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Three Students Awarded Jim and Betty Sloan Scholarships


JONESBORO – Jim and Betty Sloan scholarships have been awarded to three students in the College of Agriculture at Arkansas State University.

* Ricki Nicole Gilbert, of Batesville, is a plant and soil science major who hopes to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service. She is the daughter of David and Ricki Gilbert.

* Kylie Meredith, of Brookland, is an agribusiness and finance double major who hopes to work in agricultural financing and with farm policy. She is the daughter of Tracy and Shelia Meredith.

* Skyler Boyle, of Bono, is an agricultural systems technology major who hopes to work in precision agriculture. His double minor is crop consulting with plant and soil science. He is the son of Scott and Valerie Boyle.

Gilbert and Meredith are "rising juniors" who will receive $2,000 per semester for four semesters as long as they maintain a 3.25 GPA and remain in the College of Agriculture at A-State. This is the first year that two rising junior scholarships have been awarded. 

Boyle, a rising senior, will receive $2,000 per semester for two semesters under the same criteria. The senior scholarship was available because of early graduation of the previous recipient.

The scholarship was established by the Craighead County Farm Bureau in 1979 after the death of Jim Sloan, a Jonesboro landowner and farm manager, who had served for 10 years on the Arkansas Farm Bureau board. After his widow, Betty Sloan, died in 2014, her name was added to the scholarship endowment fund. She is in the Farm Bureau's Arkansas Agriculture Hall of Fame and was an active supporter of the College of Agriculture.

This year's selection committee included Tony Bradley, president of Craighead County Farm Bureau, as well as John and Kitty Sloan, two of Jim and Betty Sloan's six children.

The Sloan scholarship covers a significant portion of tuition and fees at the Jonesboro campus. Preference is given to students from northeast Arkansas.

Gilbert was a cotton research intern at the Newport Extension Center last summer and prepared visual aids for a national Soil Health Institute presentation. She continues to work a restaurant job to earn tuition money. On her family's livestock farm, she helps raise, show and sell Barbado and Katahdin sheep as well as care for cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys. She volunteers at her church, including cataloging its library and teaching a children's class. She transferred to A-State from the University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville where she earned an associate degree in agriculture technology. 

Meredith just completed an internship in Washington, D.C., with Congressman Rick Crawford. Being a congressional intern "has given me firsthand knowledge of policy development and implementation, which I believe will serve me well no matter where I end up in agriculture," she wrote in her application. Meredith previously was an intern in Senator John Boozman's Jonesboro office and with the Craighead County Extension Service as well as a teaching assistant at A-State. She has juggled part-time jobs with her unpaid internships and campus activities, which include Collegiate Farm Bureau and the Women's Business Leadership Center. 

Boyle has developed a number of agriculture-related computer skills such as working with irrigation software. He holds a Part 107 commercial drone pilot's license. As a precision agriculture intern with Greenway Equipment in Weiner, he flew drones for weed analysis and elevation mapping. He has worked a variety of summer and part-time jobs, including baling hay and installing septic systems. He also officiates at sporting events for Jonesboro Parks and Recreation. Boyle is an honor graduate of the STEM program at The Academies at Jonesboro High School with an associate degree from Arkansas State University-Newport.

For more information about the Jim and Betty Sloan Memorial Scholarship, contact the College of Agriculture at 870-972-3944.

Kylie Meredith news

Kylie Meredith

Skyler Boyle news
Skyler Boyle

Ricki Gilbert
Ricki Gilbert