Recognizing and rewarding the pursuit of an advanced degree can help motivate graduating high school students to achieve a successful career path. Champion Seed partners with crop farmers to recognize deserving graduates as they prepare to make the next step in their educational journey.

Since 2018, Champion Seed has shown support to the next generation who will continue to change the face of agriculture by awarding $1,000 scholarships to two high-school seniors. Applicants do not need to be related to a crop farmer, but they must be sponsored by one.

Students wishing to pursue ag-related majors and degrees are strongly considered, however, all eligible applicants are welcome to apply. A panel of agricultural experts selects the winners based on creativity, logic and thoroughness of an assigned 500-word essay.

Past scholarship recipients applied their passions and remained motivated to achieve academic success. One of these recipients was Tanner Henningsen. Like many college students, Tanner’s career aspirations changed as he explored new opportunities. But his agricultural upbringing taught him the power of determination and consistency — offering him skills necessary for a successful life.

“I started college on a different track, but receiving the Champion Seed scholarship motivated me to keep working hard and studying,” said Tanner. “It was also a reminder that others see enough potential in me to reward my past accomplishments and help me chase my future goals.”

In October 2022, Tanner took a leap of faith and became student manager for the Iowa Hawkeyes Women’s Basketball Team.

“I was hesitant to take the job at first because it would be such a big change, but I realized that every time I had taken a leap of faith before, it had paid off,” recalls Tanner. “Since then, the team advanced to the National Championship game two times in a row. I have learned time management skills and how to work with others to achieve a common goal.”

Working with the coaches, athletes and other managers gave Tanner the confidence to develop strong relationships beyond the confines of the basketball court. The experience also closely aligns with Tanner’s chosen career path. He is currently pursuing a career as a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

“My interests in this field have evolved through the University of Iowa’s curriculum, realizing the parts I’ve enjoyed the most have been the anatomy and physiology of the human body. I’ve also enjoyed being around elite athletes through my work with the women’s basketball team. I feel PT is the perfect combination of everything I could want in a career,” says Tanner.

The Champion Seed agriculture scholarship program is designed to reward and help graduating high school students as they prepare for college. In the case of Tanner Henningsen, this recognition helped instill motivation to pursue new opportunities.