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First Four Chobani Scholars Selected to Attend U of I

June 13, 2019

MOSCOW, Idaho — June 13, 2019 — The University of Idaho is celebrating National Dairy Month with the announcement of its first cohort of Chobani Scholars.

Four Idaho students will attend the U of I College of Agricultural and Life Sciences thanks to scholarship support from Chobani. They will pursue varied careers as the next generation of Idaho dairy professionals.

The Chobani Scholars program was established at U of I in 2018 and funds four $20,000 scholarships annually. The scholarships are for Idaho students with family connections to dairy farming and who intend to pursue a career in the dairy farming industry.

Chobani has committed to fund annual scholarships at two universities — U of I and the Cornell University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in New York. The commitment by Chobani is significant as a pipeline of well-educated graduates, armed with future-forward skills and modern farm management capabilities, is necessary for protecting the dairy industry’s important agricultural legacy and ensuring its future success.

“We’re excited to welcome the inaugural class of Chobani Scholars into our family. Supporting the next generation of dairy farms is important to us, which is why we are investing in the future of farmers through this unique program,” said Mark Broadhurst, senior director of public affairs at Chobani. “Through this partnership with University of Idaho, the students will learn valuable skills that they can use to positively impact the dairy industry of the future.”

The first class of Chobani Scholars who are enrolled to attend U of I in fall 2019 include:

  • Raquel Dimond of Jerome, a graduate of Valley High School in Hazleton, plans to study animal and veterinary science: business option. Dimond’s goal is to become a veterinarian and return to serve animals in the Magic Valley. A shortage of veterinarians in Idaho makes maintaining animal health a challenge and Idaho industries rely on healthy animals to produce quality products. The dairy industry affects every single person, from the milk in cereal to cheese on pizza, Dimond said.
  • Alejandro Jimenez of Wilder, a graduate of Wilder High School, plans to study agricultural science, communication and leadership. Jimenez wants to work in the dairy industry because he sees the value it has provided to his family and community — his father works wrapping silage for local dairies. According to Jimenez, a college education will enable him to educate others about the importance of Idaho’s dairy industry.
  • Kaitlin Mirkin of Jerome, a graduate of Jerome High School, plans to study animal and veterinary science: pre-veterinary option. A fourth-generation dairy farmer, her goals for attending college include learning about modern farming, milking, nutrient management and biosecurity techniques — knowledge she can take back to the industry.
  • Avelardo Vargas of Rupert, a graduate of Minico High School, plans to study agricultural systems management and agribusiness. Born in Rupert to parents who immigrated from Mexico in 1999, Vargas began working summers taking care of calves at Idaho Acres Dairy where his father worked, then began milking full time at Whitesides Dairy at age 16. He helped support his family after his father died in April 2018 while earning a 3.9 GPA in high school. The scholarship will help him pursue a college degree with the goal to eventually operate his own dairy.

“These students are demonstrating a real commitment to the future of Idaho’s dairy industry. They are one step ahead in recognizing the value a college degree will provide them as they pursue careers in an industry that is rapidly evolving and embracing technological advances to ensure efficiencies and sustainability in production. We look forward to welcoming these accomplished young Chobani scholars to the college,” said Michael P. Parrella, dean of the U of I College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

In addition to the scholarship, the Chobani Scholars will also have an opportunity to intern with Chobani during their college careers.

Media Contact

Bill Loftus
Science writer
208-885-7694
bloftus@uidaho.edu

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at uidaho.edu