National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador Team | National FFA Organization
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​National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador Team​​​

National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador Team

Twenty-two college students from across the nation were chosen to serve on the 2015 National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador Team. Click on each agriculture ambassador's name to learn more about the individuals selected.

2015 Ambassador Team

 

Back Row: Matt Wood, Ben Travlos, Garet Koester, Carley Esser, Kyle Clement, Jason Smith, Brad Borges

Middle Row: Ambrosia Church, Elizabeth Brown, Jesica Wells, Kassie Waller, Leslie Borries, Keili Summey, Melissa LeCaptain

Front Row: Dusti Irwin, Emma Heser, Kaylee Norris, Eileen Desmond, Lynn Dodge, Katelyn Jerde, Tori Summey (Not Pictured: Danielle Milbern)

For additional information regarding the program or to request an ambassador visit, contact Ryan Amaral,  ramaral@ffa.org, or Lindsey Calhoun, lcalhoun@ffa.org.

Brad Borges

Name: Brad Borges

Hometown: Oakdale, Calif.

College/University: Texas A&M University

Major: Agriculture Systems and Management

Brief description of your background: I had come from a small three acre ranch in the heart of the Central Valley in California. With agriculture teachers for parents, I have been involved in agriculture ever since I was a small child. Because of my background, I would like to become an agricultural engineer to specialize in water so that I can help both the producers and consumers get the most out of our environment without hurting it.

Leslie Borries

Name: Leslie Borries

Age: 21

Hometown: Tuscola, Ill.

College/University: Western Illinois University

Major: Agriculture education

Brief description of your background: I grew up in a rural community, but I did not have an agricultural background. I became involved in agriculture through FFA in high school. I got even more involved by becoming an officer for my chapter. In college, I went to Parkland College and earned my associate degree in agricultural science. I am now enrolled at Western Illinois University in agricultural education. I have one more semester before my student teaching.

Elizabeth Brown

Name: Elizabeth Brown

Age: 19

Hometown: Heyworth, Ill.

College/University: Purdue University

Major: Agricultural Education

Brief description of your background: I grew up in a rural town, but not on a farm. I was involved in 4-H growing up and joined FFA in high school. Through FFA I developed leadership and public speaking skills as well as a passion for agriculture. With my degree in agricultural education, I hope to spark in my students the same passion for agriculture that my education sparked in me.

Ambrosia L. Church

Name: Ambrosia L. Church

Age: 20

Hometown: Woodstock, Va,

College/University: Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

Major: Agricultural Sciences

Brief description of your background: I grew up helping on my grandparent’s beef and poultry farm, where I witnessed first-hand the struggles and rewards of owning and operating a farm. This experience encouraged me to learn more about the agriculture industry and when I was in high school, it influenced me to raise goats in my back yard. Since high school, I have decided that I want to continue to be part of the agriculture industry not only through my involvement in agricultural based clubs and activities, but by making my career goals line up with life-long learning in the agriculture industry.

Kyle Clement

Name: Kyle Clement

Age: 21

Hometown: Pedricktown, N.J.

College/University: Rutgers School of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Major: Agriculture and Food Systems

Brief description of your background: Pygmy goat wrangling, pony training and dirt bike riding are just a few things I’ve experienced through agriculture. I grew up on a 65 acre horse ranch in southern New Jersey, where I learned the joys and discomforts of an agricultural life. FFA has been a great passion of mine ever since I became involved my freshman year of high school. I’ve been blessed through my experiences in this great organization. After two terms of state office, serving on our state alumni board, and even traveling across and outside the country, FFA has ingrained in me an attitude for service, and a desire to share key messages on behalf of our industry’s importance.

Eileen Desmond

Name: Eileen Desmond

Age: 20

Hometown: Eastvale, Calif.

College/University: Oklahoma State University

Major: Agricultural Education

Brief description of your background: I grew up in California with a non-agricultural background but got involved by raising a pig for the local fair. I transferred high schools and became a member of Norco FFA. I was very involved throughout high school and, when graduation came, I knew that I belonged in the agriculture community. I decided to major in agricultural education and attended my first two years at Modesto Junior College then transferred to Oklahoma State University. Sharing agriculture is important to me because without advocates, I would not be a part of this amazing industry today.

Lynn Dodge

Name: Lynn Dodge

Age: 20

Hometown: Spring Creek, Nev.

College/University: University of Nevada, Reno

Major: Agricultural Science, Economics

Brief description of your background: Lynn grew up in rural Northeastern Nevada, and got involved in agriculture at an early age. She was a member of the Silver Sage FFA Chapter where her SAE was diversified livestock production, although she heavily focused on beef production. Lynn went on to serve as Nevada’s State FFA Vice President in 2012-2013, and has since been heavily involved in further developing the agricultural program at her university. Upon graduation, Lynn hopes to work strengthening rural communities by developing their agricultural potential.

Carley Esser

Name: Carley Esser

Age: 20

Hometown: Boonville, Mo.

