MOSCOW, Idaho — Sept. 19, 2023 — The Chobani Scholars program has awarded a total of $100,000 in scholarships to five Magic Valley area students who are newly enrolled at University of Idaho and are poised to make meaningful contributions to agriculture.
Chobani, the maker of America’s No. 1 yogurt brand, operates one of the largest yogurt manufacturing facilities in the country, located in Twin Falls, and has offered the scholarships to U of I students since 2018. Priority is given to students who intend to pursue a career in food production and the dairy industry and may not have the financial means to attend college on their own. Scholarships are spread across four years.
“We are so proud to welcome this new cohort of students into the Chobani Scholars program. We are extremely impressed by their early passion and determination to advancing the future of agriculture,” said Rebecca Dittrich, vice president of impact at Chobani. “The longstanding partnership between University of Idaho and Chobani has opened up beautiful opportunities to advance ag research and to invest in the students bringing forth the promise of the future of good food. We look forward to continuing our commitment and investment in the Magic Valley and the indelible mark made by University of Idaho.”
The new cohort of scholars includes students pursuing a variety of degrees from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the College of Natural Resources and the College of Engineering.
The students all have strong ties to Idaho agriculture, and most of them were raised on family-owned dairies. For one scholarship recipient, branding and vaccinating cattle on the family ranch was a favorite childhood activity. Some of them have been active in FFA and 4-H, including raising and showing 4-H animal projects and two are currently Idaho FFA State Officers. A couple of them became familiar with state politics by working as pages in the Idaho Senate.
All of them are enthusiastic about food production and meeting the challenge of maintaining a safe and sustainable food supply.
The new cohort brings the total number of U of I Chobani Scholars to 21.
“The Chobani Scholars program is a truly transformational program for our students,” said Michael P. Parrella, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “Chobani’s generosity has made the difference for many students who might have otherwise been unable to pursue higher education. From my experience, our Chobani Scholars often become some of the most engaged undergrads in our college. We are proud to partner with Chobani in ensuring the future of Idaho agriculture is in the capable hands of future leaders like these.”
About the 2023 Chobani Scholars
Megan Taber of Shoshone is double majoring in animal and veterinary science: production and mechanical engineering. “From dinner table conversations about dairy pricing and the future of the industry to hands-on experience in production, the dairy industry permeates every aspect of my life. I want to design heavy equipment that gets farmers home faster and even more efficiently than others. I also want to work with companies and organizations like Farm Bureau and Land O’Lakes so I can help reduce the red tape that comes with farming.”
Melody McHan of Gooding is majoring in animal and veterinary science: business. “As an aspiring veterinarian, I learned from an early age the importance of animals in our lives and the powerful addition they can be in increasing our quality of life. Ever since I was a little girl, I have noticed that spending time with animals speaks to my soul and gives me the clarity I need in life to see my way forward. My room is full of skulls, science books and all things animal.”
Kamille Mirkin of Jerome is majoring in agricultural economics: agribusiness. “Attending the University of Idaho will allow me to work with a wide variety of industry professionals to develop a better perspective of many aspects of the agricultural industry. I will be able to gain hands-on experience with the professors and University of Idaho staff. I am also looking forward to the opportunities the many campus farms and labs have to offer.”
Josiah Knapp of Hagerman is majoring in agricultural science, communication and leadership. “Right now in Idaho there is a need for discussion between the farmer and the consumer to help moderate what the farmer needs and the farmer wants and what the consumer needs and the consumer wants, and this is a conversation that I want to be a part of. I want to build my career in agricultural policy, agricultural law, environmental law — in that realm.”
Madeline “Zara” Burgoyne of Rupert is double majoring in water science and management and forestry. “Working at the Department of Environmental Quality this summer in the Twin Falls area I found a new love for water resource management. In the Snake River area, water is one of the most important resources since it is desert country. Farmers and ranchers live and die by it and so does everyone else, so much so that the Snake River Adjudication has been going on since 1987. For me this degree is about protecting Idaho’s resources in water, as well as protecting the people who use and need this water in order to eke out a living.”