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K-State Today

May 8, 2023

Agricultural economics announces 2023 Outstanding Senior Award recipients

Submitted by Mary Bowen

The agricultural economics department has selected four students to receive the department's 2023 Outstanding Senior Award: Hannah Ballard, Ashley Hartman, Jenae Tilford and Parker Vulgamore. The award recognizes seniors for their significant contributions during their time at K-State.

"The department of agricultural economics is proud to select four students as our outstanding seniors for 2023," said Elizabeth Yeager, associate professor of agricultural economics and director of undergraduate programs. "These students have all represented our department, college or university through various capacities and have been a joy to work with during their time at K-State. We are proud of their academic accomplishments as well as their leadership skills and are excited to continue to watch them succeed as alumni of our program!" 

Ballard, from Madison, graduated from the agribusiness program in December. During her time at K-State, Ballard served as the president of the Alpha of Clovia 4-H Cooperative Leadership House; was an active member in the Agricultural Economics Club, Alpha Zeta and Kansas Corn Collegiate Academy; and was a team member of the International Food and Agribusiness Marketing Association, which won the 2022 international championship in Costa Rica. Additionally, Ballard was honored as the College of Agriculture Student of the Month. She gained valuable work experience as a student worker for the agricultural economics department, where she had the opportunity to travel to the World Ag Expo in California to recruit students for the College of Agriculture. Ballard now lives and works in Baldwin City for Frontier Farm Credit as an insurance services officer.

Hartman, from Waterloo, Illinois, grew up on her family's grain farm. She will graduate in May with a bachelor's degree in agricultural economics with a specialty in marketing and a minor in animal science. Throughout her time at K-State, Hartman was involved in many organizations. She was part of the Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority, the College of Agriculture Ambassadors, the NAMA team, the Dairy Science Club, and Gamma Sigma Delta. Hartman has held many leadership roles, such as president and secretary of the Dairy Science Club, secretary and treasurer of Sigma Alpha, director of involvement in Ag Ambassadors, and dairy chairman for Little American Royal. Academically, she has maintained a 4.0 GPA throughout her four years at K-State. Hartman has gained various work experiences, from working on her family's farm to working at the USDA as an office assistant to interning for John Deere with the baling and mowing marketing team. Back home, she is part of the Monroe County Farm Bureau Young Leaders and Waterloo FFA Alumni. After graduation, Hartman will join the John Deere Marketing Development Program.

Tilford, from Roca, Nebraska, decided to come to K-State because of the great agricultural programs and the welcoming family atmosphere. She majored in agricultural economics and global food systems leadership. Throughout her undergraduate degree, Tilford was involved in Pre-Law Ambassadors, Economics Club, Kappa Alpha Theta, Gamma Sigma Delta, and Hands-on K-State. In the summer, Tilford will intern with the Kansas Department of Agriculture in the Water Resources Division. In the fall, she will start her master's in agriculture economics at K-State.

Vulgamore, from Scott City, is studying agricultural economics with a pre-law specialty. On campus, he serves as the student body president of K-State, is a member and the former chapter president of the Delta Upsilon Fraternity and serves as a Pre-Law Ambassador. He is also a member of the Delta Upsilon International Fraternity board of directors. Vulgamore is the third generation of his family to study agriculture at K-State, and he is the fifth generation to grow up living and working on his family's farm in Scott City. After graduation, he plans to pursue a master's in agricultural economics at K-State.

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