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CCFB News» April 2024

CCFB Foundation Scholarship Winners Announced

04/02/2024 @ 11:15 am

The Board of Directors of the Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation has selected nine individuals as recipients of the 2024 Scholarship Program. Carmen Trotta of Evergreen Park was awarded the Howard Paarlberg Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship and Brigid Heller of Chicago was awarded the Stuenkel Family Legacy Scholarship. Receiving general farm and food scholarships were Daniel Lyons of La Grange Highlands, Elijah Floerke of Orland Park, Jennifer Miller of Justice, Matthew Smits of Chicago Heights, Leah Sheehan of Palatine, John Dwyer of Tinley Park, and Amelia Niedbalec of Mundelein. A total of $19,500 of scholarship funds were distributed.


Howard Paarlberg Excellence in Agriculture Scholarship Recipient


Carmen Trotta - Trotta attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is majoring in Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications with a minor in Agribusiness Management. He plans to become an Agricultural Educator and FFA Advisor at the high school level in Illinois and hopes to teach at a school in an urban area.    

 This scholarship is designed to honor Mr. Howard Paarlberg, the first President of the Foundation and President of the Farm Bureau for 16 years. The recipient of this scholarship carries the prestige of being the top-rated applicant and receives a greater financial reward.                 


Stuenkel Family Legacy Scholarship Recipient


Brigid Heller - Heller attends the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is majoring in Biological Systems/Agricultural Engineering-Machinery Systems. She hopes to build a career which will involve the development of greenhouse technology that will focus on smart systems to monitor and control resource inputs, waste reduction, and will have environmental impact.

This scholarship was created to honor the many contributions made by the Stuenkel Family to the Cook County Farm Bureau, the Foundation, and the organization’s agriculture education and literacy programming and has been designed for those who are pursuing higher education with a focus on an agriculture related career in the areas of technology, education, leadership development, and/or mental health.


General Agriculture Scholarship Recipients


Daniel Lyons – Lyons will attend Joliet Junior College and will be majoring in Agriculture Production Management and hopes to own and operate his own beef cattle farm one day. He’s currently working at Wanda Farms as a farmhand and is already gaining the experience he’ll need to run his own farm.


Elijah Floerke - Floerke attends Illinois State University and is working on his Bachelor of Science in Agribusiness. He hopes to learn about the most up-to-date technology that he’ll be able to use in the field and within farm operations to help farmers with their crops. He’s had experience working on his grandparents’ family farm in southern Illinois.


Jennifer Miller – Miller attends Southern Illinois University’s School of Dental Medicine and is working on her doctorate in Dental Medicine. Her goal is to provide dental services in a rural/underserved area in Cook County.


Matthew Smits – Smits attends Purdue University and is working towards a degree in Horticulture. After graduation, he hopes to return to his family farm and apply his education in Horticulture to successfully run a greenhouse business.


Leah Sheehan – Sheehan will be attending either the University of Minnesota or Iowa State University in the fall and will be majoring in Agricultural/Environmental Engineering. Her involvement in 4-H contributed to her passion for agriculture and with her degree, she hopes to develop systems and structures that can be useful in the farming industry.


John Dwyer – Dwyer will be attending Loras College and will be majoring in Engineering. With his degree in Engineering, he’ll be able to make many contributions to agriculture, agribusiness, and related fields.


Amelia Niedbalec – Niedbalec will be attending Illinois State University with a major in Exercise Science (Pre-Med) and hopes to work in a rural area where healthcare isn’t easily accessible to farmers.


The Cook County Farm Bureau Foundation was established by the Cook County Farm Bureau to carry out charitable, literary, and educational work in Agriculture. The Foundation Board established the Agricultural Scholarship Program to provide financial assistance to students pursuing education for agricultural careers and to encourage the best and brightest young minds to return to Agriculture as their chosen career.

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