WALSAA Outstanding Sophomores

Describe your dairy background
Jessica Mehre, Glenbeulah, WI
High School: Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School

My parents milk 50 cows in our century stanchion barn. I’ve always enjoyed farm work, from calves to fieldwork, but became especially invested in the operation during high school; By graduation, I had creating my own mini-enterprise of 8 head of dairy cattle.

Mena Schmitt, Sun Prairie, WI
High School: Sun Prairie High School

I am currently involved on my family’s farm where we raise around four hundred breeding age to springing aged heifers. Additionally, I have developed a small herd of elite Milking Shorthorns and Holsteins.

Emily Franke, Oakfield, WI
High School: Oakfield High School

I grew up on my family’s 500-acre cash crop operation and loved showing animals every year at the county fair. I became involved in the dairy industry when I worked on a family friend’s dairy farm my junior year of high school. Through this experience, I decided I wanted to pursue a degree in Dairy Science.

Dawson Nickels, Watertown, WI
High School: Watertown High School

I grew up on a small-scale farmette on the outskirts of Watertown, WI. Though my patents sold the milking herd before I was born, I have been very active within the dairy industry. Through the Jr. Holstein Association and Wisconsin 4-H, my sister and I have utilized the opportunities presented to us in these organizations. Currently, we operate a boarding business; we raise and prepare registered dairy cattle for professional exhibition. This endeavor has taught us business intellect, the value of hard work, and independence.

Summer Henschel, Chilton, WI
High School: Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School

My involvement with dairy started in 6thgrade when I leased my first Holstein heifer to show. Since then, I have continued to find different ways to involve myself including FFA, breed organizations, and jobs on dairy farms.

What is your involvement on campus?

Mehre: My involvement on campus includes student orgs such as Badger Dairy Club, Crops Judging and Evaluation Team, Saddle and Sirloin,  Collegiate Farm Bureau, Association of Women in Agriculture, and the CALS Ambassador Program. I’ve held several leadership positions in theses org as well. I am also involved in Dr. Heather White’s Dairy Nutrition lab and formerly held a position in UW-Madison’s Sweet Corn Breeding Program.

Schmitt: I am currently serving as Association of Women in Agriculture’s Breakfast on the Farm Food co-chair. As well as being actively involved in both Collegiate Farm Bureau and Badger Dairy Club.

Franke: I am involved in the Association of Women in Agriculture, Badger Dairy Club, Collegiate Farm Bureau, and Dairy Judging. I have served the past year as Association of Women in Agriculture Treasurer and am looking forward to serving as Vice President next year. I was also elected to be Outreach Coordinator for the Badger Dairy Club for next year, as well as will be serving as a CALS Ambassador.

Nickels: I am active in multiple organizations on campus. I am the Activities Officer for the Badger Dairy Club and was a Selections Co-Chairman for the 19th Badger Invitational Sale. I also a member of Badger Aviators and was active in Collegiate Farm Bureau. Additionally, I am a brother at Alpha Gamma Rho. There, I am the risk manager, house steward, Interfraternity Council Delegate, philanthropy financial chairman, and a class budget representative.

Henschel: On campus, I am an active member of the Association of Women in Agriculture, Badger Dairy Club, Collegiate Farm Bureau, Collegiate FFA, and Pre-Veterinary Association. Looking forward to next year, I am excited to serve as an officer in most of these organizations. I am also a research assistant in the Hernandez Laboratory in the Dairy Science Department.

What does receiving this award mean to you?

Mehre: As one of ALSAA’s Outstanding Sophomores, I feel reassured that I’m on a path to success. My activities and involvement on campus not only give me purpose and enjoyment but, as is indicated by such an award, will effectuate future opportunities. Such an investment is both humbling and encouraging; this award bestows a profound goal to realize the potential of progress that WALSAA has recognized.

Schmitt: Having the honor to receive this award means that industry professionals recognize my passion and dedication to agriculture. As well as my leadership that has surrounded my participation in the dairy industry truly inspires me to continue to give back to agriculture all the unique and vast opportunities it has given me.

Franke: I am genuinely honored to receive the WALSAA Outstanding Sophomore Award. To be one out of ten sophomores in the entire College of Agricultural and Life Sciences to receive this is extremely humbling. It allows me to be rewarded for all of the hard work I have put forth in my various student organizations as well as academically.

Nickels: This award is humbling. My experiences have taught me to earn what I take credit for. Nothing is more delegitimizing than boasting or taking something for credit that was never earned. Success is a product of honesty and hard work.

Henschel: It is an honor to be recognized for my involvement within CALS. This award will allow me to keep focusing on taking full advantage of all the opportunities CALS and the university have to offer.

What are your plans for this summer?

Mehre: I will be interning for Quality Liquid Feeds in a TMR quality assurance project. Stationed in Boise, Idaho, I will complete farm visits and follow-ups to make recommendations on how to increase the uniformity and delivery of their TMR but implementing QLF products and services.

Schmitt: This summer I have the absolute privilege of being an assistant dairy herdsman at the Meadow Star Farm of Riverview, LLP in Pennock, Minnesota. Within my internship, I will be completing rotations such as maternity, nutrition, reproduction, and much more.

Franke: I will be serving as the Milk Marketing Intern at Grande Cheese Company in Fond du Lac, WI. Some of my duties include helping producers with herd health plans and standard operating guidelines, helping to train haulers and farms with a mobile manifest application, and taking and delivering of samples, along with scoring teat ends at farms.

Nickels: This summer, I will be interning at the Great Northern Land and Cattle Co., Inc. I will be involved with the presale preparations of sale cattle, marketing, and advertising.

Henschel: This summer I will be staying in Madison to complete a research internship in the Hernandez Laboratory. My main role will revolve around sample tests and analysis for a large ongoing study of subclinical hypocalcemia and calcium homeostasis.