A recent graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno achieved something special during the recent Society for Range Management Annual Meeting in Boise, Idaho. Elsie Childress tied for first place in the individual competition for the Undergraduate Range Management Exam.
Childress went to the annual meeting as part of the University’s Range Club, a group affiliated with the Department of Agriculture, Veterinary & Rangeland Services in the College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources.
Childress is from Garden City, Idaho, and graduated in December with bachelor’s degrees in environmental science and rangeland & ecology management. In fact, she was awarded the Herz Gold Medal for 2022 Winter Commencement, bestowed upon the student with the highest grade point average with the most letter-graded credits at the University. Currently, Childress is a range management specialist for the National Resources Conservation Service in its Yerington, Nevada, field office.
It was Childress’ first time attending the annual event and taking the rigorous test, which includes questions on many aspects of range management, such as range ecology, grazing management and range analysis. Childress took several practice tests before the event, as sponsored by the Range Club, and said that helped her do so well on the final.
“It was surprising to me that I tied for first, because I thought it was a really hard test,” Childress said. “I didn’t expect that at all.”
She tied with Curtis Drake, a student from Brigham Young University, for the top score on the exam. Childress was congratulated by her fellow Range Club students and advisors, and by Barry Perryman, professor of rangeland sciences at the University, who is also currently serving as the president of the national Society for Range Management.
There were 11 Range Club students who competed in the exam event, and as a group, they placed eighth out of 21 teams, for a great showing. Amanda Gearhart, assistant professor of rangeland ecology and management and the advisor for the Range Club, said she was proud of Childress and all of the students’ efforts.
“This exam is really difficult, and I’m so proud of Elsie’s achievement,” Gearhart said. “She is a hard worker and I know she will be successful in her career.”