The Louisiana Agricultural Consultant’s Association has announced four 2018 scholarship winners.
Brayden Blanchard, Martinville, La., has been awarded the Ray and Dorothy Young, CPS, and RiceTec undergraduate scholarship. Christopher Addison, Hazen, Arkansas, is the winner of the PhD scholarship funded by Louisiana Land Bank. Daniel Forestieri, who was born in Ecuador, received the PhD scholarship funded by AgBiTech and Koch Agronomic Services. James Villegas, of the Philippines, was awarded the Master of Science scholarship, funded by Grady and Barbara Coburn of Pest Management Enterprises.
Blanchard participated in a dual enrollment college program at the University of Louisiana Lafayette and Louisiana Tech University while in high school. He graduated in 2016 from Teurlings High School in Lafayette, La. Blanchard was an honor graduate with a 3.98 GPA and scored a 31 on his ACT, which earned him a TOPS scholarship and a Chancellors Scholarship. He was the recipient of a Merit Scholarship from the American Society of Sugar Cane Technologists. He was inducted into the National Honor Society and the National Beta Club, and received a Presidential Award for academic excellence.
Blanchard currently is on the Dean’s List at LSU Baton Rouge with a GPA of 3.9, majoring in Plant and Soil Systems and is employed at the sugarcane research station.
He was inducted into Phi Eta Sigma Nation Honor Society. Blanchard volunteers at many charities in Baton Rouge, including Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital and Children’s Miracle Network, the Capital Area Alliance for the Homeless and volunteering for the Special Olympics.
Addison grew up in rice country
While pursuing an animal science at the University of Arkansas, he worked in wheat breeding, which sparked an interest in plant genetics.
In 2012, Addison received both the Outstanding Senior in Animal Science and the Outstanding Student in the College of Agriculture. He is pursuing a Master’s Degree in plant genetics, specifically wheat genetics. He attended the Wheat Improvement Strategic Programme where he enrolled in a course on wheat genetics at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK.
After obtaining his Master’s degree, Addison spent six months in Columbia, where he studied the role of agriculture and its socioeconomics impact. He began doctoral studies at LSU Baton Rouge in 2015. Research focus is identification and isolation of a gene that controls Cercospora resistance in rice.
In 2016, he was awarded second place in the Genomics, Molecular Genetics, and Biotechnology Oral Competition at the ASA, CSSA, and SSSA International Annual Meeting. He was also awarded a grant from the Asia Rice Foundation.
He attended a Rice Research Production course sponsored by the International Rice Research Institute of the Philippines. He has four publications, seven abstracts, and six presentations at scientific meetings.
Forestieri was born in Ecuador and attended the Zamorano Pan-American Agricultural School. In 2009, he received the Outstanding Student of
Forestieri is currently pursuing his Ph.D. with research in plant nutrient management and ag precision. Forestieri has authored and co-authored 23 publications, and has five professional meeting presentations and abstracts.
He is a member of five professional societies in agriculture. In 2015, Daniel was selected as the Outstanding Graduate Student by Gamma Sigma Delta Honor Society. In 2016 and 2017, he received the Fellowship award from the American Society of Sugarcane Technologists.
Villegas earned a BS degree in Life Sciences from Ateneo de Manila University. During his undergraduate studies, he was a research assistant and conducted molecular analyses on rice ragged and grassy viruses and was awarded the Departmental Research Award for his work on these viruses. He worked at the International Rice Research Institute in the entomology department.
In 2015, Villegas enrolled in LSU Baton Rouge to work on a Master’s degree in entomology. His thesis research is on the Effects of Soil Silicon Amendment and Nitrogen Levels on Rice Insect Pest Complex.
Villegas has six refereed publications, three Extensions publications, three manuscripts in preparation and 16 presentations at scientific meetings. In 2017, he was the recipient of the Outstanding M.S. Poster Presentation Award given by the Southeastern Branch of the Entomological Society of America.
He is a member of the Entomological Society of America, The International Society for Silicon in Agriculture and Related Disciplines and the American Field Service of the Philippines. He is a member of the LSU Entomology Club and has served as its treasurer. He participates in numerous community outreach programs, including introducing high school students and others to insects.