College/University: University of Missouri - Columbia

Major: Agricultural Education - Leadership

Brief description of your background: Born and raised in Boonville, Mo.,, I was surrounded by the opportunities from FFA, , and the loving support of family and friends. That is what led to the development of my passion for agriculture and the need for advocacy. I did not grow up on a farm, but that makes me relatable to most of the consumers today and only strengthens my respect and admiration of the agricultural lifestyle.

Emma Heser

Name: Emma Heser

Age: 22

Hometown: Tomah, Wis.

College/University: University of Wisconsin-Platteville

Major: Agricultural Education

Brief description of your background: I grew up training performance horses and competing in rodeos, which is what sparked my interested in agriculture. My parents and two older brothers enjoy horses, but never really looked past our small part-time farm in the grand scheme of things. In high school, I joined FFA which opened my eyes to the entire agricultural industry and helped me develop a passion for teaching others of its importance. I hope to spend, not only this year, but the rest of my life advocating for the agricultural industry.

Dusti Malynn Irwin

Name: Dusti Malynn Irwin

Age: 19

Hometown: Rushville, Ill.

College/University: John Wood Community College

Major: Agricultural Education

Brief description of your background: Growing up in rural Schuyler County, Ill., has enabled agriculture to be instilled in my life thoroughly and consistently. Being raised in a country home allowed me to gain direct agricultural experiences. From growing a large family garden to raising and harvesting much of our own meat products, my personal hands-on learning opportunities in the field are vast. In a professional atmosphere I was exposed to agribusiness and production agriculture starting at the age of 12 when I began working in a seed field as a detasseler. After many years fulfilling multiple leadership roles, including two years of experience as an area manager, my dedication to this company and line of work continues. A deeper understanding and academic love for agriculture began when taking agriculture classes and I joined my hometown FFA Chapter, where I served as an officer for four years. Today, I am pursuing my love for agriculture, education, and people as I continue my studies at the collegiate level and serve as a National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador.

Katelyn Jerde

Name: Katelyn Jerde

Age: 20

Hometown: Montrose, Minn.

College/University: South Dakota State University

Major: Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership (Education Specialization)

Brief description of your background: I was raised on small hobby farm in central Minnesota where I grew up showing horses in associations such as the National High School Rodeo Association and American Quarter Horse Association. My passion for agriculture began when I was younger, though spiked as I grew older and became a member of the National FFA Organization. The National FFA Organization has opened the doors for many opportunities that I am thankful for and has eventually aspired me to become a high school agriculture educator.

Garet Koester

Name: Garet Koester

Age: 20

Hometown: Concordia, Kan.

College/University: Kansas State University

Major: Agriculture Economics

Brief description of your background: I have grown up on a diversified farm raising hogs and cattle. We also produce wheat, soybeans, corn and grain sorghum. My passion for agriculture will be leading me back home into production agriculture after college. Agriculture itself is so diverse and offers us all endless potential. We have the ability to feed the world, but it will take the industry as a whole communicating the truth behind our products to accomplish such.

Melissa LeCaptain

Name: Melissa LeCaptain

Age: 20

Hometown: Mishicot, Wis.

College/University: University of Wisconsin- Manitowoc

Major: Agricultural Education

Brief description of your background: I grew up in a small farming community and worked on a dairy farm for years. I love everything about agriculture and want to share my knowledge and experiences with the world. The FFA organization is also very important to me. My experiences through this organization have pushed me toward my future goals. In the future, I will transfer to the University of Wisconsin- Platteville where I can complete my degree in agriculture education and fulfill my dream of teaching the world about agriculture.

Danielle Milbern

Name: Danielle Milbern

Age: 21

Hometown: Lexington Ky.

College/University: Eastern Kentucky University

Major: Agricultural Education

Brief description of your background: I’m currently a junior in College. I have what you would call the best of both worlds, I live in an urban setting; however, I grew up on my family farm. I attended an Agriculture Technical school called Locust Trace Argiscience Center, where I was given some unique opportunities. This is where I was given opportunity to learn about FFA and what a wonderful organization it is. I’ve help do everything on my Family Farms from setting tobacco to helping with the baby calves. I also so ride and show American Saddlebred horses in my spare time.

Kaylee Norris

Name: Kaylee Norris

Age: 20

Hometown: Frostproof, Fla.

College/University: Warner University

Major: Agricultural Studies

Brief description of your background: Kaylee grew up in a small rural town in Central Florida where cattle and citrus are dominant. Kaylee joined FFA in 6th grade and quickly developed a passion for the organization and the agriculture industry. During her FFA career, Kaylee showed market steers and purebred heifers and competed on numerous CDE teams. Kaylee is currently a senior at Warner University, a small Christian school in Central Florida, where she is majoring in diversified agriculture with a minor in business administration. Kaylee hopes to pursue a career in the agribusiness/marketing world and continue to advocate for the agriculture industry.

