FMC Corporation hosted its first-ever Ag Challenge, a case study competition organized by the company's Intergenerational (i-Gen) Employee Resource Group (ERG) in partnership with The Congressional Award Program. A private-public partnership, the Congressional Award Program provides opportunities for young people to unleash their potential by achieving personal goals focused on volunteerism, character development and fitness.
FMC provided agriculture and environmental sciences-related case studies focused on current challenges related to water quality, food production and crop protection to six student teams from local Philadelphia magnet high schools W.B. Saul and Lankenau. The competing teams drew upon their studies to develop innovative solutions and craft thoughtful presentations with the guidance of corporate advisers made up of FMC employee volunteers.
The teams and their teachers visited FMC Corporation's Philadelphia headquarters in May to learn about FMC's crop protection solutions, network with company leadership and present their solutions to a panel of judges. The winning team from Lankenau focused on a plan for a sustainable school garden, including a growth schedule and ways to integrate the garden into the school's lunch program. They were commended with a trophy to be displayed on campus and individual medals for team members.
"We were blown away by the creativity and passion demonstrated by all the students to come up with sustainable, effective case study solutions," said Shawn Whitman, FMC vice president, Government Affairs. "For our Intergenerational (i-Gen) ERG, we look beyond our employee population to provide upcoming generations with meaningful experiences that empower them to consider a career in ag, and hopefully with FMC. We look forward to continuing our partnership with The Congressional Award Program and these two high schools.”
Following completion of the challenge, 100 percent of participating students reported that they would recommend events with corporate advisers to fellow students. 70 percent of the students felt that corporate advisers are extremely important in shaping their understanding of agriculture, with more than half of students reporting that the opportunity to network and gain industry insights were benefits of interacting with corporate advisers.
"Our Lankenau students appreciated the opportunity to engage in meaningful environmental and agricultural systems problem-solving events. FMC enabled students to demonstrate their abilities to be proactive, work collaboratively and think strategically," said Jessica McAtamney, principal of Lankenau High School.