Queen of the Classroom

By Gus Bode

Fahran Robb is on a mission, and USA Today knows it.

Robb, a senior from Pinckneyville studying agricultural systems, was among 80 students from across the country to be named to the 2007 USA Today All-USA College Academic Team this month. It was the second year in a row she was named to one of the teams.

Of the 613 total winners since 2001, only 16 students have been repeat winners.


Watch the River Region segment about Robb

Robb was recommended for the award by the College of Agricultural Sciences Dean Gary Minish.

Minish said he nominated her because the award is based on academics and professional leadership skills.

“She’s on a mission to do whatever she does really well,” he said. “She’s that kind of student. She’s very complete.”

The list of Robb’s accomplishments has grown since she came to SIUC in 2003. She majors in both agricultural information and political science, and minors in speech communication, environmental studies and agribusiness economics – all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

She is also the president of the agricultural student advisory council, the president of Alpha Zeta – a professional agriculture fraternity – and has logged more than 550 hours with the Saluki Volunteer Corp, among numerous other activities.

Robb said the award encourages her to work even harder toward her career goals.


She plans to attend graduate school after she graduates in May, and is applying for a joint degree in law and agribusiness economics, she said. Her top choices are Yale and Cornell.

Robb interned at the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service in Washington, D.C., over the summer where she wrote two white papers, which are used to inform individuals making policy decisions.

“After I finish graduate school, I will hopefully be working in Washington D.C., on agricultural and environmental policy issues,” Robb said, who wants to work with renewable fuels.

Applicants for the USA Today award are judged on grades, academic rigor, leadership, activities and an essay describing their most outstanding intellectual endeavor in college.

Robb’s essay dealt with ethanol research.

Laurie Bell, the assistant director of the University Honors program, said the program identified Robb her freshmen year and really started working with her towards major scholarship opportunities when she was a sophomore.

“She’s certainly special. She’s taken initiative on her own to prepare a resume that’s extremely impressive and that merits recognition on a national scale,” Bell said.

Watch the River Region segment about Robb

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