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Where Are They Now? Scholarship Winners 15 Years Later

We catch up with scholarship recipients after 15 years to see how the Farm Credit scholarship benefited their college education and what they are doing today.

Sarah Barkhimer

Sarah Barkhimer

Communications Intern

Farm Credit of Western Arkansas has awarded almost $400,000 in scholarships since 1996. These scholarships help assist talented young people across western Arkansas with achieving their educational goals. Fifteen years ago, it was no different as a group of exceptional individuals received scholarships from Farm Credit. Today, these 2008 scholarship recipients give back to their communities through their careers, families, farming operations, volunteer service, and more. Join us as we find out where they are now.

Lucas Bauer with his two children.

Lucas Bauer

Lucas Bauer grew up in Scranton, Arkansas, on his family's turkey and cattle farm. In addition to running a farming operation, his dad was also a Marine. Lucas always knew he wanted to serve in the military but wasn't sure in what capacity. He decided to use the military to capitalize on his education, both planning for the Navy and his future after.

Lucas attended the University of Arkansas Fort Smith, where he received his degree in mechanical engineering. In 2010, while attending UAFS, he joined the Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate Program (NUPOC). NUPOC is a scholarship program offered by the U.S. Navy for college students in STEM fields who wish to serve as commissioned Navy Nuclear Officers upon graduation. After graduating from UAFS in 2012, Lucas attended Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island. He then went to San Diego, California, where he served on two ships. After San Diego, Lucas went to South Carolina for nuclear school, eventually serving on an aircraft carrier in Virginia.

Lucas Bauer receiving a Farm Credit scholarship in 2008.

Lucas is thankful for receiving the Farm Credit scholarship in 2008. It helped him with his everyday expenses during his freshman year at UAFS, which allowed him to settle in and focus on his studies. In 2012, after graduating from UAFS and while serving in the Navy, Lucas moved back home to Scranton. Since then, he has purchased land and built a house where he lives with his two children. Today, he works at Arkansas Nuclear One in Russellville as a Senior Reactor Operator.

Kevin Morrison with wife, Emily, and daughters, Avalise and Norah.

Kevin Morrison

When Kevin Morrison was in college, he was sure of one thing: he wanted to pursue a degree in agribusiness. After that, he wasn't quite so sure. Growing up, Kevin's family was heavily involved in the cattle industry. His grandfather was a cow/calf producer and cattle buyer, and by the time Kevin was eight, his family had started producing seed stock. It was around this time that Kevin began to show cattle. Kevin attributes his passion for cattle and agriculture to the exposure he got throughout his childhood.

Kevin attended Arkansas Tech University, where he double majored in agribusiness and animal science. Kevin says that the Farm Credit scholarship helped him with the operating expenses of college, such as books, room, and board, that would have otherwise been a financial burden.

Kevin Morrison receiving a Farm Credit scholarship in 2008.

After graduating, Kevin began working for Ag-Pro, a certified John Deere dealership. Shortly after, Kevin was promoted to location manager at just 24 years old. Ag-Pro was later acquired by Greenway Equipment, and in 2020, Kevin became the location manager for both the Conway and Morrilton dealerships. Kevin oversaw both locations' parts, service, and sales departments until he joined the Farm Credit of Western Arkansas team in April 2023.

Kevin now serves as the agriculture loan officer in Farm Credit's Danville office. His position at Farm Credit allows Kevin to be closer to home, his cattle operation, and his family. Kevin, his wife, Emily, and their two daughters, Avalise and Norah, live on their 400-acre family cattle operation in Onyx, Arkansas.

"Being able to come and give back to the organization that gave so much and invested in me when I was younger is a big opportunity. An opportunity I'm grateful for."
Kevin Morrison Danville Loan Officer & 2008 Farm Credit Scholarship Recipient
Hayley Jernigan with her husband, Cameron, and son, Jhett.

