Three South Dakota State University dairy science students are recipients of prestigious 2020 National Dairy Herd Improvement Association (DHIA) scholarships.
Sanne de Bruijn, a senior dairy production and dairy manufacturing student from Vicksburg, Michigan; Calissa Lubben, a junior dairy production student from Edgerton, Minnesota; and Shelby Kuechle, a sophomore dairy production student from Eden Valley, Minnesota; are among only 14 recipients selected nationwide to be awarded the $1,000 scholarships.
Students were chosen based on scholastic achievements, leadership in school and community activities, and responses to DHIA- and career-related questions. To be eligible for a National DHIA scholarship, applicants must be a family member or employee of a herd on DHIA test, a family member of a DHIA employee, or an employee of a DHIA affiliate. The DHIA affiliate for the herd or affiliate employee must be a National DHIA member.
“Receiving a scholarship like this makes me push myself harder as a student to succeed in my studies because I know I have my friends and family, along with supporters like DHIA,” Lubben said.
At SDSU, Lubben has been involved with undergraduate research studying calf growth at the SDSU Dairy Research and Training Facility. She is also active in the Dairy Club, serving as the 2020 vice president and Dairy Camp co-coordinator. She also currently serves as a South Dakota Dairy Ambassador through Midwest Dairy. After graduating, Lubben hopes to pair her passions for nutrition and research and continue to be a lifelong learner in the dairy industry.
“Receiving this scholarship is a huge honor,” Kuechle said. “These companies are choosing to invest in the future of the agricultural industry and I just want to be a good investment for them. It motivates me to keep working hard.”
Kuechle has been involved in undergraduate research at SDSU, evaluating the effects of different feedstuffs on glucose levels of transition dairy cows. She is also a member of the Dairy Club and is currently serving as a South Dakota Dairy Ambassador through Midwest Dairy.
After completing her education at SDSU, Kuechle hopes to find a career working with the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) program.
De Bruijn was awarded a scholarship in memory of Joe Drexler, who worked for NorthStar Cooperative DHI Services (now known as CentralStar Cooperative Inc. – DHI Services).
“I am honored and incredibly thankful to receive so much support,” she said. “I truly appreciate the DHIA organization for their generous contribution to my current and continuing education in dairy.”
At SDSU, she has worked at the SDSU Davis Dairy Plant, served as a mentor for the freshman dairy seminar class, and been involved in dairy products judging, dairy challenge, dairy cattle judging and Dairy Club.
After graduating from SDSU, de Bruijn is planning to continue her education through a master’s project and apprenticeship with Lactalis in France and then come back to the U.S. to work for Lactalis American Group upon successful completion of her dairy engineering degree.
National Dairy Herd Improvement Association, a trade association for the dairy records industry, serves the best interests of its members and the dairy industry by maintaining the integrity of dairy records and advancing dairy information systems.