Eight Delmarva Students Benefit from 2017 DPI College Scholarships

Eight Delmarva students intent on starting careers in Delmarva's chicken industry will receive $2,000 scholarships through the Delmarva Poultry Industry, Inc. (DPI) College Scholarship Program. They were among 27 high school, college, and graduate students who applied for scholarships in 2017.

"We had an uncommonly high number of scholarship applications this year," said Bill Satterfield, DPI's executive director. "Because so many of them merited support in their academic efforts, our Scholarship Committee decided to go above and beyond the seven grants we gave out in 2016. We're heartened by the interest this demonstrates in the chicken industry, and we wish these scholarship recipients success as they work toward their degrees. Their talents will afford them opportunities in what is a $3.2 billion-a-year industry in our region."

Altogether, this year's group of applicants attend more than two dozen colleges and universities around the country. They are pursuing a wide range of majors, from business to computer science to agriculture. Since 1985, DPI has awarded more than $108,000 through its College Scholarship Program. The scholarships are funded by DPI's College Scholarship Golf Tournament, taking place this year on June 7 at Green Hill Country Club near Quantico, Md.

The following students were awarded scholarships:

Dana K. Dittoe of Frederica, Del., who is pursuing a masters degree in agriculture with a concentration in poultry science at Mississippi State University. Ms. Dittoe's research focus is on antibiotic alternatives in poultry diets; previous research work she pursued focused on litter management techniques. "Dana is one of the hardest-working individuals I have advised," a Mississippi State professor wrote in recommending her for the scholarship.

Kate E. Bagshaw of Seaford, Del., who will pursue a bachelors degree at the University of Delaware. Ms. Bagshaw intends to focus on computer science as her major, and said that experience could help her in a poultry career working on automated production in processing plants. Ms. Bagshaw has volunteered extensively through her church and through Sussex Technical High School.

Lena N. Berry of Wyoming, Del., who will begin attending Franklin & Marshall College later this year, pursuing a bachelors degree in environmental science. Ms. Berry told DPI her career goals included working to monitor highly pathogenic avian influenza in wild birds to prevent the disease from infecting commercial chicken flocks. Ms. Berry is active in 4-H and received numerous awards while in high school for academic and volunteer work.

Ariana Gaston of Townsend, Del., who will attend Colorado State University this fall. Ms. Gaston, in her application, said she is "an aspiring educator pursuing a degree towards a career in both animal science and agricultural education." As a Middletown High School student, she participated in FFA and Women in Science Education (WISE), and her FFA advisor praised the "passion for agricultural literacy" she demonstrates.

Samantha L. Kirk of Laurel, Del., who is enrolled at Delaware Technical Community College and Wilmington University, pursuing a bachelors degree in business management. Ms. Kirk's career goals are to launch a career with a poultry company – she has interned at Perdue Farms – while staying involved in her family's chicken raising business at the same time. "Samantha is an advocate for farming and the poultry industry," one of her college instructors wrote in a letter of recommendation, and she "upholds the values one admires in college graduates today."

Cody M. Morris of Parsonsburg, Md., who is pursuing a bachelors degree in agriculture at one of three universities. At a family-owned farm, Mr. Morris has worked in the poultry operation, and said he hopes to put his college degree to use making poultry house maintenance simpler through automation. "I will make it my job to help other poultry farmers on Delmarva," Mr. Morris wrote in applying for a scholarship. An accomplished student at Parkside High School, Mr. Morris has also given more than 290 hours of community service.

Tiffany Pham of Pittsville, Md., who is a freshman student at Princeton University pursuing a degree in biology. While a high school student at Parkside High School, Ms. Pham – whose parents are chicken growers – completed an internship with University of Maryland Eastern Shore professors, studying eutrophication in Maryland's coastal bays. The research, she wrote, interested her in discovering ways to reduce the environmental footprint of the chicken industry.

Joshua D. Simpson of Selbyville, Del., who is attending Delaware Technical Community College and will go on to complete a degree in biology at the University of Delaware. An instructor at DTCC said Mr. Simpson has "patience, persistence and precision" and seeks a "deep understanding of scientific concepts." Mr. Simpson wrote in his application he hopes to use his education to be an advocate for Delmarva's poultry industry.