National FFA Organization Names Georgia Resident 2019 Star in Agriscience
INDIANAPOLIS (Friday, Nov. 1, 2019/National FFA Organization) – Courtney Cameron did the math—she has spent a third of her life involved in plant disease research. Cameron, from the Lowndes FFA Chapter in Valdosta, Ga., initially found a research avenue that would cultivate her interest in plant pathology when tobacco mosaic virus (TMV) spread through the plants in her high school’s greenhouse.
“It kind of helped me find a purpose,” she said about her research. “If you would’ve gone back and told little Courtney back in fifth grade, who wanted to be an art teacher, that she was going to go into agriculture, she would laugh.”
Cameron credits her parents and agriculture teachers for providing a support system while she clocked in hours after school to study TMV. They made sure that she didn’t push too hard and get too mentally exhausted.
Through her research, Cameron found that aspirin is effective in controlling TMV in heirloom tomato plants. Using this treatment, farmers could save $2.6 million a year. This positive impact on farmers is what fuels her passion.
“It was essentially seeing the impact it could have and the hope it can give to the farmer,” Cameron said. “That’s when I found out, ‘Wow, this is why I do it. This is why I need to do this.’”
She now attends the University of Georgia, where she studies agriscience and is involved in research concerning Neofusicoccum and Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. vasinfectum, both fungal pathogens. Cameron said plant disease is an interesting field of research, but she knows for sure she wants to make a future in agriculture, conducting research and communicating that science with others.
“I want the kind of job where I’m able to be very versatile in what I do and be able to serve the farmer and serve as a bridge between the farmer and the consumer,” she said.
About the American Star Awards
Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, four FFA members are honored with American Star Awards for outstanding accomplishments in FFA and agricultural education.
The American Star Awards, including American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience, are presented to FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through completion of an SAE. A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows students to learn by doing, by either owning or 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. were nominated by a panel of judges who then interviewed the finalists during the national convention and expo. Four were named winners and received cash awards totaling $4,000. All American Star finalists received a $2,000 cash award. Case IH, Elanco Animal Health and Syngenta sponsor the awards.
Judging occurred in Indianapolis during the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo, Oct. 31-Nov. 2, with the winners announced during an onstage ceremony on Friday, Nov. 1.
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to more than 700,000 student members who belong to one of the more than 8,600 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The organization is also supported by more than 8 million alumni and supporters throughout the U.S.
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