To be considered, Scholarship Applications must include the following:

1. A completed OPEDA Scholarship Application Form for the 2017-2018 School Year

2. A typed, double spaced essay, not to exceed two pages, on the topic: “Public Service is a Unique Challenge with Many Rewards.”

3. One character reference. This should be a letter (no more than 2 paragraphs contained on one page) from a non-related adult e.g., teacher, coach…etc., describing how the writer has come to know the applicant and what the strengths of the applicant are.

4. A sealed original of most recent high school or college transcript showing a cumulative GPA of 2.8 or higher.

5. A list and brief description on a separate page of awards and extracurricular and community service accomplishments.
Important Note: Applicant must be at least a college freshman or equivalent by fall term 2016, and must submit the requested documents to the following address postmarked no later than June 30, 2017, to be considered:

Organization of Professional Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, P.O. Box 23762, Washington, DC 20026-3762

Applicants are also advised to call or email the OPEDA Office to ensure that their application has been received and is being considered. 202-720-4898


Scholarship Application

>>link to application

Since 1989 with the support of its members, OPEDA has recognized academic achievement through awarding scholarships to USDA employees and their family members. The John W. Peterson Scholarship is given in recognition of the dedicated service of Mr. Peterson as the 24th President of OPEDA. The Steven "Tom" Stefani Scholarship honors the heroic service and ultimate of sacrifice of this young U. S. Forest Service Range Conservationist, while he was on a voluntary assignment with the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service in Afghanistan.


My name is Leah Svoboda and I have recently graduated from Tivy High School in Kerrville Texas. My parents are Kevin and Rebecca Svoboda and I have two younger siblings Larissa and Colton. I was born in Minnesota but we moved back to Texas when I was six. My Mom is a Soil Conservationist with the NRCS in Kerrville.  I have been accepted to attend West Texas A&M University in Canyon Texas. I plan to obtain my bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering. I have always enjoyed building and designing things when I was running around on our family ranch in Zephyr Texas. My Grandfather is an Engineer I had lots of fun helping him with his work. I became sure of what I wanted to do by attending the mission trips our youth group would take to McAllen because we would build the beginning foundation for a house. I enjoyed putting the foundation together and knowing that it had an actual purpose. I want to be able to take my career and be able to design and build structures that will benefit everyone. I am so grateful for this scholarship that will help in my journey to obtain my degree.  Who knows maybe I will go to work for the USDA.

Hello, my name is Cassandra Boehm. Thank you so much for this generous award, I am truly grateful.

I recently graduated from Century High School and will be attending the University of Mary next month, a small private Catholic university here in Bismarck, North Dakota, as a first time freshman. I plan to double major in biology and respiratory therapy in addition to swimming for the university. I was originally born in Nashville, Tennessee and since then my family and I have lived all along the East and Midwest side of the United States and over seas due to my dad being in the military. He retired about four years ago and since then we moved up to North Dakota where he got a job with the forest service. My mom works at the First Community Credit Union, a bank here in town. My younger brother will be entering into his first year of high school this fall. We also live with three chunky cats and a very friendly pup. Again thank you so much for this wonderful award.



A note from our 2017 Scholarship Award Winners

Contact OPEDA!

The Organization Of Professional Employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture