Alexa Gerdes, of Dodge City, Kansas, has been named the NSBA Foundation’s 2022 Scholarship Recipient. Alexa was chosen from an outstanding group of candidates to receive this year’s scholarship. She will receive a total of $2,000 over the next two years.

Following A Forensic Path

Alexa will attend Texas Christian University this fall and plans to study forensic psychology. She hopes to pursue a career in the Behavioral Analysis Unit within the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a criminal profiler/psychologist, which involves conducting detailed analysis of crimes.

Alexa’s horse connections also led her to talk with a member of the FBI about the forensic units within it and further define her career goals. “Our youth advisor, Bobbie Hinds, introduced me to another youth family whose father worked for the FBI,” she said. “I was able to sit down with him and learn more, and it really cemented my decision for my career.

“I was fortunate to take one of the very first forensic science classes offered in the state of Kansas during my junior year of high school. We studied everything from fingerprint analysis to DNA to use of fibers as evidence and autopsies. I loved the class,” she said.

Equine Pursuits

This busy youth has been an AQHYA member for 12 years and an NSBA Youth member for the past four years. She notes that horses have been a part of her life from trail riding to 4-H and Open shows to national level AQHA events. In addition to being a 4-H county-wide horse project leader, Alexa has served as the Kansas Quarter Horse Youth Association president and as an AQHYA Region 8 director.

She has participated in a variety of equine projects from the county fair level to chairing and organizing fundraisers at Kansas Quarter Horse Association shows to participating in the AQHYA YES Conference as a voting delegate. She has also competed at many AQHA and NSBA shows including the AQHYA World Championship Show and the NSBA World Championship Show and Breeders Championship Futurity. She has also earned the district reserve high point individual title in FFA Horse Judging competition.

Philanthropic Projects

Alexa has chaired her 4-H club’s philanthropic projects that have included a coat drive that collected more than 40 coats for the Salvation Army as well as organized a petting zoo for a nursing home visit. She has also created Easter baskets for nursing home residents, packed food for Snack Pak 4 Kids and the Humane Shelter.

Active Athlete

In addition to her equine activities, Alexa has been a four-year member of the high school swim team and was top five in the backstroke in the Western Athletic Conference for high school swim. She has won All-Academic honors at Dodge City High School, where she has also played piccolo for the Pride of Southwest Kansas and sang soprano in the Dodge City High School Varsity Choir.

Through her love of the sport of swimming, Alexa has worked as a lifeguard at Dodge City Longranch Lagoon for StandGuard Aquatics as well as at the YMCA, where she has also helped maintain the pool areas and facility. In addition, she performs general maintenance, shop work and farm equipment upkeep as well as working during harvest time at her family’s Gerdes Farms Inc.

“I am so excited to earn the NSBA Foundation Scholarship,” Alexa said. “When I heard that I won it, I saw my future. With the financial assistance of the NSBA, I’ll be able to pursue my education and go into the career I’ve dreamed about. I can’t thank them enough. Although I love showing my horses, I love that the horse industry has provided so many opportunities to learn leadership, responsibilities and communications skills. These are life skills I’ll carry with me all of my life.”

The NSBA Foundation congratulates Alexis on being named the 2022 NSBA Foundation Scholarship recipient. If you would like to apply for the 2023 NSBA Foundation Scholarship, please go to the NSBA website, nsba.com/youth-scholarship. Applications open for the 2023 scholarship on December 1, and are accepted until February 1. Specific requirements for eligibility as well as the application are available for download on the website. Applications are reviewed for financial need, academic merit, involvement in the equine industry and community involvement.