Ann O'Leary of Evansville has been chosen as Wisconsin's 69th Alice in Dairyland. As Alice, O'Leary will work as a communications professional for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP). Her job will be to educate the public about the importance of agriculture in Wisconsin.
"As Alice in Dairyland, I want to share the story of Wisconsin's $88.3 billion agricultural industry with both producers and consumers," said O'Leary. "My goal is to educate them on the diversity of Wisconsin's agricultural industry and encourage people of all backgrounds to become advocates of Wisconsin agricultural products."
O'Leary grew up showing Jerseys and Holsteins at the county, district and state level. She was heavily involved in the Rock County Jr. Holstein Association and the Rock County 4-H Program and served as the 2009 Rock County 4-H Fair Queen. O'Leary studied Biology and Neuroscience at Carthage College and graduated with All College Honors in May, 2014. She currently works at Epic as a corporate recruiter, volunteers with the Rock County 4-H Program and serves on the Carthage College Alumni Council. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, water skiing and spending time with family.
O'Leary was selected at the culmination of three days of final interview events in Dodge County. The events included agribusiness tours, speeches, a public question-and-answer session and media interviews. The other candidates were Jenna Braun of Mayville, Victoria Horstman of Sparta, Kristin Klossner of New Glarus, Emily Selner of Denmark, and Joanna Wavrunek of Denmark.
O'Leary will start working as Alice on June 1. She succeeds 68th Alice in Dairyland Teyanna Loether of Sauk City. As Alice, O'Leary will travel about 40,000 miles speaking at events and giving media interviews. She will present lessons in more than 100 Wisconsin classrooms in partnership with the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.
A number of other Wisconsin organizations contribute to make Alice in Dairyland visible and recognizable to the public. For example, O'Leary will wear a custom mink garment to promote Wisconsin's fur industry, and she'll drive an E-85 flex-fuel Chevrolet Tahoe to promote the state's ethanol industry. While working, O'Leary will wear a 14-carat gold and platinum brooch or tiara, both of which feature amethysts and citrines, gems indigenous to Wisconsin.