2018 Spirit of Ruth Award Recipients

The Spirit of Ruth Award was created to recognize Sigma Alpha Alumnae who embody the spirit of Ruth through her active involvement, leadership and commitment to the field of agriculture. The recipients of this award demonstrate the ideals of Sigma Alpha by living our four pillars - Scholarship - Leadership - Fellowship - Service - in their personal and/or professional lives. The vast field of agriculture is a faith-filled calling. The recipients of this award have the strength and determination to rise to achieve the goals we have set as leaders in agriculture.

2018 Recipients: 

Awards will be presented at the Leadership Seminars 

Jessica Smith Campbell (Memphis, TN)

Jessica graduated from the The Ohio State University with a bachelor’s degree in animal sciences, agricultural education and is an alumna of the Alpha Chapter. 

She is an associate vice president for Farm Credit Mid-America. Jess is experienced and passionate about agricultural lending with a demonstrated history of high results and team based success in serving clients.

She is a farm owner and purveyor of meats and embodies passion for agriculture. Jess is feeding her customers literally and figuratively with knowledge about agriculture, daily.

Jess travels to Washington D.C. regularly to bring farm issues up with her representatives and is highly active in the Farm Bureau. She is deeply passionate about achieving excellence in the arenas of promoting agriculture, advocating for livestock production, niche farm marketing and connecting with the consumer.


Mary Masch Martineau (Reno, NV)

Mary graduated Texas A&M University with bachelor's degrees in agricultural development and agricultural science, and a master's degree in agriculture. She is an alumna and was co-founder of the Alpha Pi Chapter.

During college, Mary worked in the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service and continued her work there upon graduating in 2004. In 2008, she returned to her hometown and began teaching Agriculture at Poway High School. Once a chapter in danger of being closed down, Mary has transformed Poway FFA into a thriving chapter that helps to promote agriculture and FFA throughout San Diego County. She is also an active member in the California Agriculture Teacher’s Association and serves as a facilitator for the new CATA Induction program for new teachers. 

Agriculture is also an important aspect to Mary outside of the school. She and her husband Curtis, who is also an agriculture teacher, work to maintain small herds of breeding cattle and Boer goats which they sell to local 4-H and FFA members to show at their local fairs. They have two sons, Cameron (5) and Easton (3), who are also involved in the family livestock and participate in the local 4-H club.

There are many fond memories of Sigma Alpha and Mary has 3 that truly stand out.  #1- March 31, 2001. The day the Alpha Pi Chapter received their charter, #2- The evening her former FFA student, Sarah Robertson, became an active member of the Alpha Pi Chapter, and #3- Reading the e-mail that she had been nominated to receive the Spirit of Ruth Award!


Melea Reicks Licht (Kansas City, MO)

Melea graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in public service and administration in agriculture and a master’s degree in agricultural education and studies and is an alumna of the Delta Chapter. She is an executive board member of the Sigma Alpha Iowa Sate University Alumnae Chapter and a Delta Chapter advisor.

Melea is the director of alumni relations for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University. She co-manages social media efforts for the college and publicizes and oversees alumni awards and events. Melea is the editor of STORIES and STORIES Online – the college's alumni magazine and monthly e-newsletter.

For the past 10 years, Melea and her team have earned top national honors in college magazine publishing from the National Agricultural Alumni and Development Association and the Association for Communications Excellence in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Life and Human Sciences.

Melea serves as a leader to women in agriculture using the Sigma Alpha pillars as ideals to guide her in life. She is also currently working with the Delta Chapter members to help form an Alumnae Mentorship Program to bridge the current members with their alumnae and promote lifelong bonds of sisterhood.


Shelley Armour (Philadelphia, PA)

Shelley graduated from the University of Maryland-College Park with a bachelor's degree in general agriculture and is an alumna of the Beta Alpha Chapter. She received her master’s degree from the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore in education. From 2006 to 2010, Shelley served as Vice President of the Sigma Alpha National Alumni Association and from 2010 to 2013 and was a director on the Sigma Alpha National Sorority Board. 

She is an agriscience teacher and FFA advisor at D.H. Conley High School in Greenville, NC. The mantra for teaching is “put the students first and do what is best for them.” Shelley firmly believes that if that is done, everything else will fall into place.

Shelley was awarded the 2017 NAAE Ideas Unlimited Award for NC, 2017 NAAE Outstanding Secondary Program Award, Edgecombe County Schools Teacher of the Year in 2016-2017, and South West Edgecombe High School Teacher of the Year in 2016-2017. 

Shelley has a dedication and true love for our Sorority. She brings excitement, new ideas, strength and caring, and an unconditional faith for what Sigma Alpha Sorority stands for.