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The Agriculture Ambassadors, a leadership program at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO), have partnered with Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States (RMHC) as a way to volunteer their time for a worthy cause. The mission of RMHC is to create, find, and support programs that directly improve the health and wellbeing of children. Their cornerstone program provides a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children (0-18yrs.) and ill- expectant mothers being treated at nearby hospitals. “Our partnership with NEO affords us (Ronald McDonald House Charities) the opportunity to directly impact the development of servant leadership in these young men and women selected as ambassadors. Their development as leaders is key to the future of organizations such as ours and the mission we serve,” said Executive Director Annette Thurston.

The Agriculture Ambassadors program was incepted in 2007 as a way for the agriculture department to gain additional representation by NEO students who rise to the top as leaders within the department. The group is only for sophomores who are carefully chosen based on their application, leadership skills, integrity and character during their freshman year. Agriculture Ambassadors consist of students majoring in agriculture and are selected based on their academic success (grade point average), community involvement and reputation amongst peers to represent the department. These students are advocates for agriculture and participate in events including national and state FFA conventions, Aggie Olympics, student body government meetings, and other various events throughout the year.

Agriculture instructors Alisen Anderson and McKenzie Nygren cosponsor the leadership program. “The Agriculture Ambassadors partnering with the Ronald McDonald House will provide valuable opportunities for our students to touch the lives of others with meaningful volunteer work,” Anderson said. “We want our students to be exposed to the real world and recognize that cramming for a test is trivial in comparison to what families are facing while staying at the Ronald McDonald House.”

The following students will serve as NEO’s Agriculture Ambassadors for 2015-16: • Nick Abernathy – Quapaw, Okla. • Dallis Beckfield – Sturgeon, Mo. • Cheyanne Bennett – Wyandotte, Okla. • Anneka Carr – Farimount, Ga. • Charity Coberley – Neosho, Mo. • Maekayla Cole – Vinita, Okla. • Amber Cox – Glencoe, Okla. • Mikaela Fringer – Madera, Calif. • Katelin Hyman – Fouke, Ark. • Jennifer Isgrigg – Pea Ridge, Ark. • Emilee Martin – Paragould, Ark. • Hanna Metzger – Braggs, Okla. • Johanna Richardson – Gerald, Mo. • Harli Sasser – Vinita, Okla. • Dekota Souders – Rosebud, Mo. • Deekota Williams – Walters, Okla. (From left) McKenzie Nygren, NEO Ag Ambassador co-sponsor, Alisen Anderson, NEO Ag Ambassador co-sponsor, and RMHC Executive Director Annette Thurston

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