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Sharla Friend, left, and Matthew Jones

STLCC Students Among Top Performers at Agricultural Conference

Sharla Friend, left, and Matthew Jones

St. Louis Community College students Matthew Jones and Sharla Friend were among the top performers at the Missouri Postsecondary Agricultural Student (PAS) Organization State Conference.

In November, Jones, Friend and Biotechnology Club advisers Beth Elam Michaud and Heather Allen traveled to North Central Missouri College in Trenton for the conference. Jones and Friend are students at the Florissant Valley campus.

“By competing against other community college students, the PAS Conference provides more opportunities for leadership and career development, and for networking with industry and fellow students across the state,” said Michaud. “Our Biotechnology program students primarily participate in employment interview, public speaking and career planning and progress competitions, all judged by agriculture industry partners of PAS.”

Participating students receive critique and encouragement from industry professionals on prepared materials, interviews and speeches, as well as the state and national recognition within PAS that comes with placing first, second or third in each competition.

“Attending the PAS Conference was a great opportunity to interact and learn from professionals within the agriculture industry. It was a chance to explore unfamiliar areas in my area of study while contributing to the diversity of this field,” Jones said. “Competing in the events allowed me to practice skills not taught in a typical educational curriculum. I look forward to seeing what opportunities lie ahead in my career path.”

If chosen to represent Missouri in a given category at the national level, Jones and Friend will compete against other community college students in a more rigorous environment, and will interact with national industry judges.

The National Postsecondary Agricultural Student Organization provides members with experiences for individual growth, leadership and career preparation. PAS aspires to be the premier leadership and career development organization serving college students who are interested in agriculture.

PAS includes 1,400 members from 62 chapters located in 18 states. It is open to students in agriculture, agribusiness and natural resources postsecondary programs at approximately 550 institutions in each state.