Monday, April 30, 2018


As graduation approaches in two weeks, I am reminded the wonderful opportunities I have been able to be a part of at Purdue: Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority, Agronomy Ambassadors, Agronomy Club, different ministries at the church I attend on campus, and even the Women in Agribusiness and Plant Sciences Learning Community I was involved with a first semester freshman at Purdue-almost four years ago! One could say those organizations defined who I was as an undergraduate, but to me it has been the people I have met along my journey at Purdue who have defined me. 

One piece of advice for incoming freshman, current students, and even those just reading this blog to get to know the Purdue Agronomy Ambassadors, is to always say yes to adventure! One of my dearest friends I made in the dorms my freshman year, has continued to be my friend throughout the past four years, and my Purdue experience wouldn't have been the same without her. So last Tuesday, when she asked me if I wanted to attend Eva Kor's speech on campus as a part of the Richard A Hadley series, I said yes to adventure, and this is what I learned:

Meet Eva Mozes Kor. An 84 year old Holocaust survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, married to a Purdue alumni & raised Boilermaker children. It was such a rejuvenating and historically profound moment last night to have met a woman so full of strength, wisdom, & forgiveness. Thank you for reminding us that: 1. Growing up is hard. Never give up on your dreams. Keep hammering away. 🔨 2. Think of one thing you can do to make the world better, each day you wake up. Put your mind into a positive state. 🌎 3. Forgive your worst enemies to set yourself free. As long as you are angry, you are still a victim. Forgiveness is the best form of revenge. Forgiveness is a seed for peace.  Eva forgave the Nazi Germans. She chose peace & happiness. So this morning when I woke up I decided to follow suit, by forgiving. What will you chose? 

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Thank you Purdue for all of the people that you have brought into my life the past four years. For that, I am Ever Grateful, Ever True.

-Deatra Gremaux

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Is it Spring Yet?

            Well happy spring everyone, or I think that’s what this is supposed to be. Hopefully soon it will start feeling like spring anyways! I’m sure ready for warm weather, that’s for sure!

            I hope everyone had a nice spring break! Over my spring break I actually worked all week, but it was for the company I am interning with this summer, so that made it a little more exciting. That company being Tech Services Inc. (TSI). TSI is located in Bluffton, Indiana, which is near where I am from. Tech services is an independent testing network, providing contract research yield trial testing.  In other words, they have field plots among 25 states to do many different kinds of testing. This time of the year, the company is busy packaging seed that will be used to plant the test plots, which is what I helped with over spring break. I look forward to my internship this summer because I will be traveling across the corn belt to scout field plots. I think it will be a neat experience because for one we get to travel, and two, I will be observing research that has the possibility of becoming major advances in the agricultural world. Another neat thing about working for TSI, is that I am taking after my mom, who worked with the company for nearly 20 years.

            Last week I hope that you took advantage of Purdue Ag week and Spring Fest! Ag Week is one of my favorite weeks on campus. The week is geared towards promoting and celebrating agriculture on Purdue’s campus. Tuesday I helped with what is called Hammer Down Hunger. It is an event to help package 70,000 meals that we sent to Haiti. Wednesday I got a free breakfast sandwich from The Purdue Agribusiness club. Thursday was Burger Bash, so I got a free bacon cheese burger. They also give out Ag Week T-shirts as well! The weekend to follow Ag Week is Spring Fest. It is a weekend to also promote and celebrate agriculture, but it invites the community to campus to get involved. Saturday, I helped with The Purdue Horticulture Society Plant Sale and Sunday, I ran the “plant wall” with the Agronomy Ambassadors. Over all it was a fun filled week/weekend.

As the school year comes to an end, I wish everyone the best of luck with final exams!!
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at

Hail Purdue and Boiler Up!


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

I Said Yes! Grad School

Hello Everyone,

Wow... I cannot believe my four years here at Purdue are coming to a close.  It seems like only yesterday, I was still a freshman living in the dorms, fretting about if I'd ever make it through Bio110 with an A. Having only 4 weeks left has got me feeling rather nostalgic.  However, unlike a lot of my peers, I will not be leaving academia forever.  After a lot of praying and long nights staying up until 3 am contemplating if I made the right decision, I am happy to say that I will be attending the University of Georgia this fall to start my Ph.D. in Plant Breeding, Genetics, and Genomics.  While it feels so good to have finally made a decision on my future for the next five years, there was a time where I had a lot of stress, confusion, and worry if I would ever make it to this point.

