CORVALLIS - An Oregon State University student who began earning money for college while still in elementary school is one of four students from the Pacific Northwest to be awarded $2,500 scholarships by the Northwest Food Processors Association through an OSU Foundation endowment.

Kyle Curtis Ross, 20, expects to graduate in 2001 from OSU's College of Agricultural Sciences with degrees in agricultural business and crop and soil science.

"When I was 13, I set a goal for myself to pay for college on my own," Ross wrote on his scholarship application. To meet the goal, he grew sweet corn and peppers, then sold them at a produce stand that he established.

Ross continues to operate this fresh-market stand at his parents' farm near Silverton. He has expanded his produce line to include cucumbers and tomatoes. During the school year, Ross worked a 20-hour job, carried a double major in crop and soil science and agribusiness and was a fixture on the university's honor rolls.

In an unusual move, the judges this year awarded two scholarships to outstanding Washington State University students - one of them for the second year in a row.

Kelly J. Devine, who is majoring in food science at WSU in Pullman, Wash., was awarded the scholarship again because of her high achievement and because she still has a additional year of undergraduate work to complete.

Devine, who is from Selah, Wash., maintained a 3.51 grade point average last term while juggling a full slate of classes and a part-time job. In addition to the NW Food Processors Association scholarship, she was awarded six other academic scholarships during the 1999-2000 academic year. She was nominated for both the WSU's President Award and USA Today's All-Academic Team. Devine plans to work for a commercial food processing plant after graduating from WSU in May 2001.

Fellow WSU scholarship winner Claire Kathleen Spragg of Royal City, Wash. said her experience working as a lab technician at National Frozen Foods in Moses Lake, Wash. last summer complemented her plans to become either a researcher or food scientist at a processing company.

In addition to maintaining a 3.46 grade point average, Spragg plays in WSU's marching band, was a member of the Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and was awarded a Dean's merit scholarship. She expects to receive her undergraduate degree in May 2002.

The University of Idaho's scholarship winner is Oregon resident Hillary Lynn Greer of Weston, Ore. She is a food science major at the university in Moscow, Idaho, where she earned a perfect 4.0 grade average last term.

For the past six summers, Greer has worked at Smith's Frozen Foods in Weston as a quality control technician.

After graduating in December 2001 with a major in food science and a minor in animal science, Greer plans to pursue a career in food science that will enable her to develop new food products or manage a quality assurance department.

The NW Food Processors Association established the scholarship fund in 1989 in celebration of its 75th anniversary. Its goal is to support outstanding students of agribusiness who attend the Northwest's land grant universities in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

The winners were chosen after a selection process administered through the E.R. Jackman Foundation and the deans and directors of the three universities.

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Pam Powell, 541-737-5820