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DMACC announces 2022-23 Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars


The 2022-23 Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars at DMACC pose for a group photo with DMACC President Rob Denson and Eden Pearson, DMACC English Professor and wife of the late Mark Pearson. Pictured are (bottom row, left to right) Brayden Weldon of Maxwell; Valerie Beukema of Bondurant; McKinze Niemeyer of Zearing; MacKinzie Hora of Ainsworth; (second row, left to right) Cole Thilges of West Bend; Eden Pearson, DMACC English Professor and wife of the late Mark Pearson; DMACC President Rob Denson; Taylor Gambell of Hedrick; (third row, left to right) Madison Leahy of Leon; Emma Carlson of Belmond; Kylie Dietz of Nashua; Lindsay Laughlin of West Liberty; (fourth row, left to right) Gavin Hunt of Columbus Junction; Caleb Freeburg of Pocahontas; Tyler Tessman of Audubon; (fifth row, left to right) Collin Grove of Holstein; Nick Feldpausch of Beaman; Mallory Behnken of Massena; (top row, left to right) Caleb Nicks of Lake Park; Lane Snedden of Grand Junction; Grant Kenkel of Dunlap; and Karter Kennebeck of Glidden. Not pictured are Anna Babcock of Gilbert; Lauren Hansen of Exira; Callie Monson of Titonka; Connor Moore of Donnellson; and Marie Vander Wilt of Pella. Photo courtesy of DMACC

DMACC, the largest undergraduate college in Iowa, is pleased to announce its 2022-23 class of Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars, which includes a total of 25 outstanding students from across Iowa. Each student is attending DMACC on a full-tuition scholarship during the 2022-23 academic year through the competitive scholarship program.

The Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars Program has awarded nearly $2.3 million in full-tuition scholarships to qualifying DMACC students since its founding prior to the 2016-2017 academic year at the College. The scholarship program was established in honor of beloved ag broadcaster Mark Pearson, who passed away suddenly in 2012 at the age of 54.

 “Some of the greatest leaders in Iowa, across a variety of career fields, have an FFA background,” said DMACC President Rob Denson. “DMACC is proud to play a role in helping the next generation of leaders prepare themselves for their careers, and we are honored to continue sharing Mark’s legacy and passion for his profession with today’s students.”

Each year, 15 scholarships are awarded to first-year DMACC students through program, including one student from each from Iowa’s six FFA districts. The scholarship recipients can enroll in any degree program at DMACC, and the scholarship will pay for the completion of their degree.

To qualify for the competitive Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars Program, students must 1) serve as president of their FFA chapter during either their junior or senior of high school; 2) apply for the program during their senior high school; and 3) commit to attending DMACC the fall following their high school graduation. The application period for the scholarship runs from Nov. 1 to March 1 each year, with scholarships awarded in April/May for the upcoming fall semester.

Introducing the 2022-23 Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars

The 2022-23 class of Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars includes the following students, who are listed with their hometowns, areas of study and year at DMACC (first year or returning):

  • Anna Babock of Gilbert, Liberal Arts, returning
  • Mallory Behnken of Massena, Biology-Transfer, first year
  • Valerie Beukema, Bondurant, Veterinary Technology, first year
  • Emma Carlson of Belmond, Elementary Education-Transfer, first year
  • Kylie Dietz of Nashua, Agribusiness, returning
  • Nick Feldpausch of Beaman, Agribusiness, first year
  • Caleb Freeburg of Pocahontas, Agribusiness, first year
  • Taylor Gambell of Hedrick, Agribusiness, first year
  • Collin Grove of Holstein, Agribusiness, first year
  • Lauren Hansen of Exira, Nursing-AAS, returning
  • Mackinze Hora of Ainsworth, Agribusiness, first year
  • Gavin Hunt of Columbus Junction, Agribusiness, first year
  • Connor Kenkel of Dunlap, Agribusiness, first year
  • Karter Kennebeck of Glidden, Agribusiness, returning
  • Lindsey Laughlin of West Liberty, Agribusiness, returning
  • Madison Leahy of Leon, Video Production, first year
  • Callie Monson of Titonka, Accounting Specialist, returning
  • Connor Moore of Donnellson, Liberal Arts, returning
  • Caleb Nicks of Lake Park, Business Administration, returning
  • McKenzie Niemeyer of Zearing, Elementary Education-Transfer, returning
  • Lane Snedden of Grand Junction, Agribusiness, first year
  • Tyler Tessman of Audubon, General Motors ASEP, returning
  • Cole Thilges of West Bend, Advanced Manufacturing Technology, returning
  • Marie Vander Wilt of Pella, Paramedic Specialist-Fire Science Concentration, first year
  • Brayden Weldon of Maxwell, Agribusiness, returning

The Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholarship was officially created in April 2016 during an announcement made in the Formal Office of the at-the-time Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. Pearson was the host of Iowa PBS’ “Market to Market” program for more than 20 years and was the host of WHO Radio’s “The Big Show.” Pearson was a Madison County farmer who also served as an Assistant Secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and was the Markets Editor for Successful Farming Magazine.

For more information about the Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholarship, visit

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