Koester reflects on being the 2023-2024 Soy Scholarship award recipient
By Amie Simpson
Reagan Koester, a Purdue University freshman majoring in agribusiness, is grateful the American Soybean Association (ASA) and BASF Corporation invested in her future through the 2023-2024 Soy Scholarship. The $7,000 scholarship, managed by ASA and made possible through a grant by BASF, is awarded to a high school senior who plans to pursue a degree in an agriculture-related field at an accredited college or university.
“The best word to sum up my feelings about receiving the scholarship is, ‘excited,’” she said. “I want to make a difference with my future and so I’m thankful they put that investment in me so that I can go to college, be a sponge, learn everything I can, and come out on the other side able to help make a difference in the agriculture Industry. The scholarship made me more passionate about agriculture and it was a great experience.”
She says she’s also grateful for her parents, Dale and Lisa Koester, for the support and guidance they’ve provided her while growing up.
The Wadesville, Indiana native is on a mission to be as well-rounded as possible. She credits growing up on a robotic milking dairy and grain farm for her work ethic and her interest in getting involved in various work experiences and leadership opportunities and becoming a social entrepreneur.
Her work experience includes writing for the Posey County News, organizing tours of her family’s farm and working for a photography business. She has been president of seven different organizations and served as the Indiana 4-H State Ambassador, representing over 130,000 youth in the state. She is also the founder of three original service projects where she’s been able to make a difference at the local and state level.
“What’s important to me is not only making that direct impact through the service work that we do, but really trying to get other youth involved so they find that passion. We’re giving back and sparking that community service gene within others,” she says. “Overall, those experiences have definitely prepared me for my freshman year at Purdue and it’s been fun to kind of start over again and get involved in different organizations here on campus and really ignite a passion for agriculture in others.”
Although Koester is open-minded about future career paths, she is interested in attending law school and going into a career in estate planning for farms and small agribusinesses. She was inspired by the difference her family’s estate planning lawyer made on the farm and the generational transfer of the business when her grandmother passed away.
“We are very fortunate that our family came out of that experience closer than ever before. I know for a lot of families sometimes that isn’t the case and so, as someone who is a family-oriented person, I would really love to help connect families in that regard. It’s a niche that not everyone understands how things can be fair and not equal and playing that role out.”
She encourages high school seniors considering a career in agriculture to apply for the Soy Scholarship.
Other advice she has is, “once you find your passion, don’t let your age play a factor in your ability to make a difference because no matter if you make a small impact or a large-scale impact, everything will work together and eventually cause a change or an improvement within the industry. Try to make a difference in the place that you are in now and because life truly is about serving others and wanting to make a difference. Although you’re in high school, you still can make an impact for change.”
The deadline for school seniors to apply online is Dec. 31. The scholarship is awarded in $3,500 increments, one per semester, for the 2024-2025 school year. The student must be a child or grandchild of a current state soybean association/ASA member, maintain successful academic progress, and remain in good standing with the college or university to receive the full amount of the scholarship. Apply at https://americansoybean.wufoo.com/forms/asa-soy-scholarship-application-202425/.