The Southwestern Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association (SWCMA) has announced recipients of the organization’s 12th annual Young Dairy Producer Educational Scholarships and, this year, two UW-Madison undergraduates received the award.
Carissa Brooks, a junior from Monroe, Wisconsin and Charlie Hamilton, a freshman from Cuba City, were both awarded $2,000 to put toward their expenses as they work toward degrees in dairy science.
Both students come from dairy backgrounds. Hamilton, whose family runs Hill-Ton Holsteins, says his parents bought him his first cow when he was only 15 months old. “Since then,” he wrote the SWCMA selection committee, “my involvement and interest in the dairy industry has grown with my herd.” Hamilton is now the assistant dairy herd manager at Hill-Ton Holsteins and plans to use his dairy science degree to grow, improve and “maximize the potential” of his home farm.
Brooks, a herdswoman on her family-owned Brooks Dairy Farm, also plans to pursue a career in the dairy industry. She is an active member of both the Wisconsin State 4-H organization and the UW-Madison’s Badger Dairy Club. While much of her life has been dedicated to the production side of the dairy industry, Brooks also gets some work in on the other side of the process in her job serving ice cream made from the milk of Wisconsin cows at the Chocolate Shoppe ice cream store!
The Young Dairy Producer Educational Scholarships are awarded to students based on their academic achievements, interest in a dairy career and demonstrated leadership qualities. It was created in the hopes that awardees will continue to pursue a career here in Wisconsin, specifically in the production of milk that will end up in the state’s incomparable cheese.
Based on the early results of their college careers, Brooks and Hamilton are well on their way to meeting not just the SWCMA’s goals, but also fulfilling their own personal dreams of success in the dairy industry.