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Howard Lake young woman is national officer candidate

By Janet Kubat Willette

Date Modified: 11/14/2013 8:08 AM

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HOWARD LAKE -- A Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA member is this year's national officer candidate from Minnesota.

Sabrina Kieser, who was Minnesota's FFA state secretary in 2012-13, was chosen from four candidates to be the state's national officer candidate.

Past state officers are eligible to compete to be a national officer candidate, Kieser said.

Candidates go through a two-day interview process, which is similar to the process at the national level, she said. The interviews were done in May. On May 28, Kieser learned she would represent Minnesota at the national level.

In the months since, Kieser, 20, has prepared for the national interviews and for the possibility that she could be a national FFA officer.

She has studied agricultural policy, the ag industry and FFA along with conducting mock interviews at least weekly.

This year, FFA will be the focus of the seven rounds of national officer interviews held over five days. Candidates can't bring notes into the interview room with them; everything must be recalled from memory.

The interviews will be split into two halves, Kieser said. The first round of interviews takes place Oct. 27-29. A cut is made and 22 of the 43 candidates continue on for more interviews on Oct. 30-31. The results are announced at the final session of the National FFA Convention on Nov. 2. The National FFA Convention and Expo is Oct. 30-Nov. 2 in Louisville.

Between interviews, Kieser will have time to explore the career fair and learn about internship opportunities. She plans to attend different workshops and sessions at convention. It will be her first trip to Louisville.

In addition to studying in preparation for interviews, Kieser has mentally readied herself for travel. If elected a national officer, she will travel 300 days per year. It will allow her to see agriculture around the United States. She will focus on serving others, putting her own education and career pursuits on hold while serving the FFA and its more than 550,000 members.

When she puts on her jacket, she feels the skills, values and opportunities of the organization on her shoulders. Kieser has enjoyed her involvement in FFA and wants others to recognize their opportunities for growth within the FFA.

"I realized I want to help every FFA member I come across," Kieser said.

The process of preparing for the national officer competition has helped her develop skills and prepared her to be a leader in any situation, she said. She's not afraid to interview for any internship; she knows her skill set and has confidence in her abilities.

A junior at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, Kieser is studying agricultural education. If selected, she will withdraw from college for her term as a national officer.

"It would definitely be worth it," she said.

Kieser plans to become a teacher and may sign up to teach with the Peace Corps.

She grew up on a Howard Lake grain farm.