Sunday, December 11, 2016

Finals Week Tips!

Dead week, or the week where we are supposed to have no tests or quizzes in order to prepare for finals week, is, in essence, dead and gone. Which means finals week is here! For many a student, the words "finals week" induces such a strong sense of anxiety that it leaves many on the floor crying. But honestly, when prepared, finals week is nothing to cry about.

Now, many people have probably heard horror stories about finals week, but I promise that they're not as bad as they seem. Here are some tricks and tips to dealing with finals week whether it's your first or last:

1. Prepare all semester. I'm not talking about studying for finals all semester, but try to do well in the class overall. Many times if you're grade is high enough you don't have to worry about achieving a high grade on the final.
2. Coffee is your friend. Not to stay up all night, but to stay focused during the day.
3. Study a few days in advance. Cramming will not do you any good, but studying too far in advance may lead you to not remember as much from those early study days. I recommend three to four days for memorization-based classes and longer for application-based classes, but do what works for you.
4. SLEEP. Not only will sleep help you focus for studying and for finals, but everyone gets sick around finals. The more sleep you get, the better off your immune system will be.
5. Eat good meals, but don't stress when you don't. You should definitely be eating at least three meals to keep up energy, but don't stress if you find yourself eating lots of chocolate. It happens to everyone.
6. Take breaks. After about an hour of studying, your mental capacity to take in more information slowly dwindles down to zero. Even if it's just a 15 minute break, get up, leave your study area, stretch, and walk around. I also recommend continuing to exercise.
7. Take deep breathes. If you studied, you know more than you think you know. Relax, take the final, and be over with it. At that point, you know it or you don't and it's out of your hands.
8. And finally, don't worry about what other people are doing. Everyone studies differently and everyone has different finals. Some people will study much more than you, some much less. But they're not you. Worry about your own week.

Finals week is a different experience for everyone, and you never really know what to expect until you go through it once. But hopefully these may help you in the future and make your finals week a little less stressful!


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! This year, while reflecting on the opportunities I've had so far, I realized how thankful I am for Purdue Agronomy.

Through Purdue Agronomy, I've been able to go on a lot of awesome trips, from as close as Chicago, IL, to Phoenix, AZ. I have an opportunity to take interesting classes, make lifelong friends, and go on amazing adventures.

Earlier this month, I was given the opportunity to travel to Phoenix for SASES, the national meeting for students in agronomy. While there, I was able to learn a lot about desert agriculture, and the benefits and negative effects of growing there. Just a few weeks ago, I was given able to travel to Chicago, IL to compete in the Chicago Board of Trades crops judging contest. We stayed downtown, so beyond the contest, we explored the city and even had a skyline dinner!

As a student in agronomy, I am blessed to have a program that cares about me, invests in me, and allows me to grow as an individual. Have a happy thanksgiving!


Monday, November 21, 2016

A Much Needed Thanksgiving Break

Happy (early) Thanksgiving!!

This semester has been quite hectic for me (as well as all the other ambassadors) so far.  Between taking microbiology, biochemistry, and physics, and being involved with sorority events and working on my capstone project, I am very much looking forward to Thanksgiving break.  In honor of the holiday, I have decided to compile a list of some of my favorite Thanksgiving foods and family activities that I can't wait to enjoy over break.

My sister, Shelby, and I during
Thanksgiving last year
To start off my break, I'm going home on Thanksgiving Eve to enjoy a nice steak night with my dad and my sister.  My dad and I started a little tradition this summer in which he made lean, sirloin steaks (my favorite!) every time I came home on the weekends from my internship.  Now, every time I come home from college, we keep the tradition going.  Plus, I am super excited that my sister will be joining us that night! Unfortunately, due to her Murray State Rodeo Team involvement, she won't be able to spend time with us on the actual Thanksgiving holiday.  So I'm very happy I'll be able to spend time with her the night before and catch up.  Many say that my sister and I are pretty much twins when it comes to our personalities- and that's actually pretty true.  I would say she's one of my best friends and she keeps my life very interesting (to say the least), even though she lives 5 hours away.

