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Highland Community College Agriculture Department attends National PAS Conference

Ag students pose for a photo

The 2023 National Professional Agriculture Student (PAS) Conference was held March 15-18 at Des Moines Area Community College in Ankney, Iowa. Six students from Highland Community College attended and participated in national competitions. To be able to participate in the National PAS Conference, students had to compete at the state-level conferences — held in the fall semester at Illinois State University or the spring semester at Lincoln Land Community College. 

Each student who participated prepared and submitted materials such as resumes, cover letters, career planning projects, and lesson plan materials prior to the conference.

 “The students did a great job and represented themselves and Highland Community College very well,” said Highland Agriculture Instructor Justin Ebert, who advises the Ag Club and PAS. “To be prepared to compete at the National PAS Conference, these students put in a great deal of time and effort, and it showed in their results.”

Participating HCC students received the following recognitions:

  • Hannah Visel — National Champion in the Animal Systems Career Planning Project
  • Alyssa Miller — National Runner-up in the Agricultural Education Teaching Demonstration
  • Anna Johnson — Third Place in the Livestock and Dairy Production Employment Interview
  • Sara Johnson — Fourth Place in the Agricultural Education Teaching Demonstration
  • Magen Busker — Sixth Place in the Livestock and Dairy Production Employment Interview
  • Adriana Anderson — Seventh Place in the Animal Systems Career Planning Project, Eighth Place in the Livestock and Dairy Services Employment Interview
  • Hannah Visel, Alyssa Miller, Anna Johnson, Sara Johnson, Magen Busker — College Agriculture Quiz Bowl Competition: The team made it to the fifth round and finished with a 3-2 record.

Other than the competitions at the National PAS Conference, the students participated in leadership development workshops, listened to keynote addresses from Andrew Rose of Global Development Partners and Matt Carstens CEO of Landus Corporation, attended the career fair, went dancing, and were able to attend a couple of games of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament being held at the Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines. 

The Professional Agriculture Student (PAS) Organization is a national student organization that provides opportunities for college agriculture students to experience individual growth, leadership and career preparation through competition and cooperative activities. The National PAS Organization began in 1980 and is made up of students from two- and four-year agriculture colleges from across the United States. 

For more information on the Highland Community College Agriculture Program or the PAS Organization, contact Justin Ebert at or Monica Pierce at

Photo L-R: Adriana Anderson, Alyssa Miller, Sara Johnson, Anna Johnson, Hannah Visel, Magen Busker