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Helping With Ag in the Classroom Leads Scholar to Noble

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In the summer of 2018, I had the opportunity to intern with Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry. As an intern in the Market Development Division, I spent most of my time with the Oklahoma Agriculture in the Classroom program, encouraging teachers from across the state to implement agriculture education into their curriculum. Throughout the summer, we hosted many events for teachers to learn, hands-on, about the Oklahoma agriculture industry and the many ways they could use the resources in their classrooms.

One of these trips, “Exploring STEM and Literacy through Agriculture at Noble Research Institute,” was the highlight of my summer in Oklahoma.

Amber Oerly and her group visit the Noble Research InstituteLloyd Noble Scholar in Ag Amber Oerly’s first trip to Noble, July 19, 2018. Amber is in the green shirt on the left side of the photo.

After an eventful day of touring and learning about the many different ways the Noble Research Institute impacts the agricultural industry, I found myself reflecting on my day as I took a stroll on the beautiful trails behind the Noble Retreat Center, where our group was staying during our visit. Earlier that day I learned about the Lloyd Noble Scholars in Agriculture program for college students interested in working alongside Noble researchers and consultants to find ways to solve issues facing the industry. This opportunity sparked my interest immediately. I remember telling myself on the walk that night that I wanted to be a scholar the next summer. I spent the rest of the walk mentally evaluating how I would reach this goal and picturing myself in Ardmore, Oklahoma, the next summer.

The trail behind the Noble Retreat CenterAmber set her goal to become a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture while walking a trail behind the Noble Retreat Center last summer.

Once the summer was over, it was time for me to get back into the swing of things as a college student, as the fall semester of my sophomore year at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College was about to begin. I put the dream of being a Noble scholar in the back of my head and nearly forgot about the walk and the promise I made myself that June evening. It was not until January of this year that the thought of being a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture returned to me as I was considering what my upcoming summer would look like. After some encouragement from my roommate, I filled out the application, but was not expecting to hear back for an interview. God had different plans, I suppose.

I was ecstatic when I received the call notifying me I was selected for an interview. Interview day came while I was in Orlando, Florida, at the 2019 Commodity Classic, which I was attending as a National Corn Growers Scholarship recipient. Although I was excited for the interview, I began to realize that this potential opportunity would mean my summer would not be spent at home with my family on the farm. As I was mentally preparing myself for the video conference interview, I put these fears to the side and did my best to focus on the positive opportunities that might await. After calling a mentor for a quick pep-talk, and many words to the Lord, I did my best to diminish the fear I was feeling from affecting the video call and got myself into interview mode.

The interview with the Noble staff went far better than I anticipated. I felt very blessed and humbled when I answered the phone later and learned I was selected as a scholar for this summer.

I share that story to bring us to here, June 4, 2019, as I sit reflecting on the walk I just took on the same trails where I first made the promise to myself to return to Noble one short year ago.

The pond outside the Noble Retreat CenterThe trails at Noble welcomed Amber back for the start of her summer as a 2019 Noble Scholar.

Amber Oerly is a 2019 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture from Boonville, Missouri, where she was raised on her small family cattle and row crop farming operation. Oerly graduated from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College with her associate’s degree.