In the Field: Alumnae who became Alice in Dairyland
Courtney Booth BS’97 Agricultural Journalism
Alice in Dairyland 1997
Today Courtney Booth’s most important job is being a mom of four. Together with her family, Courtney and her husband, Chris, who is president of the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association, own Booth-Haven Holsteins, a small show heifer and cow care operation in Plymouth. As a student Booth served as editor of the first-ever CALS student newsletter and won awards for her volunteer work and class leadership. Serving as the 50th Alice in Dairyland provided Booth and the program the fulfillment of reaching many milestones, including raising more than $1.4 million in non-paid media exposure. As Alice, Booth also had the opportunity to travel to Japan as an ambassador of Wisconsin agriculture. Booth continues her role as an ag educator through her family’s business and many community organizations.
Debra Crave BS’81 Horticulture, Forest Science
Alice in Dairyland 1981
Every Wisconsin cheese lover knows Crave Brothers Farmstead Cheese, where Debra Crave serves as vice president. The company regularly wins awards and other honors (including a Dairymen of the Year title at the World Dairy Expo) for cheese made right on the farm with milk from a herd of 1,500 Holsteins. Crave is involved in many key facets of the company, especially marketing, which was her focus in a previous position with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. A memorable experience as Alice, she says, was participating in a crawfish-eating contest with a New Orleans Saints football player. (She did not win.) In her free time Crave serves as an officer on the World Dairy Expo board of directors.
Dorothy Farrell BS’82 Agricultural Journalism, Forest Science
Alice in Dairyland 1982
As Alice, Dorothy Farrell was introduced to Sargento Food’s VP of marketing—and just three days after ending her term as Alice, she began her career with Sargento, where she now is a director in the company’s consumer products division. Among Farrell’s most memorable experiences at CALS was participating in the Association of Women in Agriculture and serving as a Farm and Industry Short Course house fellow. The evening of her selection as Alice was the beginning of the greatest adventure of her life, she says. She especially enjoyed interviews with broadcasting personality Orion “The Big O” Samuelson.
Amy Fischer BS’97 Meat and Animal Science, MS’99 Animal Science, PhD’04 Animal Science
Alice in Dairyland 1999
Amy Fischer serves as coordinator for the Companion Animal Biology and Humane Education programs at the University of Illinois, where she enjoys connecting with students and helping them shape their career paths. Her most memorable experience at CALS was time spent in the lab of mentor Jack Rutledge, an emeritus professor of animal sciences and genetics. For this Alice, 11 days at the Wisconsin State Fair did not just mean making appearances, it also meant a marriage proposal; it was there that her boyfriend (now her husband) popped the question.
Elizabeth Henry BS’83 Meat and Animal Science
Alice in Dairyland 1986
As associate director of the CALS-based Renk Agribusiness Institute, Liz Henry develops agribusiness educational programs, provides leadership to the Renk Scholars Program, which offers scholarship support to outstanding undergraduates, and teaches CALS undergraduates and Farm and Industry Short Course students. Henry is co-owner and VP of Henry Farms, LLC where they are developing a brand of bourbon set to release in 2015. As Alice, Henry traveled to six states, Canada and Puerto Rico, where she promoted Wisconsin ag products to cruise lines and international restaurant chains. She is an active member of the Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association (which she served as president) and the CALS Board of Visitors.
Christine Lindner BS’06 Agricultural Journalism
Alice in Dairyland 2010
Christine Lindner is a national sales representative with Alsum Farms & Produce, a Friesland-based company responsible for growing, sourcing, packing and delivering high quality fresh vegetables and fruits to supermarkets. Having grown up on her family’s fourth generation dairy farm, Lindner takes pride in helping people understand the connection between farm and food—and in offering them access to the best food available. Participating in the National Agri-Marketing Association while at CALS offered her real-world experience that influences her career to this day, she says. In her free time Lindner enjoys spending time with family and outdoor activities including biking and hiking.
