MURRAY, Ky. — Caleb Brannon and Elaina Barnett have been named Murray State University’s Outstanding Seniors for fall 2017.
Caleb Brannon is the son of Dr. Tony and Lisa Brannon from Puryear, Tennessee. He will graduate with a bachelor’s degree in agribusiness with a crop production emphasis. The Dean’s List student holds a 3.95 cumulative grade point average and will graduate summa cum laude.
Brannon currently serves as a student ambassador for the University and the Hutson School of Agriculture, where he helps recruit future Racers. Brannon is also a member of the Student Government Association, acting as the current director of government relations and previously holding the position of senator for the Hutson School of Agriculture.
As a member of the Agriculture Leadership Council, Brannon is a representative for the Alpha Zeta Agricultural Honors Fraternity, fulfilling the role of the organization’s chancellor. He was also a 2016 finalist for Homecoming King and serves as president of the Agribusiness Club. Additionally, Brannon serves on the Agriculture Appreciation Week Planning Committee, is a student representative for the Academic Appeals Committee and was a national champion in the North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Competition. He is also involved with the Ag Business Club Toy Drive, Agronomy Club, Baptist Campus Ministry and Puryear Baptist Church.
Brannon’s academic honors include being on the Dean’s List for each of his previous six semesters enrolled at the University and being selected for Who’s Who Among Students at Murray State. He was selected to participate in the Farm Credit Mid-America College Leaders Program, the Agriculture Future of America Leaders Conference and was a Farm Credit Fresh Perspective Top 100 National Honoree. He also participated in the National FFA New Century Farmer Conference, received the American FFA Degree and was named the 2014 Kentucky FFA State Star Farmer.
His published work includes research regarding industrial hemp and biomass crops, and he has presented at Posters at the Capitol and various other conferences. Brannon has international experiences in Australia with the Hutson School of Agriculture and in Costa Rica with the FFA Proficiency and Stars Travel Seminar.
Brannon currently assists with the operation of Brannon Farms, a fourth-generation family farm, and has completed internships with Tennessee Farmers Co-op, River Valley Ag Credit and Beck’s Superior Hybrids.
After graduation, Brannon will pursue his master’s degree at Murray State in the Hutson School of Agriculture.
Elaina Barnett is a graduating senior from Shelbyville and is the daughter of Sondi and Jeff Barnett. She will receive a bachelor’s degree in December with an honors focus in studio art with enhanced art history and an emphasis in drawing and sculpture. The Honors College student holds a 4.0 cumulative grade point average and will graduate summa cum laude.
Previously, Barnett was the president of the Organization of Murray Art Students (OMAS) from the fall of 2014 to the fall of 2016. She continues her engagement with the art student community as a tour guide for the department of art and design, her prior work as a student ambassador and through organizing two student exhibitions and assisting in the KyAEA Regional High School Art Exhibition at Murray State. In the spring of 2016, Barnett assisted in organizing the involvement of OMAS in the March for Education in Frankfort and, in the spring of 2017, the Murray Sister March to the Women’s March on Washington: the March for Equality and Social Justice.
Barnett’s honors include being awarded a solo show at the Murray Art Guild, titled “Notes to Self,” exhibiting work in her senior thesis exhibition, “Yours,” having work accepted in the International Juried Exhibition “Fantastic Fibers” and work in various other exhibits and auctions. Her work has earned her recognition as a featured student of the week for the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and through her induction into the Murray State chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi national academic honor society in fall 2016.
Her professional experience includes being a gallery worker at the Clara M. Eagle Gallery, where she initially began working voluntarily, and a worker in the department of art and design’s main office. Previously, Barnett was an assistant to a professor of art education, an assistant at a visiting artist’s printmaking workshop and a live-in educational assistant at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
After graduation, Barnett plans to pursue gallery work and other jobs within the realm of art or teaching while continuing to build her own personal body of work as a means of attending a graduate program with the intention of teaching studio art at a university level.