Amber Phillips of Hardinsburg, Ky., has been named the Outstanding Senior Woman for fall 2013.
Phillips, the daughter of Betty and Dwight Phillips, is expected to receive a bachelor’s degree in the area of agricultural education this December. While studying in the Hutson School of Agriculture, Phillips has earned a 4.0 departmental GPA and a 3.89 cumulative GPA.
She has earned a spot on the University Dean’s List for three consecutive years, served as a Homecoming Court Candidate in 2010, served on the Agricultural Leadership Council and has been a Hutson School of Agriculture Ambassador for two years.
“Serving as an Ag Ambassador and on the Agricultural Leadership Council really benefitted me because I got to go into high school agriculture departments and build my relationships with those agricultural educators,” Phillips said.
Phillips said she has gained knowledge about general content in agriculture along with organizational and social skills and especially discipline.
She has received numerous awards and scholarships for her academic diligence, has been certified as a Hunter Education Instructor and was selected as 2012-2013 Outstanding Senior Woman in Agriculture for the Hutson School of Agriculture.
Being an active member of several campus organizations, Phillips has made time for her education outside of the classroom, as well.
She completed two internships with Farm Credit Mid-America as a crop insurance specialist as well as being employed by the Hutson School of Agriculture as a dean’s office employee and an assistant to the Racer Academy program.
Phillips currently holds a position as a full-time agricultural teacher candidate at Henderson County High School in Henderson, Ky.
Phillips said her student teaching experience at Henderson County High School has also extended her a myriad of beneficial experiences and knowledge gained.
“We took 24 students total from our agricultural program to National FFA Convention in Louisville this year,” Phillips said. “I trained a junior and a senior FFA quiz contest team, and for me, that was an awesome experience that allowed me to see my students who worked so hard, take their skills outside of the classroom and compete and succeed in a national event.”
In the near future, Phillips will travel to Belize to complete her student teaching experience.
Phillips will spend four weeks there with three other Murray State students, teaching integrated science with a focus on physics and chemistry at Corozol Community College.
“We will get that in-the-classroom experience Monday through Friday and then every weekend we take a different trip or activity to immerse ourselves in the culture there to learn more about it.”
Phillips said the group will visit four different cities in Belize such as San Pedro and Lamanai.
“I feel that this trip will help me out a lot by making me more marketable to employers by displaying my dedication to agricultural education and my willingness to step outside my comfort zone,” Phillips said. “I also feel that I will gain new teaching strategies and methods because they have a different education system.”
Phillips said in particular two of her family members have been influential on her life and have helped her achieve her success thus far.
“I’d have to say that my main motivation comes from my two younger brothers, Bradley and Austin,” she said. “I always want to set a very high example for them and show them how you can work hard for some things and the success you get from that. They always encourage me and help keep me going.”
Phillips will be announced as the Outstanding Senior Woman at the Fall Senior Breakfast on November 21. She will also be recognized at the December graduation ceremony and will give a speech on stage which she said she is thrilled about due to her love of public speaking.
“I feel that this award will also be an impressive resume builder that will help me in my future educational plans as well in my future professional life,” Phillips said.
“My long-term goals are earning my doctorate and potentially being a college agriculture professor or possibly teaching agriculture abroad in the future,” Phillips said. “I’m grateful to be able to have received this award and I am very thankful for all the professors at Murray State that have helped me and all the individuals that have contributed to my success.”
Story by Alex Mahrenholz, Staff writer