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OSU ag grad in a class all her own


For the Capital Press

SILVERTON, Ore. -- Oregon State University has produced many notable graduates over the years, but few ever accomplished in school what 2012 agriculture major Alyssa DuVal did.

The daughter of Jerry and Cynthia DuVal of DuVal Farms near Silverton, Alyssa, 22, not only graduated summa cum laude from OSU but along the way amassed nearly 25 scholarships that paid most of her expenses.

She also won several awards for excellence in the classroom.

Summa cum laude, the highest academic distinction accorded college students, requires a grade point average of at least 3.90 and places recipients in the top 5 percent of their class.

DuVal graduated from Silverton High School with a 3.98 grade point average.

Most of the scholarship money DuVal earned while at OSU was provided by the Ford Family Foundation of Roseburg, Ore.

"Without their help it would have been a big struggle," she said.

OSU educators who came in contact with DuVal, a crop and soil science major, have good things to say about her.

"Every term she was at OSU she was on the honors roll," said DuVal's academic adviser, Kelly Donegan. "She also completed two options (crop management and soil resource management), which is very unusual."

Tom Chastain, Crop and Soil Science Department associate professor, said he was most impressed when DuVal "walked in the door as a freshman (and) took over the presidency of our Crop Science Club, and basically ran it by herself."

"She came into the department in September of 2008 and has not stood still since," said Crop and Soil Science Department head Russ Karow. "She's a very ambitious, articulate young woman, who's going to do great things for us here in the state of Oregon."

One of the last scholarships awarded DuVal came from the Oregon Seed Growers League.

Totaling $2,550 in 2011, the scholarship is awarded annually to an OSU senior who has shown above average interest in grass seed research and/or production, has maintained a good academic record and has the potential of becoming a leader in the grass seed industry.

Among DuVal's awards was one in 2011 from OSU's Austin Family Business Program, which honored her as Family Business Student of the Year. She was also twice honored as the Crop and Soil Department's Outstanding Student of the Year, for 2009 and 2011.

Since she graduated, DuVal has devoted most of her time helping on the family farm, which, in addition to growing fine fescue grass seed and oat seed, raises the Pacific Northwest's largest herd of registered, polled miniature Hereford cattle.

DuVal plans to return to OSU this fall to pursue a master's degree in crop science, with an emphasis in oil seed crops. She will work closely with Chastain.

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