To encourage the industry’s future leaders, Cargill scholarship programs give students the opportunity to learn and grow.
Michele Pitlick still remembers the moment she stood before her teachers and classmates at Tiffin High School in Tiffin, Iowa, to accept Cargill’s US $1,000 Scholarship for Rural America. For Pitlick, who grew up on a farm in the 1980s, the scholarship felt like a door-opening opportunity. At the time, her family was paying to put her two older siblings through college, which placed major strain on household finances. “It was absolutely a tough time for farmers, and it was not easy for my parents,” Pitlick recalled. “They made a lot of sacrifices for our future. There was nothing more important to them than getting college educations.”
The Cargill scholarship money helped Pitlick attend the University of Northern Iowa and land a Cargill internship. Eventually, she secured a full-time job with the company, where she is employed today as a finance project manager. In the decades since Cargill established its scholarship program, thousands of students around the world have told similar stories of success.
Introduced in 1986, the program was a response to the financial pressures on many farm families caused by the rising costs of post-secondary education. At the program’s outset, US $1,000 scholarships were awarded to 100 students in rural regions across 20 states. By the 1990s, Cargill had contributed more than US $1 million, helping 250 students nationwide.
In time, the initiative evolved to reflect Cargill’s global footprint. The company’s Global Scholars Program today benefits college-bound students in several countries. The redesigned scholarship selects 200 university undergraduates each year from Brazil, India, Russia, China and the United States. Recipients are chosen based on academic excellence and leadership potential in food, agriculture and risk management.
“I am thrilled to be part of a program that promises to help make more friends across continents, thereby presenting me with a global perspective that is so important in today’s world.”— Vrindaa Somjit, Cargill Global Scholar, India
To promote networking and making personal connections, Cargill gathers Global Scholars Award recipients in their countries and at the company’s corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, Minnesota, for two annual events. These functions serve as forums for students to meet their peers from across the globe, receive one-on-one mentorship from Cargill executives and meet other industry leaders.
By nurturing the leadership potential of high-achieving students around the world, the Cargill Global Scholars Program positions the industry’s next generation for success. With connections around the world and sharpened problem-solving skills, these students are prepared to confront head-on the critical, complex issues of feeding the world’s growing population.