February 15, 2007

USA Today again honors SIUC's Fahran Robb

by Tim Crosby

fahran robb
CARBONDALE, Ill. — A senior at Southern Illinois University Carbondale once again earned recognition from USA Today as one of the top college students in the country.

Fahran Robb, 22, of Pinckneyville, is among the top 80 students listed in today's (Feb. 15) issue as a member of the 2007 All-USA College Academic Team. Robb also was listed in last year's annual edition.

The program honors full-time undergraduates based on their academic achievements and outside activities, including volunteer service to society. USA Today considered more than 600 nominations for the honor.

The competition for the coveted honor is intense and nomination and application process quite rigorous, making her feat this year even more impressive, said Laurie A. Bell, assistant director of the University Honors Program, which has worked with Robb for several years.

"Fahran is very dedicated and a standout in all aspects of her student career, including her academic and volunteer achievements," Bell said. "We fully expect she will be very successful as her career continues."

Robb, the daughter of Sam and Myrna Robb, said she set a goal of making the USA Today team while in high school. Making it twice is a thrill.

"When I got the letter from them I opened it and the first word I read was 'congratulations," Robb said. "Of course I started jumping and screaming."

Robb plans to graduate from SIUC in May with majors in agricultural information and political science and minors in environmental studies, agribusiness economics and speech communication.

The honor is yet another high point in Robb's SIUC career, which has included admittance into the University Honors Program, semesters where she took more than 20 hours of coursework and intense volunteer work.

Recently, Robb was one of a handful of SIUC students who traveled to Louisiana during winter break to assist in hurricane recovery efforts. She also volunteers at the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center at SIU Edwardsville, where she assists the director with strategic planning and other duties. She has logged some 550 hours in the Saluki Volunteer Corps and officials named her the Lincoln Academy of Illinois Student Laureate in 2006 as SIUC's outstanding graduating senior.

Last summer, Robb completed an internship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where she served as an economics assistant. She wrote several white papers while there on topics including U.S. ethanol and biodiesel production policy and ethanol production acreage changes in Brazil, India, China and the United States during the last 20 years. She also gave presentations on key trade policy and agriculture production issues.

She also was one of 12 students on the International Collegiate Agriculture Leadership Team, which spent several weeks in Spain and Morocco studying policy and completing a grain marketing analysis for the U.S. Grains Council and Foundation.

Robb hopes to attend graduate school at Cornell University or Yale, where she wants to pursue joint degrees in law and agribusiness policy-related fields. Eventually, she'd like to work in Washington D.C., in agriculture policy, specifically in the area of renewable fuels.

"The renewable fuels issue is becoming increasingly important as we look to develop energy that we can produce domestically," she said. "It's better than importing oil and it's also good for the environment."

Bell said Robb is a great asset to SIUC.

"She's been just a tremendous mentor and model and done it all with character and a real professionalism," Bell said.