Extension News

Washington County 4-H’ers Receive Hills Bank and Trust Company Leadership Grants


AMES, Iowa – A $2,000 scholarship has been awarded to four Washington County 4-H’ers, Seneca Cuddeback, Ryan Gent, Lauren Moeller and Shelby Sieren.

The Hills Bank and Trust Company Leadership Grant is awarded to as many as 20 students each year. The recipients, who apply during their junior year in high school, attend nine hours of leadership training sponsored by Hills Bank and Trust Company during their senior year. Afterward, they receive $500 per semester for two years. The scholarship may be used at any of Iowa’s accredited universities, colleges or community colleges.

Seneca Cuddeback, Brighton, is the daughter of Larry and Kathy Cuddeback. In high school she was involved in volleyball, choir, student council, a mentoring program, National Honor Society, praise band and Bible School while sponsoring a child in Africa. She has received Academic All-Conference basketball honors, a state 4-H photography gallery award and the Star FFA Greenhand award along with being named to the gold honor roll. An Iowa Girls State participant, Cuddeback has also served as her 4-H club’s president, class vice president, FFA secretary and youth group vice president.

“Through the training program I learned that by simply being a positive role model, your good attitude can effectively rub off to others,” she said. “Being a leader is not always about being the head of an organization, but also about being a person that can listen and be open to new ideas.”

A recent graduate of Mid-Prairie High School, Cuddeback plans to attend Iowa State University to major in agricultural business and minor in horticulture.

Ryan Gent, Wellman, is the son of John and Cathy Gent. He was involved in student council, National Honor Society, and the silver cord program throughout high school while being named to the gold honor roll, receiving perfect attendance awards, earning his Iowa FFA Degree and receiving a state communications project award in 4-H. A four-sport athlete, he has participated in baseball, received All-Conference honors in basketball and golf and All-District honors in football, served as a varsity captain and been a member of the 2007 state runner-up basketball team. Gent also has served as an FFA and 4-H officer, the student body president and class vice-president.

“The leadership program has really helped me to express my ideas to others. It helped me see how people should be treated and rewarded,” he said. “The program was very beneficial and has taught me to never give up on my dreams.”

A recent graduate of Mid-Prairie High School, Gent plans to attend Iowa State University to major in engineering.

Lauren Moeller, Keota, is the daughter of David and Kris Moeller. In high school she was involved in volleyball, basketball, softball, National Honor Society, band, Physics Olympics, prom committee, art service club, a mission trip planning committee and Students Against Drunk Driving (SADD). She was a member of the 2007 and 2008 girls golf state championship teams, received a perfect attendance award, was recognized as an All American Scholar and Coca Cola Scholarship semi finalist and taught Sunday School at her local church. A county, area and state 4-H council member, Moeller was also president of her 4-H club, president of Volunteers of Washington (VOW) and a core board member and teen leader for Operation Snowflake.

“The training program has helped me become a better leader because it provided me with the opportunities to interact with other high school seniors and listen to speakers who are very successful in their personal and professional lives,” she said.

A recent graduate of Washington High School, Moeller plans to attend Iowa State University to major in chemical or civil engineering.

Shelby Sieren, Keota, is the daughter of Scott and Renee Sieren. She has been involved in student council, band, chorus, swing choir, county 4-H council and Future Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) throughout high school while serving as president of the National Honor Society and student body representative on the school improvement advisory committee. She won the state science fair three times, competed at the International Science Fair and has received numerous accolades for her science research and achievements. A varsity letterwinner in basketball, softball and volleyball, Sieren also is a recipient of the Herbert Hoover Uncommon Student award, has been awarded state speech honors, participated in the National Youth Leadership Forum and has been named an AXA Achiever for the state of Iowa.

“The leadership program has enhanced my leadership skills by teaching me the qualities I possess and how to use them to lead and work with others,” she said. “I have gained public speaking skills and learned how to be a person with a positive attitude and character.”

A recent graduate of Keota High School, Sieren plans to attend Wartburg College to major in biology.

In Iowa, the 4-H program is a part of Iowa State University Extension and headquartered on the ISU campus in Ames. For more information about 4-H, how to get involved or how to apply for a 4-H Scholarship, contact the local county office of ISU Extension.


Contacts :

Mitchell Hoyer, ISU Extension 4-H Youth Development, (515) 294-1531, mhoyer@iastate.edu

Laura Sternweis, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-0775, lsternwe@iastate.edu

Hannah McCulloh, Extension Communications and External Relations, (515) 294-9915, hmac@iastate.edu