Southeast Missouri State University sophomore Killian Delaney has been named the 2020 Golden Opportunity Scholar by the American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA) and Soil Science Society of America (SSSA).
The annual award is presented for outstanding contributions to agronomy through education, national and international service, and research.
Delaney, of Franklin, Illinois, is an agribusiness, plant and soil science major with a double minor in Spanish and geographic information science. She is serving this summer as an agronomist intern with the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Natural Resources Conservation Service, through the Pathways Program, in Colfax, Washington.
“It feels amazing to be selected for the Golden Opportunity Scholar. I am very honored and would not have known about this opportunity without the help of my professors at Southeast,” Delaney said.
Delaney’s passion for native plants and natural resources was apparent when she first came to Southeast, said Dr. Indi Braden, professor of agriculture, who nominated her for the Golden Opportunity Scholar program. Delaney’s interest in agribusiness took root in high school.
It was then she started a business, Revival Seed Co., that focused on restoring the tallgrass prairie in Illinois and surrounding states, one backyard at a time, while also educating the public on the importance of the native ecosystems. Additionally, while still in high school, Delaney became a University of Illinois Master Naturalist Intern and discovered her passion for protecting native ecosystems.
Her dedication and motivation made her a perfect candidate for the Golden Opportunity Scholar program, Braden said. Many students that are nominated and selected are often from larger land-grant universities, and Delaney’s nomination is a testament to her skills and knowledge.
“Killian is a motivated student with a passion for environmental quality; she is also very involved in extracurricular activities on campus and in the community,” Braden said. “I had no doubt that Killian would compete well for this award. I am excited to see what she can do in her time at Southeast and in her future.”
The Golden Opportunity Scholars program, sponsored by ASA, CSSA and SSSA and supported by the Golden Opportunity Fund through the Agronomic Science Foundation, develops the agronomy, crops, soils and environmental science professions by strengthening the next generation of leaders in the profession. Undergraduate students from across the world in associate or bachelor’s degree programs are considered.
As part of the program, Delaney will be paired with a mentor who is a society professional with similar interests and career goals. She will also receive financial support for travel, lodging, registration and other costs related to attend the ASA, CSSA and SSA Annual Meetings. She is also eligible to receive financial support for travel, lodging, and other costs related to the ASA, CSSA and SSA Congressional Visits Day in Washington, D.C.
“As a Golden Opportunity Scholar, I hope to make connections with professionals in my field and narrow down my options for graduate school to find the best fit for my future,” Delaney said.
After graduation from Southeast, she plans to complete a graduate program in agriscience. She also hopes to serve in the Peace Corps and, one day, work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture- Natural Resources Conservation Service.