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Spring 2021

This semester was unlike any other for our chapter. COVID-19 is still effecting the ways in which we go about our daily lives, our school life, and life within our chapter. As things begin to wind down for the summer we wanted to keep everyone updated on our semester and all of the things the chapter has accomplished in the last four months.

2021 Executive Team

We held elections for our new executive team in December and would like to introduce these ladies to you! They have been working hard all semester and some of their goals are to increase sisterhood bonding, bring more Agriculture Orientation back to the chapter, and to grow the chapters numbers.

President: Nicole Inch

"Hello. My name is Nicole Inch and I am from Fort Thompson, SD. I am from the Beta Iota pledge class. I joined as a sophomore during the term of Megan Knutson, and, while terrified of her, always really admired her as our president. Following her with Kayla and Kyra, I saw two more wonderful leaders who I hoped to follow in the footsteps of. I made my official decision to run for president because I wanted to steer our chapter back into the direction of agriculture. One of the things I chose Ceres for is our dedication to Ag Orientation, so I hope that with my last term, we can work back towards building back up our reputation as a diverse ag chapter!"

Vice President: Kristy Cullinan

Kristy is also a senior at SDSU and she is majoring in natural resource law enforcement. Kristy joined Ceres in 2019 and is a member of the Beta Lambda pledge class. Kristy has grown to love Ceres over the last two years and ran for the position of vice president to "help move the chapter in a positive direction and create a better sense of community between sisters."

Treasurer: Erica VanDenheuvel

Erica is a junior here at SDSU and she is a psychology major. She joined Ceres in 2019 and is in the Beta Lambda pledge class. Erica spent a semester as assistant treasurer / scholarship chair before stepping into the position of treasurer. She choose to run for that position and be apart of the executive team because "I wanted to help the chapter as much as I could and felt that this position would be the best use of my skills to help with the chapters needs."

Secretary: Mya VonBank

Mya is a Junior here at SDSU. She also joined Ceres in 2019 and is in the Beta Lambda pledge class. Mya wanted to be secretary "to be able to have a leadership position that has a greater impact on the chapter."

Left to Right: Mya VonBank, Kristy Cullinan, Erica VanDenheuvel, Nicole Inch

Class of Beta Xi

We held our recruitment in early February this semester and had two nights of events. We did a tie dye social and then had a hot cocoa and conversation night for girls to learn more information about the chapter. We gained two wonderful sisters this semester!

Meet Amanda Kokett

Amanda grew up in Albany, MN and is a sophomore here at South Dakota State University majoring in early childhood education. Growing up Amanda was involved in 4-H, national honor society, swimming, and since coming to college she's joined Phi Upsilon Omicron and Ceres. She joined Ceres "because I wanted to meet new people and get more involved. I wanted to be apart of something that would help me grow. Because I am not an ag major but grew up around ag I was looking for something that would allow me to still connect to the ag world even if I hadn't picked that as a career."

Meet Megan Leyda

Megan is from Sioux Falls, SD and is a sophomore here at South Dakota State University majoring in animal science. Megan is involved in swine club, knitting club, and little international. She joined Ceres " to make

more friends with an agriculture background and interest."

Left to Right: Amanda Kokett, Megan Leyda

Our bid day was held in February as well and the theme was Candyland. Thank you to Kristy Cullinan and the rest of the recruitment committee for all their hard work in planning this event!

Little International

Little International was held during the weekend of March 26th and 27th this year. Ceres had good representation with members competing in horse, swine, and the meats contest. Sam Thyen was also an assistant superintendent. Many of the chapter members showed their support by either attending the event in person or watching live from Facebook.

Overall placings are as follows:

  • Meats Team (Kristy Cullinan, Melissa Balvin, Olivia Schanzenbach) took 1st place!

  • Melissa Balvin placed 3rd in novice horse fitting (middle)

  • Victoria Braley placed 3rd in novice horse showmanship (right)

  • Brittany Whitam placed in the top ten for novice horse showmanship (left)

Highway Cleanup

The chapter made it a priority this semester to get out to the highway that Ceres has adopted in Brookings and pick up the trash along the ditch. Highway clean up was held on March 28th. Girls walked the roadside for two hours picking up trash and have a little fun while doing so! Thank you to Kyra Obermeyer for all of her hard work in planning and running this event!

Member Spotlight

This is something new we are adding to the blog. Every meeting a new sister is awarded the commitment cup for all of their hard work and dedication to the chapter. In this section of the blog the we will highlight one member who has received the commitment cup that month! The chapter couldn't run without all of our members helping out and this is a way to recognize one girl who has gone above and beyond for the chapter!

This months member spotlight is Hailey Haber! Hailey was recently the recruitment chair and is currently the house manager / risk management chair. Hailey has given so much time and effort to her positions and the chapter is very grateful. Hailey keeps the house running smoothly and is always there for sisters if they need to talk. She has also done many risk management presentations for us such as drugs, nicotine, nutrition, and abuse. Hailey also brought care packages for girls to meeting during midterms. She also brought in a group called HERO from campus to talk to us about mental health awareness.

Ag Corner

Is Carbon your next new crop? Discussion surrounding reduction and removal of carbon emissions may bring new opportunities to the farm. Since the new administration in 2021 there have been conversations around extreme weather change which quickly turned into how farmers could be part of the solution. Lately, farmers have been pointed to as being apart of the problem for greenhouse gas emissions, but there are opportunities for farmers to engage in something known as climate-smart farming. The company WinField United has pointed out that corn could become a farmers new double crop. "There's pent up demand for purchasing carbon credits. Companies are making carbon-negative pledges to investors on Wall Street, so there is a lot of demand for carbon credits." How do farmers apply this though to life on the farm? When discussing carbon removal it involved on farm practices including cover crops, no-till and other soil focused practices that can also boost soil health. Trapping carbon in the soil with specific practices can make a difference, but it is limited. Reduction in emissions can have a bigger impact. Whether carbon becomes a double crop in the future is still unknown, but understanding how reduction and removal work could not only benefit farmers in a carbon bank but also reduce the amount of greenhouse gas being put into the atmosphere. For more information go to:

Alumni Update!

  • Nicole Schimek: "I passed my RN boards! I will be starting a new job at Avera!

  • Sidney Peters: "I'll be starting full time as a lab tech at valley Queen cheese!"


The chapter is doing a Walk-A-Thon on April 17th to raise money for Relay For Life. If you would like to sponsor an active member please contact Brittany Whitam (

Upcoming Dates

  • April 10th - 10:00 am via Zoom - Association Meeting

  • April 12th - 7:00 pm Jackrabbit Green - Greek Week: Greek God and Goddess

  • April 13th - 7:00 pm Jackrabbit Green - Greek Week: Airband

  • April 14th - 7:00 pm jackrabbit Green - Greek Week: Capture the Flag

  • April 15th - 7:00 pm Jackrabbit Green - Greek Week: Award Night

  • April 16th - 7:00 pm Rotunda D - Big Little Reveal

  • April 17th - 11:00 am to 1:00 pm Dakota Nature Park - Relay For Life Walk-A-Thon

  • April 22nd - 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm Volstroff Ballroom - SDSU Ag Day

  • April 23rd - 7:00 pm Chapter House - VESPERS

  • April 24th - All Day Event - State- A-Thon

  • April 30th - 6:00 pm to 11:00 pm - All Greek Formal

  • May 8th - Graduation

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