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Chrissy Whitacre named 2020 Dairy Science Distinguished Alumna in Academia

Chrissy Whitacre photo. Fence in the background.

The Department of Dairy Science is pleased to recognize Chrissy Whitacre as its 2020 Distinguished Alumna in Academia. Chrissy received a B.S. in Dairy Science and Agriculture Economics in 1995. She completed her M.S. in Career and TechnicalEducation - Agriculture at Virginia Tech in 1996.

Chrissy has spent her entire professional career as an agriculture teacher at Sherando High School in Frederick County, Virginia. During her 24 year career, she has taught classes in large animal science, small animal science, veterinary science, agriculture business operations, natural resources, foundations of agriculture, small engines, and agriculture technology.

Chrissy has been previously recognized with the Ideas Unlimited Award by the National Association of Agriculture Educators. She received the Outstanding Young Member Award and the Teacher of Teachers Award from the Virginia Association of Agriculture Educators (VAAE).

Chrissy has enjoyed tremendous success as advisor of the Sherando FFA Chapter. Since 1996 her teams placed first in the State Fair of Virginia Junior Dairymen’s Contest six times. Her teams placed in the top five of that contest in the years that they did not win. The Virginia FFA Milk Quality and Products Career Development Event was first conducted in 2001. Remarkably, her teams have won that event 14 out of its 19-year history. It is worth noting that once a student is a member of the state winning team they are ineligible to compete again, meaning that Chrissy has consistently won with a different set of students in most years. Her state winning teams went on to compete at the National FFA Convention. Highest rankings were fourth and fifth. In 2017, her second place state team won the contest at the Eastern States Exposition, also known as the Big E.

Chrissy’s teams have also been successful in the State FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management Career Development Event. They placed first in the junior contest four times and first in the senior contest three times. Teams placed in the top five in the senior contest in all other years in which they competed. Her teams have also won this contest at the Big E twice. In addition to dairy events, she has also trained teams to compete in stockman’s and veterinary science events.

In addition to training students, Chrissy has served on the coordinating committee for the State FFA Milk Quality and Products Career Development Event, State FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management Career Development Event, and State FFA Dairy Handlers Activity. Her contest knowledge, empathy, and sense of fairness are very helpful as she provides support to me as I serve as contest coordinator for these events.

Chrissy’s career has had a significant impact on many students. She taught nine students who went on to teach agriculture education. Six of those are still teaching. Thirty-eight former students attended Virginia Tech in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, seven of whom were admitted as or completed degrees as Dairy Science majors.

Under Chrissy’s leadership the Sherando FFA Chapter has participated in over 15community service activities including Senior Citizens Prom, food drive, and county fairwork days. She has also participated in community service activities through StrasburgChristian Church which included Crop Walk, Trunk-o-treat, and Samaritan’s Purse.

The Department of Dairy Science is pleased to recognize Chrissy as our DistinguishedAlumna in Academia because of her highly successful, impactful career as anagriculture teacher. She has truly made a difference in the lives of countless young people, in her profession, and in her community.