Hayley Jernigan

Hayley Jernigan grew up on her parents' cattle ranch in Ozark, Arkansas, which they still operate today. Hayley was heavily involved in FFA throughout high school, competing in prepared public speaking through the national level and serving as the 2008-2009 Arkansas FFA State Secretary.

Hayley attended the University of Arkansas, where she graduated with bachelor's and master's degrees, both in agricultural communications.

Hayley worked through an assistantship with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service while pursuing her master's degree. This work continued after graduation, where she helped develop a training program for agents across the state to reach the public with technology.

A little over eight years ago, Hayley and her family moved to northwest Arkansas, where she secured a job helping develop content for the Walmart Academies, a training program for Walmart. She specialized in building fresh training content in bakery, produce, meat, and deli departments and extending the shelf life of agricultural products. Today, Hayley is the director of new market expansion for Walmart Data Ventures.

"I didn't see my current career as an opportunity. That's what I love about ag. It teaches you skills that are transferrable to other industries."
Hayley Jernigan 2008 Scholarship Recipient

Hayley is thankful for receiving the Farm Credit scholarship in 2008. She feels grateful that it opened a door for her and created opportunities. After receiving the scholarship, Hayley continued to work hard toward her educational goals. "If you're given an opportunity, it's your job to put in the work to give back to the investment in you," she says.

Hayley lives in Rogers, Arkansas, with her husband, Cameron, and their son, Jhett. Her mother, Kim Hogan, serves on the Farm Credit of Western Arkansas Board of Directors.

Chrisie Smith with her husband, Kaleb, and sons, Paden and Paxton.

Chrisie Smith

Chrisie Smith grew up in Gentry, Arkansas on her family's cattle ranch, Schwerin Farms. Growing up, she was involved in 4-H and FFA, competing in dairy judging, Leadership Development Events, and showing Brangus cattle. Chrisie attended Arkansas Tech University, where she obtained her degree in agribusiness.

While pursuing her degree, she always knew the ranch was where she was meant to be. Rather than going to college and disappearing from ranch life for a few years, Chrisie made it a point to return home every weekend to help and work cattle. "I wanted to continue to be a part of it," she says. "I didn't want to walk away from it and try to come back four years later without knowing what was happening."

Chrisie Smith receiving a Farm Credit scholarship in 2008.

Chrisie says that she feels blessed to have received many agriculture-related scholarships while in college, including the Farm Credit scholarship. She graduated college debt-free with some savings from scholarships and 4-H projects. With these savings, Chrisie purchased a truck and some cattle of her own right out of college.

After graduating, Chrisie moved home, where she and her husband, Kaleb, were able to acquire property adjoining her family's ranch, Schwerin Farms, Inc. Today, they both work full-time with her parents. Chrisie enjoys continuing to do what she grew up doing, just in a larger-scale management position today. Together, Chrisie and her husband have two boys, Paden and Paxton. They are both thankful they can raise them the same way Chrisie was, wholly supported by the ranch. They enjoy spending their days together and teaching their kids about ranch life and hard work.

Kendrea Zellers with her husband and children.

Kendrea Zellers

Growing up, Kendrea Zellers was surrounded by agriculture. Her parents ran a cattle and poultry operation in her hometown of Casa, Arkansas. At the early age of six years old, Kendrea decided to join 4-H, where she continued as an active member until joining FFA in high school.

Kendrea Zellers receiving a Farm Credit scholarship in 2008.

After graduating high school, Kendrea attended John Brown University, receiving her bachelor's degree in communications. Kendrea is thankful for the Farm Credit scholarship she received in 2008. It allowed her to continue to pursue higher education without having the burden of debt and student loans. Shortly after receiving her degree, Kendrea married her husband, and they moved to Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Kendrea worked as a Financial Aid Counselor at Oklahoma Wesleyan University for three years while pursuing her master's in community mental health from Oklahoma State University.

Kendrea now works as a Child and Family Counselor in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where she lives with her husband, son, and daughter.

She says, "Even though my work isn't directly related to agriculture, growing up on the farm has directly impacted my work ethic, making me a hard worker in my current field."

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