Pettisville FFA member Jessie McWatters was named winner of the Star in Agriscience award during the 2020 Ohio FFA Celebration.
The daughter of Tom and Angie McWatters, Jessie placed first in showmanship and weight class while in elementary school. In her eighth grade school year she was introduced to science fair with a project entitled, “What Type of Bedding Affects Cows.” At the state convention that year she placed first in her division. Jessie went on later that year to compete at the National FFA Convention, where she placed eighth.
Jess didn’t really want to be in FFA her freshman year but was convinced by her parents so that she could continue to participate in the Agriscience Fair.
“Little did I know that this decision to be in FFA guided me in the direction of my future career,” she said.
Her project freshman year was “Do People Really Know What They Are Drinking,” a study of whether people actually know what is in different types of milk. At the local science fair the project received an excellent rating, then second place in her division at the state FFA convention that spring.
In Jessie’s sophomore year her agriscience fair project was “The Effects of Various Antibiotics on Bovine Respiratory Disease.” With this project she was able, with the supervision of a veterinarian, to examine parts of a deceased calf that died of natural causes, then find a calf that died from Bovine Respiratory Disease so that she could compare the differences in the swabs from each calf. She competed at the regional science fair and received a superior rating, with a fourth overall placing.
Jessie gained an interest in microbiology her junior year, resulting in her project, “How The Age of the Calves Affected the Amount of Cryptosporidium Present.” The project received a superior rating and a second overall placing in the regional science fair. That led her project to the International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Ariz., and to the Ohio FFA Convention, where she received a gold rating and placed third in her division.
In her senior year Jessie studied “The Effect Cryptosporidium Had On The Health and Growth Of The Calf.” She earned a superior rating at the local science fair, and this year placed ninth in her division at the State FFA Celebration.
Jessie is Pettisville FFA’s seventh Ohio Star Agriscience Student or Agriscience Student of the Year recipient.