Junior explores electricity interests, wins free trip

Junior Sabrina Leistcow will be taking a trip to D.C. this summer paid for by the REC to expand students’ knowledge on electricity.

Junior Sabrina Leistcow will be joining 1,900 other students from around the world on June 14-20 in an all-expense paid for trip to Washington, D.C., to build leadership and public speaking skills and to enhance her knowledge of the energy industry and how cooperatives work. 

Earlier this year Leistcow learned about the Living With Energy Youth Tour Contest through her family’s interaction with the Butler County Rural Electric Cooperative (REC), which supplies energy to get family’s farm. Farming has been in Leistcow’s family for many generations and still is today, with a modern twist. Her father’s works as a lawyer  during the day, and farms during the evening. Often getting home in the wee hours of the morning from working on the farm. 

An electric cooperative is a non-profit business that is operated and owned by various people in a community. The focus of the business is to provide reliable power, not make a profit.  

On top of her interest in environmental science and farming, Leistcow wanted to understand her dad and grandfather’s job more. “Kind of taking after my grandpa and my dad because it is something they interact with on a daily basis with their jobs. It’s interesting because I want to understand how they do stuff and how the business is run,” she said. 

Leistcow was selected based on an essay she wrote about one of the REC cooperative principles: concern for the community and will be joining 37 other Iowa students this June. 

Despite her extensive knowledge on the environment and farming from taking AP environmental science this year, her family’s involvement in agriculture and being a part of the environmental awareness team, Leistcow said, “I hope to learn about what rural electricity is and how electricity affects America and me and the impact it has on my daily life even if I don’t know it.”

On top of immersing herself in a week full of agriculture learning, Leistcow is ecstatic to talk to new people and explore D.C. “I am so excited because we get to go with kids from all over the United States. There are going to be representatives from other states, so I am so excited to talk with people from California. I’m also excited to see all the memorials, “ she said. “I get to lay down flowers on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers with other people from Iowa.”

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