Soy Scholarship

ASA Basf 2

*Check back in the fall for 2019-20 application info

ASA, BASF Award Iowa Student with 2018 Soy Scholarship

ASA President John Heisdorffer (left) presents McKenna Nielsen (right) with the Soy Scholarship during the annual ASA Banquet at Commodity Classic in Anaheim, Calif on Feb. 28. Photo credit: Joe Murphy

McKenna Nielsen, of Audubon, Iowa, received the 2018-19 Soy Scholarship award, sponsored by BASF and the American Soybean Association (ASA).

The scholarship is a $5,000 award presented to an exceptional high school senior who excels in both academics and in leadership roles, and plans to pursue a degree in an agriculture-related field at an accredited college or university.

Nielsen plans to pursue a double major in agricultural studies related to food resources and medical studies for nursing at Morningside College. She will be a fifth generation farmer on both sides of her family.

BASF and ASA presented the ASA Soy Scholarship to Nielsen last week in Anaheim, Calif. during Commodity Classic, ASA’s annual tradeshow and convention.

“ASA is proud to once again team up with BASF to invest in future ag leaders,” said John Heisdorffer, ASA President and farmer from Keota, Iowa. “We are impressed by McKenna’s accomplishments and look forward to seeing her future success.”

Scholarship Requirements
  • Applicant is a HS Senior with a GPA of 3.00 or greater on a 4.00 scale.
  • Applicant must be the child or grandchild of a current ASA member. Student’s parent or grandparent must remain a current member throughout the tenure of the student’s scholarship. Only one award per household for the duration of the life of the scholarship will be awarded.
  • Applicant must plan to declare Agriculture (or discipline in the school of Agriculture) as an area of study at any accredited College or University of their choosing.
  • Current High School transcript must be submitted. High School transcript can be official or unofficial but must show high school GPA scale.
  • Applicant must submit most recent ACT and/or SAT standardized test score.
  • Applicant must complete an essay of 500 words or less on this subject: “What role will I play in the future of agriculture?”
  • Applicant must provide two letters of recommendation. One from an authority figure dealing directly with the student’s academic progress such as HS Guidance Counselor, Ag teacher, Advisor, etc. and one personal recommendation letter, such as FFA advisor, pastor etc.
  • Applicant must show demonstrated extra-curricular activities/leadership skills in agriculture activities.
  • Applicant must achieve a college GPA of 2.5 or higher during their first semester of freshman year, and remain in good standing with the College or University to obtain the full scholarship. (GPA will be checked between semesters). Transfer credits do not apply toward the GPA requirement.
Selection Process & Scoring

Applicants fill out an online application between Sept. 11 through Nov 20, 2017, available on

  • Eligible applicants will be scored by the below stated percentages.
  • Scholarship winner will be selected in early December by a committee of ASA Board Members and the winner will be notified thereafter.
  • The official public announcement of the winner will be made at Commodity Classic in Anaheim in March.

Selected Candidates Scoring

  • 20% HS GPA and ACT/and or SAT standardized test score
  • 20% Response to Essay Question
  • 30% Extra-curricular/leadership activities related to agriculture
  • 30% Two letters of recommendation (one academic, one personal)

Past Recipients

Academic Year Recipient Name State  College 
2017-18 Clare Sollars Washington Court House, Ohio The Ohio State University
2016-17 Kara Berrey Carrollton, Mo. Missouri State University
2015-16 Maria Kuhns Mason, Ill. University of Missouri – Columbia
2014-15 Caleb Brannon Puryear, Tenn. Murray State University
2013-14 Mason Kiehl Meadville, Mo. University of Missouri – Columbia
2012-13 Melissa Schenk Boston, Ky. Murray State
2011-12 Kevin Berkland Sibley, Iowa Iowa State University
2010-2011 Ben Bellar Howard, Kan. Kansas State University
2009-10 Brent Larson  Algona, Iowa South Dakota State University
2008-09 Laura (Stevens) Thompson Wahoo, Neb. University of Nebraska – Lincoln