Abigail Burton is using the skills she learned in FFA to cultivate a bright future in the health sector.
Burton, a Stillwater FFA student in Meridian’s Health Careers program, was named the 2023 Oklahoma State Star in Agriscience and was awarded a $31,855 scholarship.
“I started competing in agriscience fairs in eighth grade and won every year I competed,” Burton said. “I’ve focused on many different areas of plant systems but my past few projects have focused on aquaponics.”
The Stillwater FFA chapter provided Burton with the tools she needed to succeed in her projects and future career in health.
“FFA brought me out of my shell,” Burton said. “Through FFA I learned basic research skills from competing in the agriscience fair that I can take into the healthcare field.”
Burton’s time in FFA is also what sparked her interest in Meridian’s Health Careers program.
“I’ve taken different classes as part of the ag program, like animal science,” Burton said. “As part of my classes I learned about animal health and that really sparked my interest in human health.”
As a junior in high school, Burton enrolled in Meridian’s Health Careers program. There she learned hard and soft skills like phlebotomy, bedside manner and clinical procedures.
“My time at Meridian has given me knowledge that I can take and apply to the real world,” Burton said. “I’ll be able to take the skills I learned at Meridian with me to college and have a job that will pay for my living while I’m in college.”
Burton plans to study biology at OSU. She has the ultimate goal of becoming a perfusionist – someone who operates a heart-lung machine.
“I helped out at Meridian’s Base Camp summer camp last year,” Burton said. “That’s when I found out about being a perfusionist. While FFA sparked my interest in health, it has always been very important to me personally. My sister and grandmother had heart complications, and a perfusionist helped further their lives. That was something that spoke to me and why I want to become one.”
To learn more about Meridian’s Health Careers and other full-time programs, visit meridiantech.edu/programs.