Twenty students from five states gathered on the Kansas State University campus last week to gain livestock industry knowledge and develop leadership skills. These participants comprised a 20-person cohort of the ninth annual K-State Animal Sciences Leadership Academy (KASLA) June 14-17 in Manhattan, Kansas.

Hosted by the K-State Department of Animal Sciences and Industry and sponsored by the Livestock and Meat Industry Council, the academy’s goal is to develop young leaders within the livestock industry and prepare them for a successful future in this field.

This year’s class included: Ryann Allison, Fort Scott; Neeley Bowden, Manhattan; Ashley Carr, Union City, Michigan; Shelby Clark, Copeland; Malorie Depenbusch, Udall; Meghan Eidman, Strong City; Brian Gillen, Elizabeth, Colorado; Emily Headrick, Kismet; Chad Hibdon, Princeton; Jenna Hlavaty, Olmitz; Hannah Hoffman, Udall; Hayes Hutter, Springfield, Missouri; Katherine Krauss, Russell; Alyssa Leslie, Inman; Katie Lybarger, Garnett; Bryson Meinhardt, Marysville; Andrew Noll, Winchester; Allie Portenier, Farnam, Nebraska; Jacob Schmeidler, Hays; and Victoria Zabokrtsky, Morrowville.

During their time at the KASLA, students participated in interactive leadership development and educational sessions led by faculty members from across the K-State campus. Participants completed the college experience by dining at the K-State Student Union, completing the K-State Challenge Course and staying in Haymaker Hall.

The KASLA also included a half day of livestock industry tours throughout northeast Kansas, with stops including: Hildebrand Farms Dairy, Junction City; Kansas State Capitol and WIBW Kansas Ag Network, Topeka. They also enjoyed tours of university farms and the College of Veterinary Medicine.

For their final project, the students were divided into groups during the week to focus on current issues affecting the livestock industry. Faculty mentors from the K-State Department of Animal Sciences and Industry assisted each group. Using the information they learned throughout the academy, the groups were asked to present their subject as part of the closing reception on the final day. About 75 family, friends and members of the K-State community gathered for the closing reception to honor the graduates and hear their thoughts on these important livestock issues.

You can find out more information about the academy by visiting For questions, contact Academy Director Sharon Breiner at or 785-532-6533.