COLUMBUS - Two Darke County residents were honored as being in the Top 20 Seniors at The Ohio State University (OSU) in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).
Maria Goubeaux of Versailles and Justin Rismiller of Rossburg received the award. They both graduated from Versailles High School in 2007.
According to Dr. Jill Pfister, assistant dean for academic affairs at OSU’s CFAES, approximately 50 students typically submit an application each year for the Top 20 Seniors award. Each application is reviewed by a faculty member from each department, two student representatives from CFAES Student Council and two student representatives from the CFAES Banquet Steering Committee.
Pfister explained the criteria for the honor involves academics, leadership, service and study abroad experience. She said 335 students graduated from CFAES this spring. For 2011, 21 seniors were actually chosen to receive the award.
“I was honored and humbled,” said Goubeaux of being selected as one of the Top 20 Seniors. “I had the opportunity to be on the Top 20 with a lot of other great students. I have grown to respect and to value their friendship so it was really good to be a part of that outstanding group of students—I was excited.”
“I was not surprised that they were Top 20 students,” said Dena Wuebker, agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor at Versailles High School who taught Goubeaux and Rismiller. “Both were top notch individuals in high school and continued throughout college. It’s a huge honor. They both have a very bright future ahead of them.”
Rismiller grew up on a beef and grain farm with his parents, Jim and Gayle. He was involved in showing steers at the Great Darke County Fair and was active in 4-H and FFA, serving as an FFA officer for three years in high school.
Goubeaux’s parents, Bob and Doris, also raised beef cattle and did grain farming when she was growing up. She was very active at the chapter level of FFA in high school and went on to receive her State FFA degree and the American FFA degree.
During their senior year at Versailles, Goubeaux was FFA president and Rismiller was FFA vice president. At that time, Goubeaux served as a state officer in the role of District 5 president for the west-central part of Ohio.
“Being in a good ag program from Versailles and really enjoying that experience, I knew I wanted to go into some aspect of agriculture,” said Goubeaux. “Being a state officer made me realize education was the route I wanted to go.”
Goubeaux was an agricultural and extension education major and Rismiller was an agribusiness and applied economics major at OSU.
While at OSU, Rismiller was involved on campus in a variety of activities including college ambassadors, National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) and Alpha Zeta Partners, an agricultural honorary fraternity. He was also a four-year member of the Ag Business Club and was a Homecoming court member his senior year.
Goubeaux was also equally busy during her time at OSU working on the college ambassadors team, being involved in the Agricultural Education Society and participating in livestock judging shows. She was also the co-chair of the Scarlet and Gray Ag Day, which is comparable to the Versailles FFA chapter’s Ag Day, Goubeaux explained, but is five times larger.
Following graduation this spring, Goubeaux signed a contract in June to become the agricultural education instruction/FFA advisor at Fairlawn High School in Sidney. She said there are approximately 50 students in each grade, and she has been busy working with students over the summer at the Shelby County Fair and helping them with their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE).
After interning with Cargill in Sidney for the past two summers, Rismiller was offered a job following graduation. He works as a merchant at Cargill, and his primary functions are in soybean origination and meal sales. Interacting with customers is a key component of his position.
“On a basic level, food is something we need on a daily basis—I think that’s neat,” said Rismiller. “To be able to work with the producer and the consumer is something I really enjoy. I really like being the link in the supply chain between the farmer and the consumer.”
“If anyone is interested in a great university, I highly recommend OSU as a place to look at,” he said. “It’s been a great experience.”