Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Announces 2023 Scholarship Recipients

Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association (MDVA) is pleased to announce its 2023 scholarship winners. The cooperative awarded $8,750 in scholarships from the MDVA Fund to a promising crop of 15 students pursuing careers in the dairy industry.   

Scholarships from the MDVA Fund will help to offset college expenses for the 2023-2024 academic year. The recipients were selected based on their resume and cover letter, answers to dairy industry questions, academic achievements, and career ambitions.  

“Since our scholarship program’s inception, Maryland & Virginia has been proud to invest over $100,000 in scholarships to benefit more than 100 future dairy leaders over the past two decades,” said Lindsay Reames, Executive Vice President of Sustainability and External Relations. “Maryland & Virginia’s scholarship program is a great way for the organization to support the children of our farmers and employees as well as illustrate the dairy industry’s commitment to giving back to our communities. We are thrilled to have these fifteen students represent our cooperative and the industry.” 

To be eligible for a Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers scholarship, students must be the son, daughter or employee of a current co-op member or the son or daughter of a Maryland & Virginia employee and attending an accredited college or university. For more information about the cooperative’s scholarship program, visit the Maryland & Virginia scholarship page 

The scholarships are awarded through Maryland & Virginia’s MDVA Fund. The MDVA Fund goes beyond scholarships to include sponsorships and product donations for dairy industry events, programs and organizations that share Maryland & Virginia’s mission of supporting our local communities. Visit the MDVA Fund page to learn more.  