I remember as a freshman, Dr. Tuinstra said to me during one of my advising appointments, "You're going to grad school."  That idea was so intimidating and scary at the time.  I thought, no way would I ever have the potential to do that.  I was intimidated enough by my classes as it was... how would I ever be able to make it through another 5 years of school?  As I went throughout my time at Purdue, gaining experience in working for a research lab, completing internships, and taking classes more geared towards my major, I realized graduate school was not only something I needed to do in order to get my dream job, but it was also something I thoroughly wanted to do.

During my junior year, I began studying for the GRE.  I read the books, did full length practice tests, and memorized vocab after vocab word.  The summer prior to my senior year, I started contacting my previous employers, professors, and advisors about writing my letters of recommendation.  During that time and into the fall, I started contacting professors from numerous schools, while writing essays and filling out applications.  To claim, "it was exhausting," would be an understatement.  At times, the process was also rather disappointing.  It hurt not getting emails back from professors or being interested in those who didn't have funding.  But I fully believe in "trusting" the process.  One day, I received an email from a professor who had seen my application and was interested in me- a very different feeling than having to be the one exhibiting initial interest.  I had listed her on my application, based on the research I had done on her projects, but I honestly did not think someone with work as renowned as hers would be interested in me.  I proceeded with the Skype interview, visited the campus, and fell in love with her lab and the project she would give me.  What I loved about her lab and about UGA the most was that they made an effort to make me feel welcome and wanted.  Lab members took me on campus tours, and UGA plant breeding students talked with me over meals to learn about me and my background.  Professors who weren't even taking students still wanted to take time to meet with me and learn about my interests.  I truly believe that God had this plan for me all along.  Shortly after, things fell into place, and I signed my letter of intent, along with an apartment lease.

I'm sure at this point you're probably wondering... okay, so who are you working for?  What will you actually be working on?  I am thoroughly honored to say I will be getting my Ph.D. under Dr. Katrien Devos, who is known for her work in unveiling genetic architecture of orphan crops.  Particularly, I will be exploring the genomics of finger millet and fungal blast.  I am really excited about this project because it gives me an avenue to conduct research in an area that could have a strong international impact.  I cannot express how relieving it is to know exactly what my graduate plan is, but more importantly, that I will be on a campus I love doing research I am thoroughly intrigued in with the support of an amazing lab group.

To those of you considering graduate school, I will say, it's never to early to start preparing.  Contact professors as early as you possibly can and challenge yourself to take a couple graduate classes during your undergrad career so you can begin exposing yourself to what it might be like.  What I wish I would've done differently as an undergrad was to have more confidence in myself and my ability to be a competitive graduate school applicant.  Trust the process and don't get discouraged if the first professor you contact doesn't have space in his or her lab.

It's sad to think that this is my last blog post, but I am ever grateful for the opportunities Purdue and the Agronomy Department have given me.  Take advantage of every opportunity or change you have to better yourself.  Treat every mistake as a lesson and learn from them.  Never set your goals too high, and don't blink- because time will go by all too fast.

If you have any questions about applying to graduate schools or Purdue's Agronomy Department, feel free to email me at



Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Planting season is upon us soon, hopefully….

Hello Everyone,

I hope everyone is having a great spring so far and finishing up the semester strong. All the incoming freshman reading this I hope you have a great college career here at Purdue University. It is an excellent school that has opened up a countless number of opportunities not only for me, but also for every student that has attended here.

Some updates on what I have been doing most recently is preparing for this upcoming planting season! It has been a great process as it always is. The equipment aspect of our implements are being fine tuned and calibrated so that whenever the rain and even the snow stop falling and it becomes dry enough to get in we will have everything ready.

I hope it dries up sooner than later, yet it is going to make for an interesting year when is comes how the plants will respond to these cool and wet conditions if that is what we have in store for us when it comes to the growing season.

Well I better get back to studying for the end of the year exams and projects that are on my to-do list. The best advice I can give to anyone who is in need of help when it comes to managing everything on your plate is to start as soon as you can! Complete little pieces at a time so that you don’t have to end up staying up all night the night before to learn all the material. I want to wish everyone the best of luck on the rest of this spring semester!

