Former rodeo queen does her hometown proud at UW
By Katie Harris
Former Larimer County Rodeo Queen Elana TerAvest hasn’t slowed down since leaving her Berthoud home for college three years ago. The 20-year-old, who is pursuing a degree in animal biology at University of Wyoming, received two major honors this year: The Joe and Arlene Watts Scholarship and induction into Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.
“I found out I’d received the scholarship earlier this month, after applying through the university’s agriculture general scholarship program,” said TerAvest. “The Watts family is a Wyoming homesteader family who was in the cattle industry until 1994. It’s a pretty big foundation in the state of Wyoming.”
The $3,500 scholarship, which is academic based, will be split between her senior semesters next year.
TarAvest was inducted into the prestigious Phi Kappa Phi honor society just two months prior to receiving the scholarship. The invite-only society is open to students who rank in the top 7.5% of their class. Though the induction banquet was canceled this year due to the Covid outbreak, TerAvest is looking forward to the abundance of other opportunities membership will offer her.
“There are awards and scholarship opportunities which I’ll be eligible for as part of the honor society,” she explained. “They also offer a lot of student support and being a member looks good on a resume.”
The UW junior, who has ridden for the school’s ranch horse team for the past three years, said she chose Wyoming in part because of the generous scholarships she was offered to attend. Receiving the Joe and Arlene Watts Scholarship and becoming eligible for a host of additional scholarships through the honor society will help TerAvest continue working toward her next goal; attending veterinary school at Colorado State University.
“This is going to help me hugely in terms of being able to put some money away,” she said. “I just started applying for vet school, which is not very cheap, so this will help me put some money away for that instead of spending it these next two semesters.”
As she continues to achieve great things in Wyoming, TerAvest said she often reflects on the experiences that helped her get to where she is today.
“Riding for the Berthoud Equestrian team and being rodeo queen have definitely helped me in college,” she said. “Making connections with people, learning how to talk to people; they’ve helped me mature as a person and overcome my shyness. Being part of the high school team led to being on a college team where I get to ride horses and hang out with cool horse people.”
Having worked at Berthoud Animal Hospital in the past, TerAvest said she doesn’t know whether she’ll focus on equine and livestock veterinary science or stick with small animal care when she makes it to CSU, but her recent recognitions have helped build her confidence that she’s well on her way, whatever path she chooses.
“It’s really humbling to be recognized for all the hard work I’ve put in thus far. It’s motivation to keep moving forward from here.”
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