Agricultural Economics Department Names Outstanding Students for 2018-2019


Written by Jo Thomas, Academic Advisor, Agricultural Economics

Every year, the Department of Agricultural Economics must select one student from each class to compete for the College Outstanding Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Awards. This year, the department selected the following students:


Department of Agricultural Economics Outstanding Freshmen –  Cole Pearson (Delphi, IN)


Cole Pearson had an excellent first semester, finishing with a 4.0 GPA. In addition to strong academics, he immediately became involved on campus, pledging Marwood Cooperative. He was selected to serve as the 2019 Social Chair and Chaplin. Additionally, he joined the Collegiate Farm Bureau and FFA organizations on campus. Cole also demonstrated strong leadership skills by getting involved with the Leadership Development Certificate program and attended the Ag Future of America (AFA) Leaders’ conference. 

Instructor Ryan Musselman commented, “Cole is a hard working student that prioritizes learning, gaining experience and growing. He prioritizes his goals and works diligently to accomplish them. Cole is not afraid to leave his comfort zone, and often does so skillfully. He is a well-rounded student with a bright future ahead of him.”

Overall, Cole demonstrated strong skill sets that extend beyond academics with a promising future ahead of him.


Department of Agricultural Economics Outstanding Sophomore  - Chase Gripp (Sheffield, IL) 


Chase Gripp had a phenomenal year as a sophomore student, both in and out of the classroom. Prior to the fall of his sophomore year, Chase completed a summer study abroad program in New Zealand, enhancing his educational experience. 

With a desire to develop leadership skills, Chase was a Class VI Fellow in the 2018-19 Purdue Issues 360 program. As a member of Farmhouse Fraternity, his fraternity brother selected him to serve on the Executive Committee as Director of Risk Management and New Member Mentor. In the mentor role, he meets with new members to assist them in improving their grades and becoming more involved on campus and in the fraternity. As Risk Manager, he ensures functions across campus meet all IFC requirements. 

His leadership abilities don’t stop there, Chase has served a two-year term on the Agricultural Council where he is involved with both the Outreach and Vice President’s committees and with the National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) as their Research Chair. Chase is also passionate about community services and has been involved with numerous philanthropies on campus. Chase Gripp is a young man with a great deal of initiative, strong leadership skills, and maturity beyond his years.


Department of Agricultural Economics Outstanding Junior –  Noah Radde (Carmel, IN)


Noah Radde has a remarkable academic record.  He has earned 94 credits towards his Purdue degree in just five semesters with a perfect GPA.  As a student in Purdue University Honors College and College of Agriculture Dean’s Scholars program, Noah is completing an undergraduate research project with Purdue faculty. He is also enhancing his degree in Agribusiness Finance with minors in Crop Science and Farm Management.

While Noah has an impressive academic record, his achievements do not stop there. Noah immediately became involved with the campus community as a member of National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) and pledged FarmHouse Fraternity.  His fraternity brothers recognized his leadership potential and elected him to serve on the Executive Team as Director of Scholarship. More recently, he was elected to serve as the 2019 Chaplain. 

Noah has continued to develop his leadership skills by also attending the 2017 & 2018 AFA Leaders’ Conference and the Purdue EMV Sophomore Leadership Retreat.  He has utilized these skills to positively impact many student organizations across campus including NAMA, Agricultural Council, and Purdue Honors Pledge Task Force. Noah recently started his second year on Agricultural Council and just recently concluded his 1 ½ year term as Purdue Honors Pledge Task Force Treasurer.

Noah has served NAMA as President since August 2017 where he serves as the point of contact for industry professionals and external governing bodies and leads efforts of executive team and members to ensure goals of the club are being exceeded. In spring 2018, the NAMA team made it to the semi-finals and placed in the Top 10 (a big improvement over their 2017 performance) with their product, Puppermint Pin; a flea and tick repellent dog collar attachment.  Noah is hoping the team will do even better this spring with a high quality cooler made out of soy bio-plastic and soy insulation!

With one year left in his academic career the AgEcon department looks forward to seeing his future accomplishments. 


David and Stacy Hefty Agricultural Economics Outstanding Senior – Derek Berkshire (Monticello, IN)


Derek began as a Boilermaker after a year of serving as an Indiana State FFA Officer. From the very beginning he demonstrated strong academic and leadership skills which would only flourish throughout his time as a Purdue Student. 

Academically, Derek developed a near perfect record and sought two B.S. degrees in four years- Agribusiness with an Agrimarketing Concentration & Agricultural Communication. With strategic planning and a strong desire to “make it happen”, Derek also enhanced his education with a semester abroad last spring at the University of Bath. While there, he stepped out of his comfort zone by focusing his course work in Politics, Languages, and International Studies.

From a leadership perspective, Derek Berkshire reached the Purdue “summit” during his senior year; serving as Purdue Foundation Student Board President, Mortar Board Vice President of Selection, and Purdue Grand Prix VIP Coordinator. As President of PFSB, he has led PFSB member through three events to raise $450 million, directed the organization’s communication, and conducted stewardship activities with university supporters. He has also served on the organization’s Pay It Forward Initiative Committee and Outreach Committee. Derek has used his marketing background to help design marketing and promotional material for PFSB and helped with the planning for the Purdue Day of Giving and Why Give? Initiative. As Vice President of Selection on Mortar Board, Derek is responsible for communication with all colleges, diversity groups, athletics, etc. to collect nominations for the 2019-20 Mortar Board Class. In his role as Grand Prix VIP Coordinator, he manages the logistics for the VIP tent which includes inviting and hosting Board of Trustees, Deans, Provosts, etc.

Derek’s leadership has impacted a vast number of students in the College of Agriculture. As a student in the Department of ASEC, he is a member of Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT), serves as an ASEC Ambassador, and has been active in their Agricultural Communication Mentor Program. Derek also served on Agricultural Council for two years and attended Ag Future of America Leaders Conference for three years.

Derek Berkshire has also been an outstanding citizen to the College of Agriculture in many ways – from volunteering at the Purdue Ag Alumni Fish Fry, serving on the PCARET panel and Student and Faculty Awards Committee, sharing his study abroad story to students in Sophomore Seminar, and recruiting students on the Open House panel. As a graduating senior, he looks forward to a bright future in the Agriculture Industry. 

Agricultural Economics, 403 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4191

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