Posted May 24, 2019
With a passion for agriculture and research, the 2019 recipient of the Herb Clutter Memorial Scholarship is Jorja Elliott of Pratt, Kansas. This $500 scholarship will help Elliott pursue her degree in biology with an emphasis in botany at Fort Hays State University — where she has already been taking courses through the Kansas Academy of Math and Science (KAMS).
“This scholarship is ultimately allowing me to pursue the agricultural research I want to do as a career,” Elliott said.
She has already been active on the agricultural research scene. Elliott is involved with studying the effects of toxins, like ethanol, lactic acid and sulfide on various crops around Kansas. The goal is to see how much of these toxins the plants can be exposed to before they cause damage to the plant. She is working to have a publication that would summarize the research published this summer.
Raised in rural Kansas, Elliott knew agriculture was just a part of the fiber of her being. She grew up in a farming family, as did her friends. She wanted to be a part of agriculture and has a passion for research and science.
“I want to see what my research does for the community,” said Elliott, “because a farming community is what I grew up in.”
Before deciding on agricultural research, she explored various avenues to try and find her niche. Elliott obtained her Certified Nurse Aide and Certified Medication Aide from Pratt Community College before and during her involvement with the Kansas Academy for Math and Sciences.
The KAMS program is a difficult and competitive program for high school juniors and seniors from across the state of Kansas. Students must have a high GPA from their high school and meet the ACT and SAT requirements. Additionally, those applying to be in the program must be involved in activities in and out of the classroom. About 20 students are selected to be in the program. Elliott has completed a variety of challenging and higher level courses at Fort Hays State University, such as engineering, physics, calculus 1 and 2 and organic chemistry through this program. She has already gotten involved on campus, serving as vice president of the chemistry pre professional club, president of the national residential hall honorary and is a member of the honors college.
"Because of her excellence in the classroom, drive to finding answers to agriculture’s questions, and her involvement on campus, Jorja Elliott is highly deserving of this scholarship," said Jordan Hildebrand, Program Assistant for Kansas Wheat. "We are proud to support agricultural researchers and we invest in developing a robust talent pipeline, but it's especially rewarding when we can help to develop a future agricultural researcher right here at home."
The Herb Clutter Memorial Scholarship was established through a fund in memory of Herbert W. Clutter, a farmer from Holcomb and the first president of the National Association of Wheat Growers. The history of the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers and the Kansas Wheat Commission is enriched with the memory and lasting leadership of Clutter and his family.
"Mr. Clutter's enthusiasm and leadership for the wheat industry serve as an excellent example for young adults as they take this next step in their lives," said Hildebrand. "We are honored to offer a scholarship in remembrance of Herb Clutter, and to share his passion for the industry and his community with future generations of wheat leaders."
Applicants for the annual Herb Clutter Memorial Scholarship must be incoming freshmen from Kansas who will be full-time students at any two or four-year, Kansas college or university. They should plan to pursue a career in the field of agriculture.
By Mary Marsh, Kansas Wheat Communications Intern