The winners are as follows:   Abigail Stoltzfus from Berlin, Pennsylvania is the daughter of Andrea and Duane Stoltzfus of Pennwood Farms. Abigail will be a senior this fall at Pennsylvania State University where she is studying Wildlife and Fisheries Science, but her passion lies within the dairy industry. Prior to college, Abigail served as the 2019-2020 Somerset County Dairy Princess. Abigail hopes to go into a career on the communications side of resource and manure management and work together with dairy farmers. “As a conservation major, my goal is to keep showing consumers how hard dairy farmers work with the environment and prove they do in fact care about the world we live in,” according to Abigail.  Alex Empet (pictured) from Kingsley, Pennsylvania is the son of Richard and Dana Empet of Empet Farm. He is planning to obtain a degree in Dairy Production and Management. Alex has been active in his local 4-H program, the Junior Holstein Association, and has attained the rank of Eagle Scout with the Boy Scouts of America. He hopes to be an advocate for animal agriculture and a positive image of the dairy industry in his community, “My long-term goal would be to take over my family’s dairy farm and to continue to be a steward of the land by developing and expanding conservation practices implemented by my father and grandfather to protect the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.” said Alex.    Charles Patterson of Chestertown, Maryland is the son of Charlie and Sherry Patterson of Patterson Farms, Inc. Charles will be a senior at Purdue University this fall majoring in Agriculture Systems Management along with minoring in Farm Management and Animal Science. Charles held many leadership roles in his local 4-H club and in college he is involved in the Ag Systems Management Club and the Purdue Dairy Club. According to Charles, “I plan to return to my family’s dairy farm and make operations more efficient and profitable, which will allow for our cows to be more comfortable and healthier.”  Chloe Phillips from Staunton, Virginia is the granddaughter of Kevin Philips of North Point Farm, Inc. Chloe will be a freshman this fall at Blue Ridge Community College where she will attend for 2 years before planning to transfer to Virginia Tech. She is pursuing a degree in Agriculture Education with a minor in Dairy Science. She is the current President of the FDHS FFA chapter where she has participated in numerous contests all while still able to put in hours at the farm and tending to her show stock. According to Chloe, her true passion in life is “educating other people about agriculture.”   David Smith III from Lexington, North Carolina is the son of Reid and Leigha Smith. David will be a freshman in college this fall pursuing a major in Agribusiness Management. David is active in his local Youth Group as well as the President of his high school FFA chapter. As for his future plans, David said, “My goal is to return to my family farm and to help make the business grow and continue producing a healthy and delicious product.”   Emory Bewley of Susquehanna, Pennsylvania is the granddaughter of Joseph Pavelski of JoSan Farm. She will be a Junior at Penn State University and is studying Animal Science with a focus on Dairy Science. At school, she is active in the Dairy Science Club, a member of Alpha Zeta- Morrill Chapter, a professional Agricultural Fraternity, and on the Club Softball team. Emory has explored various parts of the dairy industry with her numerous internships, from veterinary services to her upcoming one in heifer shows and sales. She hopes to use all this knowledge to spend her career working with dairy farmers and “to improve management practices and environments for dairy cattle.” said Emory.  Joseph Coltrane from Pleasant Garden, North Carolina is the fourth generation at Coltrane Dairy, LLC. Joseph is the son of David and Amy Coltrane and has been dual enrolled at the University of Mount Olive and Randolph Community College all while still being a Senior in high school. He is active in FFA and his local 4-H, where he has been inducted into the 4-H Honor Club. As for his future plans, Joseph said, “I plan to return to my family’s dairy farm. I eventually want to take over the farm and run it with my two brothers.”  Keegan Stuver of Frederick, Maryland is the son of MDVA employee Todd Stuver. Keegan is majoring in Economics with a minor in Agriculture Science and Technology and will be a Junior this fall at the University of Maryland. Keegan is involved in several finance clubs and is currently an Equity Officer with the Student Government Association. Keegan’s interest in agriculture is guiding his path after college, “I hope to contribute to the dairy industry by studying the science of how dairy products travel from animals to customers and being able to innovate the process with the intent of keeping quality of dairy products high,” said Keegan.  Laurel Gray from Stony Point, North Carolina is the daughter of Andy and Amy Gray of Grayhouse Farms. She will be a senior at North Carolina State University this fall majoring in Agriculture Business Management with a dual minor in Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Animal Science. Laurel was involved in FFA and 4-H and has won numerous contests at the state and national levels. After college, Laurel plans to return to her family’s dairy to work on the farm. “I will apply my knowledge, skills, experiences, and education to further our farm’s efficiency, sustainability, and environmentally friendly practices. I want to gain a platform on social media displaying the daily activities and life on a dairy farm to advocate for the dairy industry and share our story,” said Laurel.   Lemuel Coltrane from Pleasant Garden, North Carolina is the fourth generation at Coltrane Dairy, LLC. Lemuel is the son of David and Amy Coltrane and has been dual enrolled at the University of Mount Olive and Randolph Community College all while still being a Senior in high school. He is active in FFA and his local 4-H, where he has been inducted into the 4-H Honor Club. “My love for the land, animals, and consumers has grown over the years as well as my passion for farming. This passion has led me to desire a career in the agriculture field,” said Lemuel.  Lilly Leadingham of Sharpsburg, Maryland is majoring in Animal Science at North Carolina State University, where she will be a sophomore next fall. She is an employee at Palmyra Farm LLC in Hagerstown, Maryland, and has worked for several other dairy farms helping with all aspects of the operations. Lilly was active in FFA and served in various leadership positions within the program. “I hope to gain knowledge that will prepare me for a career working directly with cows. I hope to give back to the industry that inspired me to pursue my passions,” Lilly said.   Regan Jackson of Boyce, Virginia is the daughter of Kevin and Laura Jackson, who is an MDVA employee. Regan will be a sophomore this fall at Louisiana State University, where she is studying Nutrition and Food Science with a minor in Biology and hopes to attend medical school after completion of her bachelor’s. She has been active in dairy cattle showing, 4-H, and FFA. Regan is an active member of the Virginia Junior Holstein Association and The Virginia Jersey Cattle Club. According to Regan, “Once a practicing medical doctor, I plan to use my respected status and advocate for production agriculture, especially the dairy industry, which is such a big passion of mine. I hope to influence and help educate other doctors and earn the trust of parents and adolescents. I want to ensure all that real milk is safe and provides thirteen essential nutrients.”  William Coltrane from Pleasant Garden, North Carolina is the fourth generation at Coltrane Dairy, LLC. William is the son of David and Amy Coltrane and is double majoring in Agribusiness and Animal Science at the University of Mount Olive. William earned an associate degree in the Science of Agriculture while a senior in high school. He was active in FFA, 4-H, and the North Carolina Junior Holstein Association where he held leadership roles. He is a member of the Young Farmers and Ranchers Club and the Animal Science Club at The University of Mount Olive. “By earning a degree in the agriculture field, my goal is to return to the family farm with improved technology to make our business more efficient. Young farmers like me will need to ensure that there will always be a market for milk. I plan to do my best to make this happen,” said William.  Nyla Wooten from Knightdale, North Carolina will be a Senior next fall at North Carolina A&T State University majoring in Laboratory Animal Science. Nyla is a student milker at the university’s dairy farm, who is a proud member of MDVA. At school, she is active in the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences Club, and the NC A&T Honors Program. Nyla currently serves as the Vice President of the newly chartered Dairy Science organization. After graduation, she plans to go to veterinary school, “Hopefully I will work mainly on a dairy farm and be able to solely focus on cows,” said Nyla.   Zackary ‘Jalen’ Brooks from Greensboro, North Carolina will be a Senior next fall at North Carolina A&T State University majoring in Animal Science. Upon graduation, he plans to attend veterinary school to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Jalen is a student milker at the university’s dairy farm, who is a proud member of MDVA. Jalen currently serves as the President of the newly chartered Dairy Science organization and the Poultry Sciences Club. According to Jalen, “I want to become a livestock veterinarian and focus on dairy cattle to ensure that dairies have healthy cows that produce milk efficiently and that dairies maintain healthy herd care habits.” 

Jalen and Nyla are studying at North Carolina A&T. The University is one of just over 100 higher education institutions in the United States that identifies as a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). It’s the only HBCU with a working dairy in the country. A member of MDVA since 2006, our cooperative is proud to engage students and farm employees in various leadership opportunities. You can read more about the N.C. A&T farm here. 


Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative is a community of more than 900 dairy farm families in 10 states passionate about cultivating dairy goodness and bottling fresh Maola brand milk and dairy products. Our farmer-owned cooperative owns five dairy processing plants that process more than three billion pounds of milk annually. Our diverse portfolio of dairy products are then distributed to consumers in the United States and ingredients customers worldwide. Our cooperative is a leader in sustainability, partnering across the supply chain to deliver sustainable solutions to our member farms. We take pride in supporting the educational and nutritional needs of the communities in our milkshed through our MDVA Fund. For more information about Maryland & Virginia, visit: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 1, 2023 Contact: Virginia Funk, or 540-333-5856 Student Photos: Available upon request.