Each year for Thanksgiving, my family and I go to my grandmother's house in Kentucky- and let me tell ya, there is NOTHING better than Thanksgiving in the south! My grandmother makes the best homemade rolls and noodles there are (family recipes of course), along with a Kentucky Derby chocolate pie.  This year, I want to try to put my cooking skills to the test and make a Razzle-berry pie along with some homemade mac and cheese.  I'm hoping Pintrest will be able to help me out on that. ;) And of course, Thanksgiving could not be complete without turkey and a honey-smoked ham.  Yum, yum.  All this talk about food is making me far too excited for the holiday.

Aside from the food and time away from school, I am really looking forward for some quality family time.  It is so easy to get consumed in all that is going on at school or life in general that it can be easy to forget to take time to spend with loved ones.  I hope all of you get to take the day to really appreciate your family and friends and remember all that you are thankful for!  We have so many blessings as American citizens, and so much to be grateful for

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday,

Hallie Wright

Monday, November 14, 2016

Thankful & Ready for Some Turkey!

Hello everyone, 

A lot has changed since I last posted in the blog! The fall weather has officially set in, classes have gotten even more crazy, and finals week is quickly creeping up on us. As college students you can imagine that we look forward to any break we can get. We get a whole 3 days off of classes to relax, stuff our faces, and shop till we drop! 

I was fortunate enough to get a mini break from classes and campus last week from going to Phoenix, Arizona. As a member of the Agronomy Club you are affiliated with the national student organization SASES (Students of Agronomy, Soils and Environmental Sciences.) This year the national meeting was held in Arizona and members of the Agronomy Club get the opportunity to attend and compete in competitions such as crops judging showcase, presidents trophy, speech contest, visual presentation contest and so much more. I've had multiple opportunities to travel for SASES meetings, including Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minneapolis, Texas, California and now Arizona! I'd have to say Arizona has been one of my favorites, the weather was amazing and the agriculture is so much different than what we have here in Indiana.

Through the SASES organization we get to attend tours. On my tour we got to visit a rose farm (I never knew there was such a thing in Arizona), a radish farm, a composting facility, a small scale organic farm, and a park full of desert plants and cacti. SASES has really opened my eyes to the various types of agriculture across our country. From avocados, cranberries, cotton, corn, research facilities and equipment manufacturing, I've gotten the opportunity to experience so much through SASES! 

As Thanksgiving approaches I have so much to be thankful for, my friends and family, attending a wonderful university, and receiving the opportunities of a life time. As a senior looking back to my first semester I never imagined I'd receive so many opportunities that I have here at Purdue. While I love being at Purdue, I also enjoy going home to spend time with my family. I wish you all a great Thanksgiving! 

Till next time, 


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Almost Break!

Hi everyone, Gina here!

It's seriously unbelievable to think that this semester is almost over. I hope you all have been successful in all of your endeavors thus far, and I hope you are just as excited as I am for the holidays! Purdue, as always, is keeping me very busy this semester, along with the other students here as well. After participating in the formal recruitment process here for my sorority, to being a committee member for PUDM (Purdue University Dance Marathon) and having to dance for 18 hours straight, I can now officially say that the 83rd Annual Purdue Christmas Show is in full swing for all of the students involved in PMO (Purdue Musical Organizations).... on top of taking 15 credit hours. This entire month of November for me is entirely filled up with rehearsals everyday until the show which is on December 3rd and 4th! Although very busy, I am very thankful for Purdue offering numerous things to its students. From various clubs and activities, to the ability of being able to network with many huge companies, Purdue is an incredible university, and I consider myself extremely lucky and blessed to be able to attend this school. I'm going to keep this blog post short, but since Thanksgiving is coming up and the semester to coming to an end, please do not forget about all of the things you are thankful for in life. I know things get busy and they can get stressful, but sometimes you just need to take a step back from everything, take a deep breath, and be thankful for the things you do have, big and small. With that being said, best of luck the rest of this semester on finals and everything, and have a Happy Thanksgiving and a great Christmas! Feel free to contact me about anything, my email is below! :)

Best of luck and all the best,

Gina Zaccagnini
Natural Resources and Environmental Science '18

Friday, November 11, 2016

Celebrating the Love for Agronomy

Happy Fall Everyone!

