests to collect data. EARTH University is unique because students come from over 40 countries to attend, so I made a few friends from across the globe that I still keep in touch with.”

Sam says he enhanced his knowledge of tropical fruit production in both conventional and organic systems while there in addition to learning more about what he can do as a consumer to promote sustainable practices in the vulnerable region.

As an undergrad student at MU, Sam worked in two research labs and says he learned a lot through the labor he performed which had a big impact on his education. “The first was with the Soybean Breeding and Genetics lab, and the second was a short time with the Nematode lab,” he says. “Both of these experiences influenced my decision to stay in life sciences and pursue additional education.”

Sam began a Ph.D. program in plant breeding, genetics and genomics in the fall of 2018 at the University of Georgia. There, Sam is part of the Soybean Breeding and Genetics lab, and he looks forward to leading his own research endeavors and learning from peers over the next several years.

Following graduate school, Sam hopes to pursue a career in academia at a public institution. “I really like the focus that academia has on training and discovery, and I want to continue to be a part of this,” he says.

Schafer Townsend - King City

Having received a bachelor’s in agricultural business and animal science in May 2017 from NWMSU, Schafer currently works in loan operations, compliance and credit analysis for Independent Farmers Bank in Maysville.

While in college, Schafer worked with Nodaway Valley Feeders in Nodaway, Iowa, as a feedlot management intern. He was also a member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and Delta Tau Alpha agricultural honor society. He and his wife, Jordan, reside in Cosby, Missouri, where they also manage a 40-head cow/calf operation.

Gina Pate - Stockton

Gina Pate

After a year at MU, Gina Pate finished her undergraduate studies at MSU in Springfield, Missouri, graduating in December 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in natural resources. She earned minors in agronomy and animal science while at MSU.

Gina earned her American FFA degree and was active in Block and Bridle clubs at MU and MSU. She was also named MU Block and Bridle’s Outstanding Freshman in 2014. While at MSU, she was also a member of MSU Cattlemen’s Association and Delta Tau Alpha, an agricultural honor society. In the summer of 2015, Gina completed an internship with the Cedar County Soil and Water Conservation District.

Gina PateCurrently a natural resource specialist (park ranger) for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Kansas City district, Gina is stationed at Melvern Lake, Melvern, Kansas. She resides in New Strawn, Kansas, and is working toward becoming a park manager or operations project manager. In the future, she hopes to be back in her home county working at Stockton Lake.

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