Clinton County Extension 4-H Education Foundation Awarded Scholarships In 2024

The Clinton County Extension 4-H Education Foundation awarded $7,000 in scholarships to 4-H members and alums of Clinton County in 2024. These awards encourage and support the county’s youth interested in higher education. Each applicant must have spent at least six years in 4-H, with a minimum of four years in Clinton County 4-H.

Winners of the 2024 scholarships include:

Melanie Hilmes was awarded $1,000- Melanie is 19 and lives in Aviston. She attends Murray State University and is studying to become a middle school educator. Melanie loves to spend time with my family and friends, read, play sports or workout, and enjoy the outdoors. She is an eight-year member of the Aviston 4-H Aces.

Melanie Hilmes

Bradley Huelsmann was awarded $1,000- Bradley lives on his family farm in Trenton, Illinois. He is the son of Vernon and Janice Huelsmann. He attended Mater Dei Catholic High School and plans to attend Kaskaskia College to obtain a degree in Welding Technology. Bradley is a 12-year member of the Sugarcreek Country Kids 4-H Club.

Bradley Huelsmann

Kierstan Lampe was awarded $1,000- Kierstan is an Animal Science major at Iowa State University. She is from Aviston and a ten-year member of the Aviston 4-H Aces. At school, she works as an undergraduate research assistant for swine nutrition and is a member of the Block and Bridle Club, where she served as a co-chair for their food stand. Kierstan is the 18-year-old daughter of Stacey and Craig Lampe.

Kierstan Lampe

Carissa Litteken was awarded $1,000- Carissa is the 19-year-old daughter of Mark and Jenny Littken. She lives on a small farm in Aviston with her parents, older brother (Colby), and younger brother (Caiden), where the family raises cattle and pigs. Carissa has been an active member of the Aviston 4-H Aces for the past ten years. She graduated from Mater Dei Catholic High School in 2023, participating in FFA, basketball, soccer, track, band, and other activities and clubs. Carissa is currently studying nursing at Kaskaskia College. She hopes to one day work in the field as a pediatric nurse. At KC, she is active on the women’s soccer team. After attending Kaskaskia College, Carissa plans to attend a four-year college and obtain her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Carissa Litteken

Christopher Richter was awarded $1,000- Chris, an 18-year-old Central Community High School graduate, is the son of Allen and Barb Richter. He has been a member of the Aviston 4-H Aces for the past eight years and is currently the President. Chris is an active member of the Clinton County 4-H Federation and is serving as the Vice-President. In 4-H, he has gone through multiple project areas, including Woodworking, Visual Arts, Junk Drawer Robotics, and Model Rocketry. Outside of 4-H, he participates in activities such as Band, Spring Musical, Scholarbowl, Academic Challenge, Science Olympiad, CYM, NHS, and is a proud Eagle Scout. Chris plans on attending Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to major in Computer Science.

Chris Richter

Blake Twenhafel was awarded $1,000- Blake is currently attending Kaskaskia College, where he is involved in the Agriculture Club and Collegiate Farm Bureau, serving as President. After KC, he will attend a university to earn a degree in crop agribusiness and then work in the agriculture industry. Blake has been an active 4-H member of the Aviston 4-H Aces and the Clinton County 4-H Federation for over ten years. Blake is a 2023 Wesclin High School graduate; his parents are Michael and Angie Twenhafel of New Baden.

Blake Twenhafel

Lauren Wolter was awarded $1,000- Lauren is the daughter of Bradley and Kimberly Wolter of Aviston, IL, where she grew up on her family’s Angus cattle operation. She has been a member of the Aviston 4-H Aces for 12 years and a member of the Illinois Livestock Ambassador Team for three years. Having graduated from Central Community High School in 2023, Lauren just finished her first year at Kansas State University, majoring in Animal Science and Industry with a focus on meat science. She currently holds a double undergraduate research appointment within the meat science department. Lauren is an active leader at K-State, holding multiple positions at both the college and campus-wide levels. She will most notably serve as the External Affairs Director within the Student Body President and Vice Presidents’ cabinet. Lauren was the only freshman member included in this group of campus-wide leaders. She is also fulfilling her term as the 2024 Miss American Angus, which allows her to travel the country and serve as a role model and advocate of the Angus Breed. After obtaining her bachelor’s degree, Lauren plans to pursue master’s and doctorate degrees in meat science. She plans to work either in meat science research and academia or in agriculture legislation and scientific policy advising.

Lauren Wolter

For more information about Clinton County 4-H or the Clinton County Extension Foundation, please contact the Clinton County Illinois Extension Office at 618-526-4551 or

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