Leadership event in Champaign, Ill., brings together 32 junior Angus leaders.

Angus juniors have the opportunity to travel the country with the National Junior Angus Association (NJAA) and learn from knowledgeable experts in the beef cattle business. Most recently, NJAA members met March 19-22 at University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill., to participate in a Raising the Bar conference.

“The University of Illinois was an excellent meeting place for Angus juniors and provided them the opportunity to learn more about higher education, careers in agriculture and meet new friends from throughout the country,” says Jaclyn Upperman, American Angus Association® director of events and education.

The conference hosted 32 Angus junior leaders from 12 state junior Angus associations. Participants toured the University of Illinois, heard from industry experts, took part in leadership-training workshops and spent an evening bowling.

The group also made stops at these three Angus operations: Prairie View Farms, Dameron Angus and Top Line Farm.  

While on the University of Illinois campus, juniors were able to hear from a variety of professionals, including Jason Emmert, assistant dean of academic programs, who discussed the variety of livestock careers available in the state of Illinois. Participants also heard from keynote speaker Lisa Burgoon who gave tips for “Turning Your Leadership in NJAA into Career Skills You Can Use.” Jennifer Shike, director of communications and marketing for the university, spoke on “Projecting Yourself in Person and Online,” and a panel of undergraduates joined in a discussion on what it’s like to be a college student. Juniors were also given the opportunity to tour the university’s meats lab with Katelyn Jones-Hamlow and the beef farm with Dan Shike.

“Our special thanks to those who made this event possible and helped offer a top-notch educational experience for our juniors,” Upperman says.

Now in the eighth year, Raising the Bar conferences continue to foster the development of Angus youth by hosting events in four regions across the country. The NJAA, with sponsorship from the Angus Foundation, has conducted Raising the Bar conferences in cities such as Nashville, Tenn.; Ames, Iowa; Columbus, Ohio; and Stillwater, Okla. To learn more about how to participate in an upcoming Raising the Bar conference, visit njaa.info.

A complete list of the Raising the Bar participants at the University of Illinois is listed below.


About the NJAA

The NJAA promotes the involvement of young people in raising Angus cattle, while also providing leadership and self-development opportunities for more than 6,000 active members nationwide.

ANGUS MEANS BUSINESS. The American Angus Association is the nation’s largest beef breed organization, serving nearly 25,000 members across the United States and Canada. It provides programs and services to farmers, ranchers and others who rely on the power of Angus to produce quality genetics for the beef industry and quality beef for consumers.

For more information about Angus cattle and the American Angus Association’s programs and services, visit www.ANGUS.org.


Raising the Bar – University of Illinois

March 19-22, 2015


Laramie Chaffin

Keegan Cassady

Andrew Livingston

Eric Schafer

Keith Pezanoski

Matthew Decker



Karsyn Zenor

Hunter Carrico

Kallie Knott



Baxter Knapp

Tim Mardesen

Nicholas Prevo



Alexandria Cozzitorto

Evan Woodbury



Tyler McGinnis

Corbin Cowles

Caroline Cowles

Bradshaw Smoot



Katelyn Corsentino



Jacob Heimsoth


North Carolina

Justin Wood



Sydnee Gerken

Madelyn Gerken



Dylan Denny

Lexi Stevenson



Mark Alexander

Morgan Alexander      

Helena St. Clair       

Catie Hope

Lauren Beasley



Jessica Radcliffe

Suzanne Henning