Dordt student awarded American FFA Degree

Junior Gretchen Lee receives highest FFA degree achievable

Gretchen Lee

Gretchen Lee, a junior from Ohio studying Agriculture: Animal Science at Dordt, was recently awarded the American FFA degree. According to Future Farmers of America (FFA), this is the highest degree achievable, highlighting a member’s dedication to the organization.

“The American FFA Degree symbolizes the end of one chapter of my life and the beginning of the next,” says Lee. “It obviously serves well on resumés, but, more importantly, it adds a sense of finality to my FFA career; I’ve earned the highest degree a member can receive, which really means that I have accomplished all that I can from the member level. I’m ready now to support the organization from an alumni perspective.”

FFA shares that this degree requires students to complete secondary instruction in an agricultural education program—which she has done through studying agriculture at Dordt.

“It is the gold standard of membership with typically less than two percent of the members receiving the American FFA Degree,” says Gary De Vries, Dordt agriculture department instructor. “In order to receive the degree, members must have completed a high school course of study in agriculture education, been active in their chapter and state FFA Association, received their state’s FFA Degree and earned at least $10,000 in their Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) program.”

With the goal of attending either Iowa State University or The Ohio State University for veterinary school, Lee desires to serve as a mixed-practice veterinarian. Dordt’s agriculture program and FFA helped to prepare her both academically and as a leader as she continues on this journey.

“Gretchen Lee serves as our Ag Club Secretary and Ag Ambassador,” says De Vries. “Her FFA preparation allowed her to jump right into leadership positions as a freshman and continue her growth here at Dordt University.”

Lee has appreciated how Dordt’s agriculture program incorporates faith into the world of agriculture—helping students to consider how the two aspects relate.

“Dordt ties together the concepts of biblical stewardship with necessary career-related skills,” says Lee. “I’m gaining the experiences and knowledge I need to feel confident in my future, while also building my relationship with the Creator of the world I want to help care for with my career.”

As an Ag Ambassador, Lee gets to share her Dordt experience with future Dordt students who are seeking to study agriculture at Dordt.

“Dordt is a place where you will be challenged to think deeply and learn more while being supported by a Christ-centered community,” she shares. “Our ag program pushes students to see the world from a stewardship perspective, which helps students to not only learn the concepts they need for their future but understand exactly why they need to be learning the information they are being taught. Nothing is without purpose.”

As an institution of higher education committed to the Reformed Christian perspective, Dordt University equips students, faculty, alumni, and the broader community to work toward Christ-centered renewal in all aspects of contemporary life. Dordt, located in Sioux Center, Iowa, is a comprehensive university named to the best college lists by The Wall Street Journal, Forbes.com, Washington Monthly, and Princeton Review.