Congratulations to the 2023 Minnesota 4-H scholarship recipients! These 15 outstanding 4-H youth and alumni across Minnesota stood out among approximately 110 applications.
Three $1,500 scholarships for entering freshmen attending one of the University of Minnesota campuses or an institution within the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System (formerly MnSCU) with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better to qualify. Selected recipients may reapply annually, up to three times.
- Cal Luebke, Goodhue County – Cal has been an active member in 4-H, starting as a Cloverbud in kindergarten. He is a valuable junior leader who develops relationships and serves as a role model to younger members. He also serves as a council representative and models strong work ethics to his club. He has been involved in many projects, with a particular passion for shop, swine and sheep, which has resulted in multiple 4-H awards in livestock showmanship. Cal plans to major in business at Minnesota State University or Rochester Community Technical College. His goal is to own his own business and to take over the family farm with the dream of one day being able to run the land.
- Megan Nicholls, Anoka County - Megan has been involved in multiple leadership roles throughout her 4-H career, having held every officer position in her club and serving as a 4-H state ambassador for the past two years. She has been awarded the 4-H I Dare You Award for leadership growth and the 4-H Key Award for outstanding contributions to her club and community. Megan’s passion is to help people by improving health equity in rural areas and healthcare for children of all ages and backgrounds. Megan plans to attend Bemidji State University to pursue a biology degree, followed by medical school to become a rural pediatric doctor.
- Sophia Poquette, Goodhue County – Sophia has been actively involved in 4-H since she was very young. She has held many leadership positions in the Asperlund-Ever-Readies 4-H Club, including vice president, reporter, Cloverbud leader and, currently, president. Sophia has also served as a Goodhue County 4-H Ambassador and 4-H regional camp counselor. Sophia’s project interests in goats, sheep, rabbits and llamas have led to her participation in the Minnesota State Fair Belle Grant Program for the last two years. She is also part of the livestock judging team for Goodhue County. Sophia plans to attend college to major in communications and minor in psychology with the goal of working in media management or advertising for a sports team or an agricultural brand.
David E. Pace and Valerie Halverson Pace Leadership Scholarship
Three one-time $1,000 scholarships awarded annually to either an entering accepted freshman or a continuing sophomore, based on leadership experiences in 4-H, school and community. Awarded funds must be applied toward educational expenses at an accredited college or university within the United States of America.
- Brooke Swanson, Benton County – Brooke has been an active member of the Cornerstone Clover 4-H Club for 10 years, where she has served as president and vice president. She has also held leadership roles as a 4-H state ambassador and 4-H camp counselor. Brooke’s project interest in fashion garnered notable awards in Benton County and the Minnesota State Fair. Her interests expanded into the legal field through involvement in 4-H government and legal projects and taking on leadership roles in her club. Brooke’s ultimate goal is to make a positive impact on the lives of others by becoming a civil attorney specializing in advocating for the rights of sexual assault survivors. She is currently attending the University of Minnesota Duluth with an intended major in political science and marketing.
- Carly Olson, Big Stone County – Carly has been actively involved in the Eager Beavers/Clever Clovers 4-H Club since she was a Cloverbud in kindergarten. She has served in club officer roles from secretary to president and has been an active county ambassador for six years. She has been recognized for her contributions to her club and community with a 4-H Key Award and for her leadership growth with an I Dare You Award. Carly plans to attend North Dakota State University as an animal science and agri-business major to reach her goal of becoming a ruminant nutritionist or livestock feed sales representative. She is passionate about living in her rural community and dreams of expanding her goat herd, opening her own feed store, and supporting the farming economics and the livelihood of area livestock producers.
- John Otto, Wright County – John has been involved in 4-H from a young age and has been heavily influenced by 4-H’s experiential learning approach and leadership-building opportunities. He has served in formal leadership roles, including Wright County 4-H Ambassador, residence camp counselor and Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador, and informal roles, such as mentoring younger poultry project members. A standout experience for John has been planning and executing the Building Leadership and Understanding (BLU) conference with his fellow Minnesota 4-H State Ambassadors. John’s goal is to learn and teach those around him the skills needed to succeed in the engineering field. He wants to be an active, experiential learner and employee who can present solutions for the future. His college path will take him to Iowa State University, where he will pursue a degree in mechanical engineering with an emphasis on agriculture.
- Kari Matejka, Martin County
Ada and Helmuth Schroeder Scholarship
Seven one-time $1,000 scholarships awarded to present or former Minnesota 4-H members who will be entering their freshman year at a Minnesota college or university based on scholastic achievements, community and 4-H involvement, leadership roles and positions.
- Amber Hidde, Crow Wing County – Amber is an active member of the Black Bear 4-H Club, where she developed her passion for animals, particularly horses, through her 4-H projects. Amber has had many triumphs, including winning fourth place in the State 4-H Horse Show and earning the 2019 4-H Equestrian Drill Team State Champions. She has brought her leadership to the 4-H horse project development committee and initiated a mentoring program for inexperienced members. Amber is also a riding instructor in the Mounted Eagles Therapeutic Horsemanship’s riding program for people with different disabilities. She was voted the organization’s volunteer of the year. Amber plans to major in animal science at the University of Minnesota Crookston. Her goal is to use her knowledge to improve animals’ lives and start an animal shelter with an emphasis on large animals.
