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K-State Today

May 17, 2021

Agricultural economics announces Outstanding Senior Award winners

Submitted by Mary Bowen

The agricultural economics department has selected five students to receive the department’s 2021 Outstanding Senior Award. The award recognizes seniors in agricultural economics for significant contributions during their time at K-State.

“It is always a pleasure to recognize the outstanding seniors in our department," said Elizabeth Yeager, associate professor of agricultural economics and director of Undergraduate Programs. "It is exciting to be reminded about the exceptional things our students are doing academically as well as serving their peers and communities.

"This group of students has been challenged as they faced virtual learning, changes in internships and disruptions to their final three semesters at K-State. Despite that, they have thrived. We appreciate their resiliency, all of their contributions and wish them the best as they become alumni of the agricultural economics department.”

The following students were recipients of the Agricultural Economics Outstanding Senior Award:

MiKayla Deters, Sabetha, is completing her Bachelor of Science in agribusiness with the international option and a secondary major in global food systems leadership. Deters has been involved with many activities on campus. She was a member of Blue Key Senior Honorary as the director of nationals and scholarship, as well as being involved with Sigma Alpha, a professional agricultural sorority, and the National Agri-Marketing Association. She has completed internships with Cargill Animal Nutrition and John Deere. After graduation, she will work for Cargill in Olathe as a management associate. Her career interests are in pricing, merchandising and strategic marketing. She plans to pursue a master's degree in agribusiness after several years in the industry and eventually transition into running her own business and operating the family farm.

“I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to be recognized by the agricultural economics department as an outstanding senior," Deters said. "Looking back on my experience at K-State, I know that the department has been instrumental in my development and boasts the best faculty and staff on campus. It’s truly been an amazing four years.”

Rebecca Hernandez, Fort Worth, Texas, is completing her bachelor's degree in agricultural economics with a specialty in optimization and a minor in statistics. After graduation, Hernandez will start a two-year technical research associate position at MIT Sloan School of Management. She plans to pursue a doctorate degree in economics in the future. She is a McNair scholar and has been actively engaged in research with Ben Schwab, associate professor of agricultural economics and academic advisor, throughout her time in our program.

"From the moment I stepped into the ag econ department, I felt at home, Hernandez said. "All the students, professors and staff were always so welcoming and that made it easy for me to form relationships which have helped me to excel in my coursework. I used to joke that Waters Hall was my real home and not my apartment because of how often I would be there in my free time. It truly is an honor to be selected as one of the outstanding seniors because my passion for agricultural economics was planted and nourished under the guidance and influence of the department and I am forever grateful.”

Megan Hill, Home, completed her Bachelor of Science in agribusiness with a minor in animal science and industry in December 2020. Hill was actively involved in the leadership of the National Agri-Marketing Association while at K-State. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in agricultural economics at K-State with an anticipated graduation date of May 2022. In 2019, Hill held a dual internship with Merck Animal Health in De Soto and the Kansas City Animal Health Corridor in Kansas City, Missouri.

“I am very honored to be selected by the agricultural economics department as one of the outstanding seniors," Hill said. "The faculty and staff in this department played a huge role in making my time as an undergraduate student at K-State a fulfilling experience. I look forward to continuing my academic career in this department by pursuing a master’s degree."

Dannell Kopp, Fairview, is completing her bachelor's degree in agricultural economics with a pre-veterinary specialty and a minor in animal science and industry. Kopp is a member of the College of Agriculture Ambassadors, Alpha of Clovia and the Agricultural Economics/Agribusiness Club. Following graduation, she will work with Ted Schroeder, professor of agricultural economics and director of the Center for Risk Management Education and Research, and Robert Larson, professor of production medicine in the College of Veterinary Medicine, to collect data for their cow-calf record keeping and data transfer app. In August, she will start her coursework in the College of Veterinary Medicine at K-State. Kopp’s goal after graduation is to work in a rural community in Kansas and as a production livestock veterinarian.

“I truly appreciate being chosen for this distinguished honor," Kopp said. "Majoring in agricultural economics with a pre-vet option was one of the best decisions I made during my undergraduate career.” 

Amber Oerly, Boonville, Missouri, is completing her bachelor's degree in agricultural economics with a specialty in policy. She was a transfer student from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. While at K-State, she has been a student researcher with Glynn Tonsor, professor of agricultural economics, and completed an internship in Washington, D.C., for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry. Oerly has published articles, including her most recent publication in 2020, "Traceability, Biosecurity and Health Management by U.S. Feedlot Operations — 2018 Survey Summary." Following graduation, she will spend the summer in Denver for an internship with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in its beef sustainability research program. In the fall, Oerly will attend graduate school at Texas A&M University and study livestock economics and policy.

"I am extremely honored to be selected as an outstanding senior in the agricultural economics department at K-State," Oerly said. "Not only does the program have national recognition for research and extension work, but the faculty also have a genuine desire to assist their students in becoming better scholars, professionals and agriculturalists. I am certainly blessed that God led me to K-State for my undergraduate career."