CORVALLIS, Ore. - A new American Star has been spotted on the Oregon State University campus. He is Ryan Scholz, winner of the 2006 American Star in Agriscience award given by the National FFA Organization.

Scholz, a senior in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences, received the honor at the 79th National FFA Convention held recently in Indianapolis. The American Star is FFA's highest honor, given each year to acknowledge outstanding accomplishments of an FFA member. The American Star in Agriscience award recognizes superior achievement in natural resources-based research.

Scholz was selected as the top finisher from a field of more than 3,000 entrants. He is the first Oregon FFA member to receive this prestigious national recognition in 20 years.

"Winning the award is an incredible experience," said Scholz. "There were a lot of very talented people in the competition."

Scholz was one of four national finalists for the award, which included a plaque and $4,000.

"This is a wonderful honor that recognizes Scholz's contributions and potential, and the excellence of the many high school and university faculty who have helped him," said Thayne Dutson, dean of the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences.

Scholz came to OSU from Newberg, Ore., where he was a member of the Newberg High School FFA chapter. During his junior year of high school, Scholz began work with the state Dept. of Agriculture on a study of how modifications to traditional hatchery raceways affect growth of Rainbow Trout.

Among his accomplishments at OSU are undergraduate studies on the use of sheep to control a non-native weed.

Scholz is pursuing completion of a double major in animal science and bioresource research at OSU. Following graduation he plans to study veterinary medicine and become a large animal veterinarian.

FFA is a national youth organization of nearly half a million student members throughout the United States who are preparing for leadership careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.

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Betsy Hartley,