Those pictured are (front row, left to right) DMACC President Rob Denson; Eden Pearson, DMACC English Professor and wife of the late Mark Pearson; (2nd row, left to right) Valerie Beukema of Bondurant; Amanda Ostrem of Stanhope; Calla Langel of Le Mars; (3rd row, left to right) Tricia Kellner of Hardy; Callie Kohlwes of Colo; Mackinze Hora of Ainsworth; (4th row, left to right) Trysten Ward of Boone; Emma Carlson of Belmond; Taylor Gambell of Hedrick; (5th row, left to right) Cara Caltrider of Adair; Amy Martin of Milford; Jonah Schumacher of Pleasantville; (6th row, left to right) Trey Voeller of Prairie City, Luke Van Essen of Pella; Macy Smith of Chariton; (7th row, left or right) Carson Kelderman of Tracy, Preston Daufeldt of West Liberty; (8th row, left to right) Connor Kenkel of Dunlap; Lane Snedden of Grand Junction; (back row, left to right) Caleb Freeburg of Pocahontas and Collin Grove of Holstein. Not pictured are Mallory Behnken of Massena; Nick Feldpausch of Beaman; and Marie Vander Wilt of Pella.

Twenty-four DMACC students are receiving full-tuition scholarships through this year’s program, including 13 first-year students at the College

  • Now in its eighth year, the Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars Program was established in 2016 in memory of beloved ag broadcaster Mark Pearson.
  • Each year, the program offers full-tuition scholarships to qualifying Iowa FFA Chapter Presidents who choose to attend DMACC after high school; to date, the program has awarded nearly $2.4 million in scholarships.
  • ​Scholarship recipients can enroll in any DMACC degree program across the College’s six campuses and seven learning centers.

DMACC is pleased to announce its 2023-24 class of Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars, which includes a total 24 outstanding students from across Iowa. The group features 13 first-year students and 11 returning students, with each attending DMACC on a full-tuition scholarship during the 2023-24 academic year through the competitive scholarship program.

The Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars Program has awarded nearly $2.4 million in full-tuition scholarships to qualifying DMACC students since its founding prior to the 2016-2017 academic year at the College. The scholarship program was established in honor of beloved ag broadcaster Mark Pearson, who passed away suddenly in 2012 at the age of 54.

"Some of the greatest leaders in Iowa, across a variety of career fields, have an FFA background,” said DMACC President Rob Denson. “DMACC is proud to play a role in helping the next generation of leaders prepare themselves for their careers, and we are honored to continue sharing Mark’s legacy and passion for his profession with today’s students.”

Each year, up to 15 eligible, first-year students at DMACC are awarded a Mark Pearson FFA Leadership scholarship, including one student from each of Iowa’s six FFA districts. The scholarship recipients can enroll in any degree program at DMACC, and the scholarship will pay for the completion of their degree. After completing their first year at DMACC, Mark Pearson FFA Leadership scholars are then eligible to maintain their scholarship for a second year.

To qualify for the competitive Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars Program, students must 1) serve as president of their FFA chapter during either their junior or senior of high school; 2) apply for the program during their senior high school; and 3) commit to attending DMACC the fall following their high school graduation. The application period​ for the scholarship runs from Dec. 1 to March 1 each year, with scholarships awarded in April/May for the upcoming fall semester.

Introducing the 2023-24 Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars

The 2023-24 class of Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholars includes the following students, who are listed with their hometowns, areas of study and year at DMACC (first year or returning):

  • Mallory Behnken of Massena, Biology, returning
  • Valerie Beukema of Bondurant, Veterinary Technology, returning
  • Cara Caltrider of Adair, Education, first year
  • Emma Carlson of Belmond, Education, returning
  • Preston Daufeldt of West Liberty, Agribusiness, first year
  • Nick Feldpausch of Beaman, Agribusiness, returning
  • Caleb Freeburg of Pocahontas, Agribusiness, returning
  • Taylor Gambell of Hedrick, Agribusiness, returning
  • Collin Grove of Holstein, Agribusiness, returning
  • Mackinze Hora of Ainsworth, Agribusiness, returning
  • Carson Kelderman of Tracy, Agribusiness, first year
  • Tricia Kellner of Hardy, Education, first year
  • Connor Kenkel of Dunlap, Agribusiness, returning
  • Callie Kohlwes of Colo, Agribusiness, first year
  • Calla Langel of Le Mars, Agribusiness, first year
  • Amy Martin of Milford, Education, first year
  • Amanda Ostrem of Stanhope, Agribusiness, first year
  • Jonah Schumacher of Pleasantville, Agribusiness, first year
  • Macy Smith of Chariton, Education, first year
  • Lane Snedden of Grand Junction, Agribusiness, returning
  • Marie Vander Wilt of Pella, Paramedic, returning
  • Luke Van Essen of Pella, Agribusiness, first year
  • Trey Voeller of Prairie City, Agribusiness, first year
  • Trysten Ward of Boone, General Studies, first year

The Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholarship at DMACC was officially created in April 2016 during an announcement made in the Formal Office of then Iowa Governor Terry Branstad. Pearson was the host of Iowa PBS’ “Market to Market” program for more than 20 years and was the host of WHO Radio’s “The Big Show.” Pearson was a Madison County farmer who also served as an Assistant Secretary of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and was the Markets Editor for Successful Farming Magazine.

For more information about the Mark Pearson FFA Leadership Scholarship, visit the Pearson Scholar Page​​​​​​.


Media contact: Andrea Rouse, DMACC Agribusiness, 515-964-6866,