Meet The 77th Alice Top Candidates

The six top candidates to become the 77th Alice in Dairyland are Cierra Essock, Halei Heinzel, Katrina Hoesly, Michaela King, Kiley Pagel, and Lauren Siemers.

Alice in Dairyland is a one-year, full-time public relations position with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection.

Over the next two months, they will participate in a rigorous interview process that will allow them to showcase the communications and public relations skills required to be the 77th Alice in Dairyland.

All top candidates will receive media and speaking training, earning them a DATCP marketing and communications certificate after the process.

This training process will prepare the candidates for the Alice in Dairyland Finals, scheduled for May 2-4 in Door County. The three-day finals include agribusiness tours, media interviews, an impromptu question and answer session, candidate presentations, and more. A team of judges will select the 77th Alice in Dairyland at a public event on May 4. Finals will be at the Stone Harbor Resort in Sturgeon Bay. She will begin her term on July 8.

“While only one of these well-qualified individuals will be selected as the 77th Alice in Dairyland, all six can utilize the skills developed over these next few months to become lifelong agriculture advocates,” says Ashley Hagenow, 76th Alice in Dairyland. “It is exciting to know that one of these finalists will continue the tradition of sharing the importance of agriculture across Wisconsin to students, teachers, farmers, business owners, and everyone in between.”

Meet the candidates:

Cierra Essock, Fox Lake

Essock is the agricultural educator and FFA advisor at Hustisford Junior and Senior High School. Essock grew up helping on her family’s dairy farm in Fort Atkinson. In 2015, she served as the Wisconsin Holstein Princess Attendant. Essock graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls in 2017. Her expertise is Agricultural Education with a minor in Dairy Science. On campus, she was active in the River Falls Dairy Club and WRFW radio station. Through the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators organization, Essock received the state Teacher Turn the Key Scholarship Award in 2022.

Halei Heinzel, Oconomowoc

Heinzel is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Life Sciences Communication. Heinzel was active in her high school’s FFA chapter. Before starting at UW-Madison, Heinzel graduated from the Farm and Industry Short Course program with certificates in Agribusiness Management and Dairy Farm Management. Heinzel belongs to the Babcock House Student Cooperative, Science Communication Club, UW Polo Club, and serves on the board of the Wisconsin Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Association. Heinzel has held internships with the Farm and Industry Short Course program, Professional Dairy Producers, and worked with the Wisconsin State Fair Dairy Promotion Board.

Katrina Hoesly, Denmark

Hoesly is a student at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Marketing Communications and Agricultural Business. She has held campus leadership positions in the Agricultural Business & Marketing Society, College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Student Advisory Council, UW-River Falls Dairy Club, and Collegiate Farm Bureau. Hoesly also interned with Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin, Compeer Financial, American Farm Bureau Federation, Culver’s Franchising System, National FFA, and World Dairy Expo. She was a proud 4-H and FFA member. She served in a leadership role as a Wisconsin State FFA Officer.

Michaela King, Big Bend

King grew up in southeastern Wisconsin on her family’s beef and crop farm. King was active in 4-H, showing beef and dairy at the county and state level. She studied Journalism and Photography, with a minor in Management, at the University of Minnesota. King was a member of Gopher Dairy Club and Clovia. King was selected as the Waukesha County Fairest of the Fair in 2019. She was an editorial intern for Hay & Forage Grower and El Independiente magazines, and an online marketing manager at Hoard’s Dairyman. King is currently a public relations manager with Filament/broadhead.

Kiley Pagel, Kewaunee

Pagel will graduate in May from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. She is presently the marketing advisor for the Pagel Family Businesses. Her responsibilities include overseeing public relations, managing social media platforms, coordinating events, and organizing tours. Additionally, Pagel has assumed a multifaceted role at Dairy Dreams LLC, a subsidiary of her family business. There, she handles office support functions such as human resources, reception, and data entry.

Lauren Siemers, Kiel

Siemers will graduate in May from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with a degree in Marketing. She was raised on her family’s dairy farm, Siemers Holsteins, in northeast Wisconsin. Siemers has actively participated in Wisconsin’s agricultural community. She stays engaged in 4-H, FFA, the Wisconsin Holstein Association (WHA), and Holstein Association USA. Through these associations, she had the unique opportunity to serve as the 2019 WHA Princess, compete in speaking contests, and travel extensively across the country and to Scotland to evaluate dairy cattle. In 2023, Siemers was honored as a National Distinguished Junior Member Finalist by Holstein Association USA.