Jill Makovec BS’00 Agricultural Journalism, Dairy Science MS’02 Dairy Science
Alice in Dairyland 2007
An alumna of both CALS and the UW Marching Band (instrument: trumpet), Jill Makovec works as an account executive with Learfield Communications, which through the Wisconsin Radio Network and Brownfield Ag Network provides consumer and ag news to Wisconsin and neighboring states. As a CALS student, Makovec researched antibiotic resistance of bacteria that cause mastitis in dairy cattle – work that helped her connect with and educate consumers during her year as Alice. She treasures memories of her time as Alice, especially connecting with, teaching and learning from fourth-graders across the state. Makovec enjoys spending time at her family’s dairy farm near Muscoda and serving the community through various activities, including the Wisconsin Agricultural and Life Sciences Alumni Association (past president).
Barbara McCrory BS’83 Agricultural Journalism
Alice in Dairyland 1983
Barbara McCrory’s ag journalism background has been vital to her success as a circuit court judge—she graduated from the UW-Madison School of Law in 1992—in that it provided her with the ability to distill large amounts of information down to what is most important for her ruling, she says. Her experience as Alice required McCrory to be able to change gears quickly, from spending the morning at a local TV station to teaching a fourth grade ag history class in the afternoon. Her reign saw the founding of “Something Special from Wisconsin” (SSfW), a program promoting local food systems. McCrory presented country music legend Willie Nelson with a SSfW shirt at the Wisconsin State Fair—which he quickly modified by removing the sleeves.
Kristin Olson BS’10 Agricultural Journalism
Alice in Dairyland 2013
As the reigning Alice, Kristin Olson travels around Wisconsin promoting the state’s $59 billion industry in her E85 Chevy Tahoe, which by using 85 percent ethanol fuel promotes the corn growers’ role in ethanol production. She will make about 400 appearances throughout the course of the year. Her most memorable experience thus far has been the 11 days she spent at the Wisconsin State Fair, where she taught audiences of all ages and backgrounds about agriculture and paraded the Grand Champion Barrow (castrated male pig) to the Camp of Champions. When Olson is not busy being Alice, she enjoys spending time with her husband and dog, working with her Holstein cattle and singing in her church choir.
Rebecca Plantz BS’88 Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Journalism
Alice in Dairyland 1988
When Rebecca Plantz was five her mother asked, “Why are you always the kid who has to ask why?” Reflecting on that question, she feels she should have known then that a position in operational excellence, which she currently holds at PayPal, would be a great fit. Her time as Alice honed her ability to shift topics quickly. One moment she might be discussing the economics of farming and another, the nutrition in a particular recipe. That skill helps her to this day. A memorable Alice moment: Upon asking a fourth grade class to name products produced in Wisconsin, one student answered “Cholesterol.”
Vicky Scharlau BS’82 Agricultural Journalism
Alice in Dairyland 1980
In 1994 Vicky Scharlau founded 501 Consultants, a company based in Washington state that offers a wide range of services to nonprofits, from bookkeeping and staff recruitment to administration and strategic planning. While she remembers fondly her time involved in CALS student organizations, Scharlau admits one of her most influential moments was enduring a statistics course. During her time as Alice, Scharlau logged 100,000 miles and gave more 500 presentations. To this day, she says, she can close her eyes and imagine herself in waders in a cranberry bog or visiting with international buyers at the World Dairy Expo.
Jolynne Schroepfer BS’96 Dairy Science, Agricultural Education
Alice in Dairyland 1995
Jolynne Schroepfer recently brought a mint perennial with her to the agriscience course she teaches at Antigo High School—a plant the students had never seen before, but that she had learned about in her first month as Alice. Teaching has always been an important facet of Schroepfer’s career. Her most influential experience as a CALS student, she says, was the opportunity to serve as a teaching assistant for Dairy Science 101. While serving as Alice, one of her fondest memories is when a kindergarten student asked if she had a horse and carriage to go with her tiara (she did not). In her free time Schroepfer enjoys exploring old dairy barns to relive the history they represent.This article was posted in Agriculture, In the Field, Life Sciences Communication, On front page, Spring 2014, Working Life and tagged agricultural communications, Alice in Dairyland, Alumna, Alumnae, Amy Fischer, Barbara McCroy, Christine Linder, Claudia Roen, Courtney Booth, Debra Crave, Dorothy Farrell, Elizabeth Henry, Grow Spring 2014, In the Field, Jill Makovec, Jolynne Schroepfer, Kristin Olson, Life Sciences Communication, Marketing, Rebecca Plantz, Vicky Scharlau, Wisconsin, Working Life.