Panhandle Research Extension and Education Center awards two $1000 scholarships to area graduates

by Chabella Guzman

Mackenzie Liakos, left, and Braelyn Shrewsbury
Mackenzie Liakos, left, and Braelyn Shrewsbury this year’s recipients of the PREEC Student Scholarships.

May 19, 2023

Lincoln, Neb. —The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center is pleased to present two scholarships for $1000 to high school seniors in the Panhandle of Nebraska to further their education.

Scholarship winners are:

Mackenzie Liakos, a Bridgeport High School senior, will attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to major in Agriculture Education. She said after receiving her teaching certification, she plans to return to a rural area and be an agriculture education teacher and FFA advisor. 

“I grew up on a fourth-generation family farm where we raised and fed cattle,” Liakos said. “We also grew corn, dry edible beans, and sugar beets.” She grew her sweet corn, sold it in the summer, and owns a small cattle herd.

“This scholarship is important to me because it is an investment in my future. I appreciate everything the Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center does to engage youth in agriculture, and this scholarship is a way that I can help do the same by inspiring the next generation of leaders through agriculture education,” Liakos said. 

Braelyn Shrewsbury, a senior at Alliance High School, will be attending Eastern Wyoming College to pursue a degree in Veterinary Technology. She plans to return to the Alliance area and work at Alliance Animal Clinic as a Licensed Veterinary Technician. 

“My family runs a cattle operation which I spent lots of time as a kid helping out. The older I got and the more involved in sports I got, the harder it was for me to spend much time out at the family ranch, which is north of Ellsworth, Neb., She said. “FFA allowed me to compete in numerous contests giving me experiences with different career paths I may want to take.”

A visit to the vet’s office set her on the path to becoming a veterinary technician.

“I went with my dad to the vet's office to watch my horse's teeth get floated. And I saw a tech helping out, and I was very intrigued. I asked lots of questions about what they did, which led me to get an internship opportunity at Alliance Animal Clinic,” Shrewsbury said. “This opportunity showed me exactly how it would be in the real world, and I absolutely loved it.” 

The UNL Panhandle Research, Extension and Education Center Annual Student Scholarship is awarded to graduating high school seniors majoring in Agronomy, Ag Economics, Animal Science, Vet Science, Agriculture Technology, or a related degree emphasizing agriculture. 

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