By Jerod Foster
Two more students from Texas Tech University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) recently were added to the growing list of Howard Alford Memorial Scholarship recipients.
Matt McPherson, a sophomore agronomy major from Lockney, Texas, and Alton Synatschk, a freshman agricultural economics and general business major from Springlake, Texas, received the two scholarships.
For 30 years, PCCA’s original endowment in memory of its former chairman has provided many CASNR students assistance for furthering their education. Since 1974, 147 students have benefited from the award.
Scholarship recipients are chosen by a CASNR scholarship committee made up of a representative from the dean’s office and one representative from each of the six departments within the college. Although recipients are not required to be PCCA members, they must have a desirable grade point average and possess an interest in the cotton industry.
Both recipients of the scholarship this year, however, come from cotton farming backgrounds, and they agree production agriculture could play a distinct role in their lives after school.
“Growing up on a farm, it was kind of natural for me to choose an agricultural major,” McPherson remarked about why he chose to study agronomy. He also believes the scholarship benefits the agricultural industry as well as himself.
“It keeps me going to school for one thing,” McPherson said. “Farming has seen some hard times lately, and this scholarship keeps local producers’ children on course for a good education.”
McPherson plans on graduating in May 2007, but he is uncertain of what is in store for him afterwards. He stated the opportunity to attend graduate school is an option he is considering.
Synatschk also plans on graduating in the spring of 2007 or a semester earlier. After graduation, he plans to continue farming in Springlake, but he stated there also are many possibilities in the area for those with agricultural economics degrees.
Synatschk agrees with McPherson about the positive aspects of the Alford scholarship toward his student life and the agricultural industry.
“Agriculture has always provided for us and our lifestyle,” said Synatschk. “This scholarship helps me pay for college expenses in order for me to reach my goal.”
Synatschk’s father is a PCCA member, and while Alton is not a member yet, he realizes the value of his scholarship to producers and other agriculturists as well as students like him.
“It gives back what a lot of cotton producing families put into [the industry],” explained Synatschk. He stated the scholarship holds significance for him because it comes partly from time and resources his family puts into PCCA, and it provides for successful agricultural and cotton operations in the future.