Samantha Minton, a University of Arkansas at Monticello student from Star City, has been awarded the “Rising Junior Scholarship” by the Drew County Farm Bureau Board.

Minton is pictured, above right, with Drew County Farm Bureau President Kerry Hartness. Hartness presented Minton the award Wednesday at the Monticello Farm Bureau office.

The $1,000 award is given to an agriculture student at UAM that has shown dramatic improvement in academic achievement, high potential for success, and needs financial assistance.

Minton, an Agriculture Business and Finance major, was selected by the board for the the award because she “meets and exceeds” all the award criteria, according to UAM College of Forestry, Agriculture and National Resources professor Paul Francis.

Minton has a strong work and is a former member of the UAM Rodeo Team. “Tight finances made staying on the team difficult,” Francis said. “She now works long hours at Mazzio’s Pizza in Monticello to help defray her college expenses.”

Minton said she will use the $1,000 award to buy a new computer to help with her schoolwork.

Francis said the award was created to help students who might have had a rough academic start with adapting to college life. Somewhere around their junior year, they catch on and improve their grades. He said he and the Farm Bureau Board thought it would be good to recognize those students. “There are lots of scholarships for first-year students and sophomores but fewer for juniors and seniors,” Francis said.

“We try to identify a student who comes in, and maybe their ACT scores weren’t quite where they needed to be when they started college to qualify for those scholarships. Year after year, they improve their grades, work hard, get better with B’s and A’s, and need financial assistance. This award fills that gap,” Francis said. “We want the potential for student success. We want to make sure we give the award to somebody who will get their degree and is employable.”

Minton said she hasn’t started a job search yet but does know what she will be looking for.

“I’ll be looking for a job that allows me to make farm loans to ranchers and farmers who want to get their careers started and do a job they love,” she said.

Francis and retired UAM professor Robert Stark were instrumental in helping the Arkansas Farm Bureau set up the scholarship.