2012 Ag Ball Award Recipients

Posted: April 9, 2012

The 2012 Ag Ball "Of the Year Award" winners have been announced.

Ag Woman

Winner: Melissa Boess

The purpose of the Ag Man and Woman awards are to recognize an outstanding male and female senior in the College of Agricultural Sciences.  These seniors have accomplished noteworthy contributions to the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State, demonstrated qualities of an advocate for agriculture through their interactions with fellow students and the public at large, and plan to pursue a future career in the agricultural sciences.

This year’s Ag Woman has been very involved in a variety of clubs and organizations throughout the college of Ag during her time at Penn State.

Serving as vice president of both Dairy Science club and Collegiate Cattlewoman and president of the Coaly Society, she has exhibited leadership and dedication to the college.

She has participated in a number of internships and externships outside of Penn State to broaden her experiences, with companies such as Cargill Meat Solutions and Select Sire Power.

After graduation, she has taken a management position with Hatfield Quality Meats- a pork products manufacturing company.  Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2012 Ag Woman of the Year, Melissa Boess.

Ag Man

Winner: Orry Pratt

This young man was first influenced to become involved in the Penn State College of Ag Sciences by the Pennsylvania Governor’s School counselors for the agricultural sciences. Since then, he has become involved in a variety of ways. He has served in a number of executive roles in Block and Bridle including being the National Convention Chairperson. In addition, he is an Ag Advocate, serves as House Manager of Alpha Zeta, and is in the Ag Choice Scholars Program. He has also helped to coordinate Ag Day to bring awareness of agriculture to the Penn State community. After traveling to Kenya this summer, he will be dual enrolling in the United States Peace Corps and Texas A&M to obtain his master’s degree in Agricultural Development. Eventually, he hopes to work on development and humanitarian work in International Agriculture. Congratulations to the 2012 Ag Man of the Year, Orry Pratt

Educational Activities

Winner: Block and Bridle

Over the past year, members of this club have been able to be involved with a variety of educational activities. Working with CHAPS and the Equestrian Team, club members could attend the Equine Speakers Series to learn about various topics in the industry. This past fall, the club along with the Collegiate Farm Bureau hosted renowned author and researcher Temple Grandin. A behind the scenes trip to the Philadelphia Zoo as a sign of appreciation for supplying the vampire bat colony with blood. During the 2011 Pennsylvania Beef Expo, club members assisted with a Jr Beef Quiz Bowl and Skill-a-Thon for young beef enthusiasts. The largest education activity the club hosts is Little International. Here, 80 participants were involved in a showmanship and fitting competition for horses, sheep, cattle, and pigs. Participants showed their animals and attended an awards banquet later that evening. Congratulations to Block and Bridle for their outstanding educational activities

Professional/Leadership Development Award

Winner: Wildlife Society

This organization has provided numerous and varied speakers for both club members and non members alike.  Topics ranged from wildlife conservation, graduate school discussions, African conservation experience, and past internship presentations of members.

This organization also hosted Clyde Peeling of Reptileland where he discussed career opportunities in related fields.  The winner of the Professional/Leadership Development Award is the Wildlife Society.

Community Service/Service Learning Award

Winner: Sigma Alpha

This organization has donated time, money, and services to both the local community and above.  Participating in events such as Homecoming and STATE days of service, and Greek or treat, this group has demonstrated their desire to give back to the community.  As well as sponsoring a warm clothing drive and raising close to $13,000 for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia through a can tab collection.  Congragulations to Sigma Alpha, this year’s winner of the Community service/service learning award.


Winner: Block and Bridle

During fall and spring semester, this club holds their largest fundraiser- the meat sale. Members processed the hams with help from faculty and employees of the Penn State Meats Lab. Through the Prospective Club Calf Sale, club calf breeders showed and sold their calves to 4-H and FFA members for county fair and jackpot show projects. Between the show and sale, a fun auction was also held. Club members and alumni donated 87 lots of items varying from animal products to baked goods for the club to sell. Through the Blood for Bats program, bovine blood from the meats lab serves as the only source of nutrition for the vampire bat colony at the Philadelphia Zoo. During the PA Farm Show the club assisted the Pennsylvania Livestock Association at their food booth. The club fundraiser of the Year award goes to Block and Bridle.

Activities Above the Local Level

Winner: Block and Bridle

Throughout the year, this club has traveled to both University of Maine and Murfreesboro, TN to participate in national and regional competitions and conventions.  At the Northeast Student Affiliation, this club took 1st place overall in an interscholastic competition for livestock judging, a quiz bowl, and oral presentations.  This year’s winner of the Activities above the Local Level award is Block and Bridle.

Organization of the Year

Winner: Block and Bridle

This year’s winner of the Organization of the year has proven to be an extremely involved, hardworking, and passionate club dedicated to the animal sciences industries.  By actively participating in college wide events, community service activies, traveling to other universities for competitions, raising awareness for animal agriculture through outreach events, and providing livestock experience for students through the Little International Livestock exposition, Block and Bridle has exemplified what it means to be an Organization of the Year in the College of Ag.  Congratulations, Block and Bridle.