World Ag Expo® and E.M. Tharp, Inc. have teamed up again for the 16th annual “We Believe in Growing” scholarship, supporting area high school students who will be attending four-year universities to major in an agricultural field. This year’s winners, Sophia Gomes of Tulare, CA and Caleb Callison of Hanford, CA, will each receive $2,500 scholarships to be renewed up to four years, totaling $10,000 per student.
“We are excited to partner with World Ag Expo once again for the scholarship program,” said Casey Tharp, Vice President of E.M. Tharp, Inc. “E.M. Tharp sees the potential growth in these students to become great leaders in the agriculture industry and we are honored to help them achieve their career goals.” The scholarship was established by E.M. Tharp in 2007 and has helped 30 students gain an education focused in agriculture.
Sophia Gomes, a student at Tulare Western High School, plans to study Agriculture Communications and Leadership at Chico State in the fall. Her long-term goal is to work in producer relations or ag education.
Gomes has known she wanted a career in agriculture since middle school. To prepare for her future, she has been an active FFA member and served the ag community by volunteering with the International Agri-Center®, California Milk Advisory Board, and the Tulare County UC Extension Office.
“One of my favorite parts about high school were all of the opportunities”, stated Gomes. “Learning through experiences such as the Tulare County Farm Bureau Youth Leadership Program, the Dairy Princess Program, and serving on the Tulare County Junior Fair Board have helped me learn about being a more effective community member.”
Caleb Callison, a student at Central Valley Christian High School, plans to major in Agricultural Systems Management/Agriculture Systems Technology. He has been accepted to Kansas State, and will finalize his college plans once he hears from Cal Poly, Fresno State, and Texas A&M. He plans to work in Agricultural Equipment Manufacturing, Sales, and Service.
Growing up on a dairy, Callison felt he always had a calling to go into agriculture. As a 4-H member, he began a dairy heifer replacement project at the Tulare County Fair. He has continued to show dairy animals and added a beef cattle project. His future career was set when he took a shop class his freshman year of high school. He found his passion in welding and fabrication and joined the Farm Power CDE team.
“I am excited to see what I can do for the agricultural industry in the future,” stated Callison. “I know I can contribute a positive impact through my work. There are so many ways to improve our industry.”
To be considered for the scholarship, students from across the Central Valley submitted letters of recommendation, high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and must expect to graduate from high school during the 2022-2023 school year. The winners were recognized at the World Ag Expo® Opening & Awards Ceremonies on Tuesday, February 14, 2023.