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Area student earns Ohio State honors

Jacob Lesch

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jacob Lesch of Fredonia has been named a 2021 distinguished senior at The Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES).

“The Distinguished Senior Award is the most prestigious undergraduate award in CFAES, recognizing the top graduating seniors from each of the academic units on the Columbus campus,” said Steven Neal, CFAES professor and associate dean for academic programs.

Lesch, an agricultural systems management major from Chautauqua County, was nominated by college faculty and staff who felt that he personified the award’s attributes of academic, disciplinary, and professional excellence.

“One of the hallmarks of our college is an emphasis on student success, and it is heartwarming to see it exemplified through the accomplishments of our students,” Neal said. “Recipients are our future innovators and leaders who have already made an impact within the academic environment at this university and beyond.”

Scott Shearer, a professor and chair of the CFAES Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering, nominated Lesch for the award, describing his likeable personality and drive.

“His presence is kind and helpful to good friends and strangers alike. … His selflessness and innate desire to help people mean that Ohio State has been left better for Jacob’s presence over the past four years,” Shearer wrote.

Jacob’s studies have led him to be an ambassador for new agricultural practices in Ohio.

For the past four years, he has held a research assistant position helping with various agricultural research projects. He has also held multiple internships and continues to work for the family farm in western New York.

“Friends, former employers, and family members came together to push Jacob to start his own cover cropping business, a topic that he became passionate about after seeing the benefits firsthand at Ohio State,” Shearer wrote.

In his business, Lesch provides the initial equipment and labor so that growers can see the benefits of planting cover crops after the first year.

Early in his time at Ohio State, Lesch joined the Agricultural Systems Management Club and has served as a leader in the organization ever since. He has served as young member chair, service chair, and currently is the organization’s president.

While excelling on campus, Lesch still has been highly involved back home at the family farm.

After graduation, Lesch plans to work as a member of the agricultural management solutions team at Koenig Equipment in Urbana, Ohio. He eventually plans to be a member of Lesch Farms, his family’s business.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s recognition of the CFAES Distinguished Seniors occurred via a YouTube Premiere video on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. Beginning at 7 p.m., CFAES dean and vice president for agricultural administration, Cathann A. Kress, recognized award recipients on the Ohio State–College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences YouTube channel. View the celebration video at go.osu.edu/CFAES2021DSA.

“Although we could not gather in person, this honor and these 25 students remain an important focus of our college,” Neal said. “Their commitment to their education and dedication to their time as a student in CFAES was recognized with the YouTube Premiere video, and via social media and professional networking platforms. A special award package will also be mailed to each top senior.”

In autumn 2020, there were 2,457 undergraduate students in CFAES pursuing 22 majors and 32 minors. Learn more about CFAES academic programs at go.osu.edu/ B4V2.

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