Stephanie Hartke graduated from Gillespie High School in 2014, earning a $500 Joe and Eileen Libbra Memorial Scholarship. She now attends Illinois State University (ISU) in Bloomington- Normal, pursuing a double major in agribusiness and ag communications. She will graduate in May of 2018.
“Eventually I would like to become an operations manager at a grain elevator,” says Stephanie, specifically working on barges and as the weighmaster/grain grader, hopefully in the central- southern Illinois area.
To that end she has sought and won jobs and internships in grain merchandising, starting in the summer of 2015 at Litchfield Farmers Grain. The next summer she interned at Winona, MN, in grain merchandising for ADM. “Another incredible opportunity”, working with Tate & Lyle in Heyworth and Wappella, IL, during 2016 harvest allowed Stephanie to run the weigh scale, take grain samples from semi trucks, and grade the samples.
To date the highlight of her work experience was an Operations Management internship at Consolidated Barge and Grain in Naples, IL, learning firsthand grain elevator maintenance and management in the summer of 2017.
“One of my favorite parts was to be a deckhand on a barge where I got to tie the barge off, read drafts to reload it, and help with finishing processes. I also got to drive the train locomotive; that has been the highlight to the internship!” she says. She has now returned to ISU where she uses her spare time to read and play the clarinet and trumpet, including one semester in the ISU marching band and two semesters in the pep band. This fall she’ll once again work for Tate & Lyle during harvest.
“Post-secondary education has helped me in ways I never imagined,” says Stephanie. “I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities, from job offers and internships to awards and new friends. I’ve been able to go places I never thought I would go and to experience new things. Moving away from home and into college helped get me out of my comfort zone and become more for myself. The Partnership scholarship definitely helped. Tuition is expensive, and the scholarship helped me save a little.”
Stephanie is the daughter of David and Virginia Hartke of rural Litchfield.