Sorghum Scholarships Invest in the Future

Five scholarships are available for hardworking-students through the National Sorghum Foundation. Find out more about requirements and hear from former scholarship winners, here.

Written by: Hannah Dast

The National Sorghum Foundation was established in an effort to aid and promote higher education in agriculture, more specifically, to promote the study of sorghum and its impact on agriculture. Producers, researchers and private industry collectively funded the Foundation endowment to enhance the awareness of sorghum as the fifth most important cereal crop in the world today.

From 2010-2018, The National Sorghum Foundation has given away nearly $50,000 in scholarships and over $12,000 in trips to Washington, D.C., for scholarship recipients. This made up 38 scholarships given to students from seven different universities across the United States.

The scholarships to be awarded this year include the National Sorghum Foundation/BASF scholarship, the Bruce Maunder Sorghum Leadership Scholarship, the Darrell Rosenow Memorial Scholarship and the Sorghum Feed and Food Scholarship.

National Sorghum Foundation/BASF Scholarship

Applications for The National Sorghum Foundation/BASF Scholarship are open now and will close on December 1. This scholarship originated in the 2017-2018 school year and has provided scholarships and trips to Commodity Classic for four outstanding students so far. Applicants must be an undergraduate or graduate student, at least in their second year of study and must be the child or grandchild of a National Sorghum Producers member. Two scholarships worth $2,500 will be given toward the recipient’s tuition for one semester, as well as a trip to Commodity Classic 2019 in Orlando, Florida, set for February 28-March 2.

Oklahoma State University student Micah Arthaud from Keyes, Oklahoma, and Texas Tech University student Payton Harrell, agricultural communications major from Spearman, Texas, were the 2018-2019 National Sorghum Foundation/BASF scholarship recipients.

“I am incredibly grateful for the trust and true investment National Sorghum Producers placed in me when selecting me as a scholarship recipient this past spring,” Harrell said.  “I have always had a special place in my heart for the people of agriculture, and receiving such a generous reward for my dedication to my schoolwork showed me just how much those of us studying agriculture mean to leaders in our field.”

Bruce Maunder Sorghum Leadership Scholarship

Dr. Bruce Maunder served U.S. sorghum producers for more than 20 years through his participation as chairman of the National Sorghum Foundation board of directors as well as his work as a volunteer research adviser at National Sorghum Producers. He held numerous positions that strengthened sorghum tremendously – including a 37-year stint at DEKALB during which he was responsible for the release of more than 150 commercial sorghum hybrids grown on as much as 10 million acres in as many as 49 countries.

The scholarship is open to any undergraduate student, sophomore through senior standing, who is enrolled in an agriculture-based program. Recipients of this scholarship will have the opportunity to go to Washington, D.C., with National Sorghum Producers where students will meet their Congressional representatives and watch the legislative process as association leaders discuss and resolve timely agricultural issues.

The 2018-2019 Bruce Maunder Leadership Scholarship was received by Texas Tech University student Ciera Ware, a plant and soil science major from Ralls, Texas.

Darrell Rosenow Memorial Scholarship

Dr. Darrell Rosenow was a pioneer in hybrid sorghum breeding. He is known for his work in drought tolerance and sorghum disease, as well as his significant role in establishing the Sorghum Conversion Program. He was a teacher and mentor to students in the United States and all over the world. This scholarship is open to any undergraduate student, sophomore through senior standing, who is enrolled in an agriculture-based program related to agronomy, plant pathology, entomology, and/or plant breeding with emphasis on sorghum.

Keren Duerksen was the 2018-2019 Darrell Rosenow Memorial Scholarship recipient. She is an agronomy major with a minor in international agriculture from Newton, Kansas, and attends Kansas State University. Keren’s passion for agronomy started at a young age and has continued growing into her college years.

“Growing up on a small farm, I always loved asking dad questions. I was the fourth child and my brothers all grew up and left the home, so my parents took me to all the farm meetings, all the different insurance meetings, and I loved asking questions,” Duerksen said. “I loved learning about it. But in school I loved math and science, and I thought about combining those two things. That led me to agronomy, and I’ve loved it ever since.”

Sorghum Feed and Food Scholarship

The Sorghum Feed and Food Scholarship is open to any undergraduate student, sophomore through senior standing, enrolled in a nutrition or culinary based program with an emphasis on sorghum related to animal nutrition, food science/human nutrition or culinary studies.

The 2018-2019 Sorghum Feed and Food Scholarship recipient was Mardi Traskowsky of Herington, Kansas, who is studying milling science and management and global food systems leadership at Kansas State University.

Mardi has this advice to future scholarship applicants:

“No matter what the scholarship is, you need to do your research. There’s usually clues about the goals and the values of the scholarship as well as related to the organization. You kind of have to see if you relate to that in a sense that it is not only a monetary support, it is an investment in your future,” Traskowsky said. “So you want to make sure that you are wanting to learn more about it or doing something that is going to benefit both yourself and the organization that is putting the money out there to help you go to school.”

The Bruce Maunder Leadership Scholarship, The Darrell Rosenow Memorial Scholarship and The Sorghum Feed and Food Scholarship applications will open on March 1, 2019, and remain open until June 1, 2019. They will be $1,500 each, applicable toward one semester of tuition expenses.