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Undergraduates display virtuous qualities, on display during departmental scholarship banquet

Students hold up signs with descriptive adjectives at the AAEC scholarship banquet.
Students display signs with descriptive adjectives. Upper left: Harmony Wall with donors Winston and Marylin Samuels. Lower left: Will Jones pictured with his parents. Upper right: Olivia Leatherwood's sign is displayed. Lower right: Eli Mefford.

If you are ever asked what an agricultural and applied economics, commonly referred to as “ag econ,” student is, you can be prepared to answer: tenacious, compassionate, upstanding, logical, sincere, and a whole host of other meaningful adjectives.

These words were selected by student parents, faculty, and staff of the Virginia Tech Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics to describe undergraduate students during the department’s annual scholarship banquet. The department hosts the banquet yearly to honor students who have been selected to receive specific monetary awards given by generous donors.

In preparation for the 2018 banquet, Professor Mike Ellerbrock, the department’s undergraduate director, devised a game that would demonstrate the unique qualities of Virginia Tech agricultural and applied economics undergraduates. He enlisted the help of student parents, along with departmental faculty and staff to compile a list of adjectives to describe individual award winners. Then, during the banquet, students had to select which adjectives described them.

It made for a fun, interactive evening in true “ag econ” fashion.

“The game was a great success. The parents felt like they were a part of the banquet and it was a great time for us to showcase our students to their families and to each other,” said Katie White, the department’s undergraduate advisor.

White and Ellerbrock are in charge of planning and executing the event – a departmental tradition.

During the 2018 banquet, students were awarded scholarships to help cover the cost of books, tuition, and even study abroad experiences for the upcoming academic year. One student, Harmony Wall, will have the opportunity to spend a semester in Switzerland next year thanks to donor support. She will be the first person in her family ever to leave the United States.

“The banquet was beautiful,” said Wall. “It was great to meet the people who provided this scholarship, Mr. and Mrs. Samuels. They were very big on getting to know me.”

“AAEC is a family,” said Ellerbrock. “And healthy families encourage each other to be, and bring out, the best in everyone. That’s why we do this. And that’s why we can confidently tout our students to each other and to the rest of the AAEC family – jocular, eristic, and compassionate as we are.” 

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