Jason Smith

Name: Jason Smith

Age: 21

Hometown: Monticello, Iowa

College/University: Iowa State University

Major: Agricultural Education

Brief description of your background: I am a third generation FFA member. Both my grandfather and father were FFA members in the Norfolk FFA chapter in Massachusetts. I myself was a FFA member in the Monticello Iowa chapter. I am the first generation removed from a farm. My passion for agriculture come from my dad and grandfather first, but it really grabbed hold of me once I met my high school agriculture teacher and started taking classes and found out how important agriculture is. I was extremely active FFA member in high school earning my American FFA degree, as well as being active in the Collegiate FFA at Iowa State.

Keili Summey

Name: Keili Summey

Age: 21

Hometown: Cave Creek, Ariz.

College/University: Oklahoma State University

Major: Agricultural Education with a minor in Animal Science

Brief description of your background: Although I did not come from an agricultural background, I have always loved animals. Because of my love for animals, I believed many misconceptions about agriculture until I joined FFA in high school and was able to experience farms and ranches across Arizona first-hand. Hearing my agriculture teacher, Mrs. Anema tell stories about growing up on a cattle ranch in Nebraska sparked my passion for agriculture and my love for agricultural education. Upon graduating high school I was able to serve as the Arizona FFA Secretary and Arizona Beef Ambassador where I used my passion for agriculture to advocate about

Tori Summey

Name: Tori Summey

Age: 20

Hometown: Cave Creek, Ariz.

College/University: Oklahoma State University

Major: Agricultural Communications

Brief description of your background: I’ve had the unique privilege of falling in love with the agricultural community without actually having grown up in it. Coming from an urban area, I wasn’t able to truly appreciate the hard work of farming and ranching families until I was able to hear their stories and witness their impact first hand. Becoming involved in FFA in high school, and serving in opportunities like Arizona FFA Vice President, National Beef Ambassador, and USDA Intern, have been the biggest blessings as they have started me on this life long journey to seek more knowledge about, and ultimately serve, an industry that I consider to be the beating heart of our society-agriculture. Without agriculture we truly would have nothing, and I can’t think of a better way to live than working to ensure there is safe, wholesome, and nutritious food on every table in the world. For me, it all started with a story, and I intend to share that story with every person I encounter this year.

Ben Travlos

Name: Ben Travlos

Age: 19

Hometown: Ashland Mo.

College/University: Missouri State University

Major: Agricultural Business

Brief description of your background: I was a soccer player throughout high school and am still very involved in FFA. My SAEs persisted of raising and selling chrysanthemums, poinsettias and sweet corn, as well operating my own lawn mowing services. The past two summers I have been able to intern at the University of Missouri Research Farms working under a Field and Forage Crop Entomologist. My main two hobbies are duck hunting and trout fishing.

Kassie Waller

Name: Kassie Waller

Age: 18

Hometown: Clovis, N.M.

College/University: Eastern New Mexico University

Major: Agricultural Sciences, minoring in Communication Studies

Brief description of your background: I grew up in eastern New Mexico surrounded by many different aspects of agriculture, but never truly appreciated my rural background until I joined the FFA in eighth grade. With the encouragement of an awesome FFA advisor, I quickly developed a passion for the organization, as well as the entire ag industry. Despite this, I wasn’t planning on majoring in agriculture once I reached college, but knew I had to follow my heart which was bursting with love for agriculture and a desire to tell others about the industry! Almost six years after I first walked into an agriculture education classroom, I am a three time national level competitor, a member of my university’s Collegiate FFA chapter, an aspiring career agriculture communicator, and now a National Collegiate Agriculture Ambassador!

Jesica Wells

Name: Jesica Wells

Age: 21

Hometown: Blue Springs, Mo.

College/University: Northwest Missouri State University

Major: Agriculture Business, Minor Animal Science

Brief description of your background: I come from the suburbs of Kansas City, Mo. Growing up, agriculture was not something you saw much. I fell in love with animals and agriculture at a young age always bringing animals home and eventually raising my own rabbits for my FFA project. I have also helped out on different farms in high school, working with horses, picking sweet corn, as well asworking for other small farms. My passion for agriculture eventually moved into college where I worked at a small dairy farm for a few years. After college I hope to pursue a career in the agriculture industry working with animals as well as advocating for agriculture.

Matt Wood

Name: Matt Wood

Age: 21

Hometown: Cordova, Md.

College/University: West Virginia University

Major: Agricultural & Extension Education

Brief description of your background: I was born and raised in Cordova, Maryland, a very small rural town about an hour and a half from Washington, D.C. Growing up, I fell in love with agriculture. I remember from a young age helping my dad in our vegetable garden and knowing that I wanted to pursue a career in agriculture. Being the first generation in my family to be removed from the farm, I wanted to be involved in agriculture and give back to an industry that provides so much for all of us. As an FFA member I developed my SAE in diversified horticulture, had the opportunity to compete nationally, made many life-long friends, and served as a State FFA officer. I believe it is the blue jacket and my passion for agriculture that has led me in wanting to pursue a career in Ag Education. Also being a Globalization & Development minor, I plan to take my passion for agriculture and what I have learned abroad to impoverished nations to help grow a stronger, educated and more sustainable world.