From 4-H to horticulture

When 19-year-old Shannon Dexter packed her bags for her first year at NC State University this fall, she arrived with more than band posters and a mini-fridge. She brought her passion for horticulture and a vision for the future of agriculture with her. 

Dexter, a recent graduate of Madison Early College High School, is the recipient of the Joe and Barbara Brooks Horticultural Scholarship through the North Carolina 4-H Development Fund. The foundation has awarded $117,075 scholarships to students from 40 counties in N.C., including several counties in the Western North Carolina region.

The funds will help Dexter learn about everything from soil science to plant pathology. She is particularly interested in food sustainability and the effect of changing global weather patterns on food production.

Although she doesn't foresee farming as her primary career, she is one of the many young minds that are examining today's farming challenges and forging the way for innovative solutions.

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