Texas FFA News  
Stephenville FFA Member Honored as One of the Top Agriscience-Based SAEs of 2022    
Tuesday, October 25, 2022 | Author: Kyle Hampel, National FFA News Room

Many people in the agriculture industry got their start by doing the same job their parents did; but some folks, like Ryan Hess from Stephenville FFA in Texas, forged a different path in ag.

“I always came from an agricultural background,” Hess said. “It was more traditional, however, with the beef industry and raising a farm with my family. But once I got into high school, I wanted to broaden my experiences.”

As he explored FFA’s less traditional opportunities, Hess found himself studying plant systems for an agriscience fair project over the summer. Stephenville FFA gave him access to an “excellent” greenhouse, he said, and he liked it so much he turned it into a supervised agricultural experience (SAE).

“I just fell in love,” he said. “That’s [why] I chose to complete three more agriscience fairs throughout the rest of my high school career.”

Before graduation, Hess also completed science fair projects on food storage, public opinion surveys and horse health. He said three of his four projects made him a national champion in science fair competitions.

Now that he’s out of high school, Hess is majoring in agriculture communications at Texas Tech University. He said his prior work in surveys and social science inspired him to learn more about statistics and public relations.

“I’m currently wanting to find ways to communicate agriculture to the public,” Hess said. “It’s one thing to research those agriscience topics, but if us agriculturists can’t communicate that to the public, then there is that disconnect with the unity of everyone in our society.”

In terms of future plans, Hess said he’s keeping his options open for now. However, he said he’d like to keep giving back to the agriculture industry in some way, and he thanked all his Stephenville FFA advisors for helping him discover his passion.

Hess’ best advice for FFA members starting their own SAE is to never give up and always do more.

“That’s a little bit cliché, [but] I’m really grateful that I decided to take it a step further in my research,” he said. “The sense of gratification and fulfillment that completing a project gives you is very beneficial and it’s almost incomparable to the other experiences that I had in FFA.”

About American Star Awards
Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, four FFA members are honored with American Star Awards for outstanding accomplishments in FFA and agricultural education.

The American Star Awards, including American Star Farmer, American Star in Agribusiness, American Star in Agricultural Placement and American Star in Agriscience, are presented to FFA members who demonstrate outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through completion of supervised agricultural experience (SAE). A required activity in FFA, an SAE allows students to learn by doing, by owning or operating an agricultural business, working or serving an internship at an agriculture-based business, or conducting an agriculture-based scientific experiment and reporting results.

Other requirements to achieve the award include demonstrating top management skills; completing key agricultural education, scholastic and leadership requirements; and earning an American FFA Degree, the organization’s highest level of student accomplishment.

The American Star in Agriscience is awarded to the FFA member who demonstrates the top agriscience-based SAE in the nation.

Article courtesy of the National FFA Organization. 

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