Finish Strong and Boiler Up!

Nathan Slavens

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Only a few weeks left...

Hey Folks!

Hope everyone is well. If you are incoming freshman, I hope you are getting exciting for your freshman year! College is an awesome time and I am excited for all the cool opportunities you will get to have.

My biggest update from these last few weeks is today I took my Part 107 Commercial Drone Licence exam. This licence will make me able to fly drones commercially! I am getting the license to work my internship this summer as the Co-Alliance Ag Tech intern. I wouldn't have an opportunity quite like this if it wasn't for Purdue Agronomy.

Other than that I am just getting ready for finals! Finals are stressful and daunting at first, but as long as you plan well and use your time efficiently you will have nothing to worry about.

Good luck and Boiler Up!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Getting Involved with Spring!

Happy Spring All!

Even though it is still chilly and there is some snow on the ground, it has officially turned spring. With spring there comes a lot of exciting events on campus like Spring Fest, Ag Week, registration for new classes, housing fairs, and much much more! Something that has happened every spring that I find exciting is our soils judging competition. In the fall this year we won our regional contest and therefore qualified for nationals which took place last week in Martin, Tennessee. 

National soils judging is always new and interesting not only because you get to see new soils and landscapes, but you also meet a lot of other talented students who you may work with in the future. To begin our trip we stopped along many yummy restaurants on our way to Tennessee last weekend. The next day though was all work and focus. From Sunday through Wednesday our group usually had 4-5 practice pits a day to get a feel for what kind of soils we may see in the contest. Although most days treated us well Mother Nature does not always bring warm, sunny skies. We did have to practice in some snow and sleet and other days were sunny and in the 50's. We got to see a lot of variation for my soils nerds out there we saw a lot of fragipans, erosion, coastal plain sediments, loess, and other exciting features.

We participated in the individual contest on Thursday and then got to judge two pits as a group on Friday morning. The hosting college was very efficient and always tried to keep us up-to-date and happy, and their southern hospitality showed through. Friday afternoon we received rewards and results in the Eiffel Tower Park in Paris...... but it was not in France. We are very proud to bring home the plaque for fifth place overall team in the nation. One of my teammates did very well and placed 10th as an individual out of almost 90 students who participated and we are all very proud of Alyssa. 

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That was a lot of detail, but I wanted to share my experience with getting involved with something that may lead you down the path of your future career. If nothing else, get involved with something that will push your knowledge and help you gain some great friends along the way! If you are thinking of joining the soils judging team send me and email with ANY questions you have. It is a great group of people to hang out with and learn a lot from. 

Boiler Up!

Dakota Westphal

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Spring Break Missions Trip

Hello Everyone,

Spreading Boilermaker spirit throughout Guatemala
Spring break has come and gone and with only 5 weeks of classes remaining the semester will be over before I know it. This spring break I had a unique opportunity to travel to Guatemala on a mission trip with Filter of Hope and provide rural families with the gift of clean water. I went with about 10 other boilermakers involved in the campus ministry Cru(Campus Crusade for Christ). We had an awesome opportunity to get to know the people of Guatemala and teach them how to use the sustainable water filter. The filters we were distributing work on gravity and if properly cleaned can last for 10 years all while filtering out bacteria, parasites, and other harmful substances that are often present in the water of these communities.

Pedro and his family were thankful for the water filter!

Guatemala is listed as a developing country and it was most evident in the rural villages where we were spreading the filters. The people live off the little money they make from farming and producing clothing products. It was very interesting to see how they farm Avocados, coffee, white corn, tomatoes, and other crops. Guatemala goes through a season of precipitation and then another where it doesn’t rain for months so they must plan their crops according to the rainfall. We met a man who had his own greenhouse operation growing tomato and pepper shoots to sell to larger farms along with the typical maize and avocados. He was very open to sharing about his farm and it was evident the ingenuity he had apart from many other farmers in the area.

This is a trip I will not soon forget as it has really made me think about how blessed we are to live in a country with a blessing of material possessions and peace of mind. The people in these villages rely on their faith and each other to survive and even though they have “nothing” in America’s standards they seemed to have just as much joy. It just goes to show what really matters in life and the importance of supporting one another.

Now I'm onto the final round of midterms and the busy month of April!

God Bless and Boiler Up!

Andrew Chupp