Brynnen Gardner, a senior in Animal Science, had the honor of receiving first place in the individual category of the College Aggies Online Scholarship. The scholarship program had more than 275 individuals and 16 collegiate clubs enroll in the competition, representing 87 colleges and 39 states, making this scholarship highly competitive.
Throughout nine weeks, participants were asked to submit up to five agriculture-focused posts addressing the week’s pre-determined theme. Some of Brynnen’s favorite themes were dairy, beef, and animal nutrition. Participants were also asked to participate in bi-weekly challenges that required them to explore other communication forms, including blog posts, infographics, and even hosting live videos. The program also hosts multiple educational webinars for the students featuring industry professionals sharing communication experiences and current issues within the agriculture industry. Participants earned points by participating in each of the “events” and were given the opportunity to earn bonus points if the judges select their post or challenge submission as the weekly winner. In the end, the students with the highest amount of points receive the rank and scholarships in descending order, with Brynnen coming out on top this year.
Brynnen grew up on a farm in Belmont, Michigan, where she found her love for livestock. She is an active member of the Dairy Science Club, Block & Bridle, and the Salt Company. Upon graduation, Brynnen aspires to become a public policy lobbyist or a public communications specialist in the dairy industry.
Brynnen said that the scholarship program “helps teach students how to find their voice.” She also pointed out that it gives students a chance to network with other college students across the nation as well as industry professionals. She is thankful to the program for providing her with invaluable experience and professional feedback in addition to the generous scholarship. Brynnen also expressed her gratitude to her parents, professors, and friends at Iowa State for always pointing out opportunities for her to grow professionally.
Brynnen’s advice to students:
“Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone; a lot of the things you want at the beginning of your college journey change. Never be afraid to ask for help, connections, or even opportunities. The people around you always have something to teach you.”