By Jennifer Dorsett
Field Editor

The final step on the journey to becoming agricultural science teachers just became a little more affordable for four college students, thanks to the Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) Student Teaching Award scholarship.

The students who received the scholarship include: Emily Merdian, a master’s degree candidate at Sam Houston State University; Matthew Nanny, a senior at Tarleton State University; Jolee Seabourn, a master’s degree candidate at Tarleton State University; and Hannah Wellman, a senior at West Texas A&M University.

“We had a great group of applicants, and these four really stood out as agriculture-savvy representatives prepared to take on the next level of leadership,” Mia Balko, TFB director of Youth and Urban Outreach, said. “Texas Farm Bureau is pleased to be able to help them on that journey.”

College students from TFB member-families who are pursuing a degree in agricultural education applied for the $2,500 scholarship last fall. The funds will be used during the spring semester for student teaching.

“As a student teacher, there’s not typically time to have another job because they are in the classroom all day. Many of these student teachers also have to travel long distances,” Balko said. “This scholarship aims to alleviate some of the financial burden for these students who are preparing for careers in agricultural education.”

Student teaching is an invaluable part of the learning experience for future agricultural science teachers. Working side-by-side with a veteran teacher is the best way to prepare for a career in the classroom , according to Balko.

There are about 2,400 full-time agricultural science teachers in Texas and 1,100 active FFA chapters. Around 10 new FFA chapters are chartered each year, leading to more teaching positions across the state.

“Agricultural science teachers are in demand, and Texas Farm Bureau wants to do our part helping students prepare to fill those roles,” Balko said.

Four scholarships will also be awarded in the fall to seniors majoring in agricultural education and going into their student teaching semester.

Click here for more information on the Student Teaching Scholarship Award. Applications are due March 1.