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Student shows passion for marketing dairy products, receives scholarship

November 8, 2007

A UW-River Falls student was awarded a $1,000 scholarship for her passion in marketing dairy products.

The National Dairy Shrine/Dairy Management Incorporation Milk Marketing Scholarship is designed for sophomores, juniors or seniors who have “an explicit interest in milk marketing,” according to the National Dairy Shrine Web site.

Melissa Klein, a senior majoring in marketing communications with an emphasis in agriculture, grew up on a dairy farm in Lake City, Minn., and wants to pursue a career in marketing dairy products.

“It had always been in the back of my head to be involved in the dairy industry,” she said.

Klein got involved in the marketing of dairy products through the Princess Kay of the Milky Way program in Minnesota; she was runner-up for Princess Kay in 2004.

Klein heard about the scholarship through word of mouth and by seeing other recipients of the scholarship published in agricultural publications.

“I was very excited [about receiving the scholarship],” Klein said.

It was important for Klein to receive the scholarship because it meant people are recognizing her for her accomplishments, she said.

Klein transferred to UWRF in 2005 after receiving an associate’s degree in agriculture sales and service from Northeast Iowa Community College.

“I wanted to pursue this marketing degree,” she said.

Beyond working on her degree, Klein is involved in a variety of activities on campus.

She is the president of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT).

Tamia Trulson has worked closely with Klein over the past couple of years in classes and in ACT, of which Trulson is the academic advisor.

Klein has been very organized and efficient in ACT, and that is one thing Trulson admires.

“She’s a leader, and she’s a communicator,” she said.

With her strong dairy background, Klein has the ability to communicate in the dairy industry.

“It’s definitely a passion,” Trulson said.

Gregg Hadley has been working with Klein since the spring of 2006, in a finance course, through the AgStar Scholar program and through a service-learning project over a J-term trip to Mexico with two other students.

The scholarship committee made an excellent choice when they chose Klein as a recipient, Hadley said, because she will be able to encompass what the dairy industry wants to achieve, and she will be able to meet those goals.

“She’s going to be an excellent representative of the dairy industry,” he said. “[Klein is] professional and persistent.”

Klein is also the vice president of Alpha Zeta and is involved in the Association of Women in Agriculture (AWA), dairy club, WELS campus ministry, and she currently works for public affairs.

Klein has been happy about the program here at UWRF. She will be the first in her family to receive a four-year degree.

Through all of her activities and courses, Klein has never seemed to struggle beyond the usual college life.

“I have not heard her complain about things,” Trulson said. “She’s just done things very well.”

Klein is proud of her accomplishments thus far and is ready for the future.

“Knowing that I’ve done this,” she said, “I can move on to the next step, now.”