HAMILTON, Mich. — Michigan Allied Poultry Industry (MAPI) awarded its second-annual scholarships this month to three Michigan college students. This year’s awards went to Hope College student Megan Beekman and Michigan State University students Sydney Holtforth and Grace Schmidt. The organization awarded two scholarships in 2019 and added a third scholarship this year.
The MAPI scholarship aims to help encourage college students to pursue careers in the poultry industry and support their education, and is available to undergraduate or graduate students actively pursuing a career in a poultry-focused agricultural field or business, with the intent to provide financial assistance to future leaders in the Michigan poultry industry. Applicants must have completed a related summer internship in the year that they are applying for scholarship funds.
Megan Beekman is a junior at Hope College studying business and communications. A member of the Hope College Pull Team and Dorian Society, she has worked on Walcott Farms, her family’s poultry farm, since she was a kid. Beekman’s duties at the farm have included everything from monitoring, restocking, and supplying the necessary inventory needed for each of 10 local turkey farms every week, to maintaining the exterior of the barns and upkeep of landscape on the farms. She hopes to work for the farm after graduation, helping to run daily operations and carrying on the family legacy.
Sydney Holtforth, senior at MSU, is an Animal Science major, and member of the Avian Science Club and the Dairy Club. She completed the Midwest Poultry Consortium Center of Excellence program, raised turkeys with the Avian Science Club and assisted with MSU’s laying hen composting project. She interned at Pilgrim’s Pride in Minnesota, working with company leaders on management and problem solving as well as increasing the company’s output of cases for fast casual chain Chipotle. She will start a full-time position with Pilgrim’s Pride upon graduation.
Grace Schmidt, junior at MSU, has been active in 4-H for 15 years, serving as secretary and president on the Livingston County 4-H Council, as well as on the 4-H State Leadership Council and as Junior Show Poultry Superintendent. She worked at Munsell’s Poultry Processing in Fowlerville this past summer, processing giblets and learning about USDA policy and practices as well as avian anatomy and physiology. She joined the MSU Avian Science Club this fall and is currently studying Animal Science in MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
“Proceeds from our annual golf outing fund these scholarships, and we were thrilled by the increased support of our members this year to fund an additional scholarship.” said Allison Brink, MAPI executive director. “The poultry industry is growing all the time, with job opportunities including everything from caring for animals or animal processing, to tech and engineering jobs, as well as business careers with partners and suppliers.”