- Conner Lohmann, Olmsted County – Conner has been an active High Forest Chippewa Champions Club member for 11 years. He has served as the club historian, secretary, vice president and president. He has also served on the Olmsted County Executive Council as youth-at-large and president. Conner has won the Grand Champion award in Olmsted County for his llama/alpaca project. He shares his success and expertise by serving as an instructor in the lease program run by his parents’ alpaca farm and teaching younger members how to show their animals successfully. When the county fair was canceled due to COVID, he organized the Olmsted County Animal Showcase to give 4-H youth the opportunity to show their animals. Conner will attend Winona State University with a major in exercise science. His goal is to become a personal trainer and eventually manage a gym or open his own to help others succeed in their healthy lifestyle goals.
- Gabriel Lawver, Blue Earth County – Gabriel has been a member of the New Horizons 4-H Club since he was 5 years old. In high school, he discovered a passion for working with numbers and gained hands-on learning in 4-H by serving as the club treasurer. He has also served as a youth advisor on the Blue Earth County 4-H Advisory Board and received Grand Champions for his rabbits, photography and gardening projects. Gabriel will attend Bethel University to major in accounting and finance. He would like to develop his skills to work in banking and accounting to help rural communities start and grow their agribusinesses.
- Kloe Wadd, Waseca County – Kloe has been active in Waseca County 4-H for over 12 years, holding several club officer roles and serving as a Waseca County 4-H Ambassador for the past five-plus years. She was awarded a 4-H Key award in 2021 for significant leadership to her club and community. Kloe’s biggest accomplishment in 4-H has been the experiences and knowledge she has gained with her livestock projects in swine, beef, and sheep. She plans to attend the University of Minnesota Crookston and graduate with a degree in agribusiness, agricultural communication and animal science. Her goal is to pursue a career in the agriculture industry and help her father continue to farm their family farm.
- Logan Smith, Traverse County – Logan has served as the Traverse County 4-H Federation President for the past three-plus years. Serving as a leader in the county federation and his club has helped him hone his leadership skills. His 4-H club serves as the managers and caretakers of the Wheaton Community Garden, which ensures that the land is used for food production. Logan has presented projects at the Minnesota State Fair, including his food and nutrition project, which won the Purple Award. Logan’s goal is to become a social studies teacher in a rural Minnesota school district to serve as a leader in the schools and the communities. He plans to attend Bemidji State University with a major in social studies education.
- Misty Geerdes, Martin County – Misty has been a highly involved 4-H member for over 10 years. She has served as the East Chain 4-H Club Vice President, 4-H camp counselor, Martin County 4-H Ambassador, Martin County 4-H Federation Treasurer, and, most recently, Minnesota 4-H State Ambassador. She has been awarded the 4-H I Dare You Award for leadership growth in 2022. The most important thing 4-H has taught Misty is to dream big and not be afraid to explore new things. Misty will be attending Minnesota West Community and Technical College to major in cosmetology. She plans to pursue a career in cosmetology and eventually own her own salon. She also plans to become a para-professional to work with children in elementary schools in the special education department.
- Ryan Nyblom, Isanti County – Ryan has been an active member in 4-H, serving as an Isanti County 4-H Ambassador and as a camp counselor and youth director for the East Central Regional 4-H Camp. His effective involvement in the planning and preparation of the regional camp earned him the “To Make the Best Better” Debbie Swanson Memorial Award. Ryan has a love of animals and farming and has a passion for electronics sparked by his 4-H electronics projects. He has received his Associate of Arts degree through Anoka Ramsey Community College’s PSEO program and plans to continue his college education through Anoka Technical College’s Construction Electrician program. His goal is to serve an apprenticeship and, once fully certified, become a master electrician with the consideration of pursuing a business degree to run his own business.
- Tabitha VanHorn, Stevens County
CCI Innovation in Agriculture Scholarship
A one-time $1,250 scholarship to be used toward education expenses at a post-secondary institution in the United States. Applicants must intend to pursue a degree in agriculture, with a preference for students pursuing a degree in agronomy, soil science, horticulture, plant science, Ag economics, agribusiness or a closely related field.
- Andrew Burns, Sibley County – Andrew is an active member of the Transit Trailblazer 4-H Club, where he has held the offices of president and treasurer for multiple years. He has been a critical part of the GFW Pioneer Express FFA Chapter for the past five years, serving as the Minnesota FFA Region VII President and the chapter’s FFA student advisor. He has left his mark by making his community a better place through extensive community service and leadership activities. Andrew’s goal is to take over his family’s farm to become a successful farmer and business owner. He will attend South Dakota State University with a major in agricultural science.
- Alexis Steckelberg, Steele County
Searles Family Scholarship
A one-time $750 scholarship for a present or former Olmsted County 4-H’er who will be entering their freshman year of college, based on scholastic achievements, community and 4-H involvement, leadership roles and positions.
- Conner Lohmann, Olmsted County – Conner has been an active member of the High Forest Chippewa Champions Club for 11 years. He has served as the club historian, secretary, vice president and president. He has also served on the Olmsted County Executive Council as youth-at-large and president. Conner has won the Grand Champion award in Olmsted County for his llama/alpaca project. He shares his success and expertise by serving as an instructor in the lease program run by his parents’ alpaca farm and teaching younger members how to show their animals successfully. When the county fair was canceled due to COVID, he organized the Olmsted County Animal Showcase to give 4-H youth the opportunity to show their animals. Conner will attend Winona State University with a major in exercise science. His goal is to become a personal trainer and eventually manage a gym or open his own to help others succeed in their healthy lifestyle goals.
Extension Development and Minnesota 4-H are committed to continuing development efforts for college-bound 4-H youth and alumni scholarships. If you know of a person or business who might sponsor a scholarship, please contact Jane Johnson, Chief Development Officer of Extension Development and Minnesota 4-H, at 612-626-3717 or email@example.com.