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Scholarship Recipients for 2015-2016

Published October 16, 2015

Now in its eighth year, the Plains Land Bank scholarship program at West Texas A&M University (WTAMU) once again identified four outstanding individuals as scholarship recipients. Students were recognized at the WTAMU Ag Day celebration September 11.

2015 Scholarship Winners for Panhandle-Plains Land Bank
2015 Scholarship Winners for Plains Land Bank
Left to right: Steve Donnell, Plains Land Bank; Scholarship Winners Laura Beth Burandt, Kelsey Dawn Mires, Duane Schrade Thompson, and Braxton Ray Sides; and Shandi Leavitt, Plains Land Bank.

The program annually awards scholarships of $1,000 each to four deserving students chosen by the WTAMU Foundation. Priority is given to students with degree plans tied to agriculture, and who are from the Panhandle or South Plains. A family connection to the association is not a criterion for the scholarship; however, we consider it an additional bonus for everyone when it does.

Laura Beth Burandt calls Perryton home. She is a Senior Ag Media Communications major; her parents are Phil and Ann Burandt. Early on, Laura Beth worked on her family's ranch and was very active in 4-H. She attended Frank Phillips College, transferring to WTAMU last year. Raised on the family ranch near Perryton, she developed an early love for agriculture, and the people involved in it. Her goal is to obtain an education and ultimately a career that can help farmers and ranchers and keep her close to her ranching heritage. This is her second year to receive the scholarship.

Kelsey Dawn Mires is a Junior Agriculture Business and Economics Major from Plainview. Her parents are Darrell and Karen Mires who farm in the Plainview area. Kelsey has been active in various academic and other organizations receiving numerous recognitions, while in high school and attending Wayland Baptist University and South Plains College. She enrolled at WTAMU in 2013. Her plans following graduation focus on the business side of agriculture as she considers a career in agriculture lending or insurance.

Duane Schrade Thompson is a Junior Agriculture Education major, originally from Pampa. His parents are Steve and Kimberly Thompson. Schrade now lives in Hart with his wife, who is a teacher. A love for agriculture and teaching developed at WTAMU, a direct result of classes and the people he associated with early on. His post-graduation goals include establishing a career in agriculture.

Braxton Ray Sides is a Sophomore Plant, Soil, and Environmental Sciences major with roots in Canyon. His parents are Brandon and Angie Sides, who farm in the Canyon area. Braxton was recognized in various academic and athletic organizations in high school, including serving as an officer. He attended Amarillo College prior to enrolling at WTAMU last year. He is a member of the golf team and continues to work on the family farm.

For some students a love of agriculture developed early on, for others, while attending the university. Either way, these recipients exhibit a desire to learn more, and do more for our industry and the people involved in agriculture. The WTAMU Foundation has done another fine job identifying worthy students for these scholarships. Plains Land Bank is proud to support these individuals and wishes them well as they continue their studies. Plains Land Bank provides long-term credit to farmers, ranchers, and agribusiness in 17 counties of the Panhandle and South Plains. Offices are located in Amarillo, Pampa, Perryton, and Plainview.