It has been quite the week spent in class, taking exams, and oh we got to spend some great time in Phoenix, Arizona sharing the love for Agronomy with hundreds of students. Just one short week ago about twelve of us flew out to Arizona for the national Students of Agronomy, Soils, and Environmental Sciences (SASES) meeting. This was my first national meeting for the organization and was not so sure what to expect, but I was amazed at the opportunities and great fun we had while in the Southwest. 

One of our days was spent going on tours of local agricultural businesses and attractions. There were many types of tours to choose from, but I thought the tour I participated in was very informational and fun. We got to visit a rose bush farm and learned that Arizona is one of the leading producers of rose bushes! Not only was this interesting to learn about, but it made quite the site by the mountains and smelled BEAUTIFUL!! We also got to visit a radish production farm, a composting business, an organic farm, and wrap up with visiting a state park. This state park was not one you would imagine from Indiana. While we got to hike around the trails for about an hour we were surrounded by different cacti and wildlife that I have never had the opportunity to see in their natural habitat before. Of course before leaving we all had to hit the shop to buy us some cacti to                                                                                     bring back a little warmth to Indiana!

The tours were amazing, but the opportunities for networking and professional growth were outstanding. Throughout our few days there we got to look at research posters and discuss with grad students their research and findings and the opportunities for us in grad school. Many of us in our group also had the opportunity to participate and excel in our competition areas. I personally got to participate in the speech contest and met so many passionate individuals in this area and I learned so much from my and their speech research. We did very well with our quiz bowl team and learned a lot in crops judging as well.

There is so much more to share about this trip and the opportunities in agronomy and the Purdue Agronomy Club! Please feel free to contact me at

Best Wishes
Dakota Westphal
Agronomic Business & Marketing

Monday, November 7, 2016

International Development--Preparing for Haiti!

Hello, everyone!

It's hard to believe it's already November... The semester has flown by! I just wanted to share some information about a one of my classes-- Engagement Methods for International Food Security in Haiti (YDAE491). I have always been very interested in international development and food security, so when I learned about this course I knew it would be a great learning experience! Purdue has a collaboration with an agriculture-focused university in Cap-Haitien, Haiti-- Université Anténor Firmin (UNAF). This course provides Purdue students with the opportunity to design and present educational tools to Haitian students and agriculturalists at UNAF through a study abroad program, as well as learning about Haitian agriculture from collaborators in Haiti. 

The course is designed in three parts-- preparation and project planning in the fall semester; a 10-day service learning trip to Cap-Haitien, Haiti during winter break; and a follow-up class in the spring to reflect and build upon existing projects. Small groups of Purdue students are assigned to a specific project theme, with this year's groups focusing on water quality, food preservation and technology, intensive vegetable production, and business. These teams are interdisciplinary, and many agronomy students have been on this trip!

I am a member of the intensive vegetable production team, which is a new team this year. After some research and communication with collaborators in Haiti, we decided to address the challenge of insect pressure which can be a serious obstacle for vegetable producers. We are currently designing a presentation outlining the key concepts involved in integrated pest management strategies, and will be demonstrating simple methods for agricultural insect control including a DIY insect trap. 

This is a quick overview of the course and project, but I will be writing about my actual time in Haiti come January! I'm really looking forward to this experience and can't wait to give more updates soon. 

Feel free to contact me with any questions/comments!

Hailey Edmondson
Plant Genetics & Breeding, 2017