Railsback garners national honors from Phi Beta Lambda


Fort Hays State University’s Allison Railsback was disappointed she couldn’t attend a national leadership conference a year ago because she was working an internship with the Kansas Soybean Association. So, she made the most of her final competition at the Phi Beta Lambda (PBL) national event in 2020.

Railsback, a spring graduate in agriculture education, finished first in the Future Business Educator event at the PBL national competition that transitioned to online because of the COVID-19 pandemic. PBL is the collegiate division of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), the largest career student business organization in the world.

Just as impressive for Railsback was receiving the coveted President level of the Career and Membership Achievement Program. Railsback was one of only eight PBL members in the nation to complete the comprehensive membership and leadership program this year.

She also placed fifth in the Future Business Executive event that included a preliminary and final round Zoom interview.

Those honors, coupled with her performances from 2017 and ’18, gave Railsback six top-10 PBL national placings during her FHSU career. But it’s the final one she said she will remember the most.

Students submitted an instructional lesson plan on a topic for an entrepreneurship course prior to the conference, then went through a 10-minute interview with judges. They then presented a live 15-minute lesson via Zoom on one of the lessons from their unit plan.

Railsback was introduced to PBL at a young age when her mother served as a PBL advisor at Emporia State University. She grew up on a farm in eastern Kansas before moving to Mankato in north central Kansas when she was in high school.

Railsback knew in middle school where she wanted to attend college. Her older brother, Matthew, was majoring in agriculture education at Fort Hays State when she was in junior high school, and she came to Hays with her family occasionally to visit him.

“I knew in sixth grade I was going to go to college at Fort Hays State,” she said.

Once on campus, it didn’t take Railsback long to make a name for herself. In addition to PBL, she was an active member of a professional agriculture sorority, Sigma Alpha, as well as members of the Collegiate Farm Bureau and Block and Bridle student organizations. She also worked in the Department of Applied Business Studies her entire college career, before leaving campus to student teach in northeast Kansas last spring.

This year during the national online conference, Railsback got to interact with industry leaders in real-time workshops and connect with officer candidates via social media platforms.

She thinks her vast amount of experiences from college will be beneficial as she begins her first teaching job this fall at Scott Community High School, where she will teach agriculture classes and serve as the FFA advisor and co-FBLA advisor.

“All of my courses I have taken – in agriculture, education and business – while at Fort Hays State not only helped prepare me immensely for these competitions but also for my future career,” Railsback said. “I’m grateful I was student teaching during the pandemic because it helped me prepare for teaching online whenever we might need to again.”

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