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Chobani partners with N.C. A&T to award agricultural scholarships



Food company Chobani has partnered with North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to award agricultural students over $125,000 in scholarships.

N.C. A&T, the nation’s largest historically Black college, is able to award students $20,000 each in scholarships, in addition to a summer internship with the Greek yogurt company. Alongside this scholarship, $45,000 was spent on the students’ travel, equipment, and experiential learning activities while engaging in their internships.

“In partnering with N.C. A&T, our goal is to develop a pipeline of talented candidates where students leverage their degrees in an impactful way,” shares Mike Avery, head of diversity, equity, and inclusion at Chobani. “We look forward to not only supporting an excellent education, but to welcome a set of high performing students into our organization that exhibit diversity of thought and experience.”

Chobani, the nation’s largest Greek yogurt producer, has a mission with a deep-rooted commitment to equity. Their mission is to make high quality and nutritious food accessible to more people while elevating our communities and making the world a healthier place. Expanding from food to their consumers, they are a champion for diversity, inclusion, and equity within their policies and leadership.

By creating this scholarship, Chobani desires to funnel students from diverse backgrounds into a career in agriculture while alleviating their financial burdens of attaining their destined agricultural career.

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Image by zimmytws, Shutterstock

Melanie Howell, a Chobani Aggie Scholar and a biological engineering student in N.C. A&T’s College of Agriculture and Environmental Science (CAES), shared that this scholarship is an opportunity to fully engage in her academic pursuits.

“I am grateful to be one of the first recipients of the Chobani Scholarship,” she said. “This opportunity provides me with financial stability so I can focus on finishing my senior year strong.”

Howell adds that being a Chobani Aggie Scholar gives her an inside look into the Chobani company as an opportunity to scope out a potential employer in the future.

Antoine Alston, associate dean of the ag college, comments that the Chobani program supports Howell’s testimony to the incredible scholarship opportunity.

The students awarded the scholarship “will be in a position to apply for internships and employment with the country’s top-selling Greek yogurt maker,” Alston said.

As hoped by students and faculty of N.C. A&T CAES, after students graduate, they will be on a pathway to being considered for a full-time employment opportunity with the company.

The following students have been deemed Chobani Aggie Scholars in the Chobani Aggie Scholar Program for the 2022-23 school year:

  • Melanie Howell — N.C. A&T CAES Biological Engineering Major
  • Kaylen Sexton — N.C. A&T CAES Biological Engineering Major
  • Faith Jefferson — N.C. A&T CAES Agribusiness and Food Industry Management Major
  • Destiny Knotts — N.C. A&T CAES Agribusiness Major
From left, Faith Jefferson, Kaylen Sexton, Melanie Howell and Destiny Knotts (Image courtesy of N.C. A&T)

Chobani Aggie Scholars Program is one of the largest scholarships for current CAES students. With it, such a large and historic partnership creates change for the students of CAES and the future of the agricultural industry.

N.C. A&T CAES isn’t the only institution to be supported. Chobani’s mission to create an equitable pipeline for agriculture students from diverse backgrounds actually began with other institutions. These institutions include Cornell University and the University of Idaho by awarding eight $20,000 scholarships to historically underserved students interested in agriculture, dairy, food science, and/or food entrepreneurship. More than a dozen students have been awarded at both institutions’ agricultural colleges.

In 2018, Chobani dedicated itself to sponsoring $1 million over five years to underserved students in the dairy industry. But today, their focus has widened.

“… so in the beginning, it was narrow, just students who came from dairy background, now we are again, opening the door wider to students from a lot of different communities who want to pursue a lot of different areas in ag and food,” said Mark Broadhurst, vice president of Corporate Affairs at Chobani.

Today, Chobani foresees their scholarship pledge to total more than $1.4 million by 2027. Chobani’s generosity will continue to help support the next generation of leaders in all areas of agricultural science and engineering.

AGDAILY AFT DIversity in Agriculture

Bre Holbert is a past National FFA President and studied agriculture science and education at California State-Chico. “Two ears to listen is better than one mouth to speak. Two ears allow us to affirm more people, rather than letting our mouth loose to damage people’s story by speaking on behalf of others.”

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