INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Aug. 28, 2015/National FFA Organization) – Rory Tucker of Tomball, Texas, developed a love of science at an early age. She remembers fondly watching National Geographic shows when she was younger, satisfying her curiosity about animals and the natural world. Soon, her interest turned to botany.
Today, her interest in botany has resulted in her being named a 2015 finalist for the American Star in Agriscience award, one of the most prestigious honors awarded to a student by the National FFA Organization.
When Tucker entered high school, she learned about agriculture’s importance. Her advisor shared it was not just farming but horticulture, veterinary science, math, economics and so much more. Through her agricultural education classes, she was able to nurture her love of science through agriscience fairs.
Her motivation for agriscience projects has centered on her desire to learn more about the world of botany. After researching the future of limited water resources, Tucker drew inspiration from finding ways to reduce and efficiently manage the water sources that are available. Later in high school, she designed an experiment to test the preconceive notions of "healthier" organic versus “unsafe" non-organic food products. Over time, her science projects have developed significantly as she gains more knowledge in the field of plant science and the core principles of scientific experimentation. She currently works as a lab technician and assistant. She is responsible for running genetic tests on sorghum and pecan samples.
Tucker says she feels blessed that she was able to find her purpose through her involvement in FFA and she hopes to continue to make an impact on agriculture and society through genetic research on crops. She is currently attending Texas A&M where she is studying environmental soil and plant science. She plans to earn a doctorate in biochemistry.
Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, four FFA members are honored with an American Star Award for outstanding accomplishments in FFA and agricultural education.
The American Star Awards, including the American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience, are awarded to FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through completion of a supervised agricultural experience program. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows students to learn by doing by either owning and operating an agricultural business, working or serving an internship at an agriculture-based business or conducting an agriculture-based scientific experiment and reporting results.
Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.
Sixteen American Star Award finalists from throughout the U.S. are nominated by a panel of judges to interview during the national convention and expo. Four are named winners and receive cash awards totaling $4,000. All American Star finalists receive a $2,000 cash award. The American Star Awards are sponsored by ADM Crop Risk Services, Case IH, Elanco, Farm Credit and Syngenta as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
Judging will occur in Louisville, Ky., during the 88th National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 28-31, with the winner being announced during an onstage ceremony on Thursday, Oct. 29.
Tucker is the daughter of Michael and Terry Tucker. She is a member of the Klein FFA Chapter, which is led by advisors Rebecca Brummond, Michael Brummond, Vanessa Collier, Kelsey Morris and James Strickler.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 610,240 student members who belong to one of 7,665 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
# # #
About National FFA Organization The National FFA Organization is a national youth organization of 629,367 student members as part of 7,757 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture. The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at
Twitter and the official
National FFA Organization blog.
About National FFA Foundation
The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. Governed by a 19-member board of trustees comprised of educators, business leaders, individual donors and FFA alumni, the foundation is a separately-registered nonprofit organization. About 82 percent of every dollar received by the foundation supports FFA members and agricultural education opportunities. For more, visit