Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Purdue Part II

Hey current and future Boilermakers!

My name is Nick Roysdon, I am a sophomore studying Agronomy: Crop and Soils Management. This year I am taking a verity of agronomy and other agriculture related courses, such as Soil Sciences, Agriculture Economics, and Plant Pathology.

Sophomore year is interesting. You readjust to the college life a lot faster, but responsibilities accumulate fast. But I am enjoying it so far and love being back on campus!

Welcome to the new freshman, I hope your first round of midterms are going well. Purdue is a great place to get an education, but if you aren't careful you will lose track of things fast. Keep on it, but don't forget to have fun. And always feel free to contact us ambassadors for help. My email is, let me know if you need anything.

Good luck!


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Undergraduate Research: The Hellbender Lab

Me and the snapping turtle. 

Hello All,

For those of you who do not know me, my name is Roni and I am a senior here at Purdue (where has the time gone!?) I am majoring in Natural Resources and Environmental Science and minoring in Wildlife. 

I currently conducting undergraduate researcher in Dr. Williams Hellbender lab. The hellbender is a giant salamander that grows to be 2.5 ft long and is endangered in the state of Indiana. Currently, the hellbender is only found in 1 river in Indiana, which is the Blue River located in southcentral Indiana near Corydon, IN. 

Wynadotte Cave Opening with Herbie. 

This summer I lived on the field site in O’Bannon State Park. I worked building cages, surveying for hellbenders in the Blue River, collecting macroinvertebrate and crayfish samples for my research project, and doing extension and outreach events for local fairs. I am currently still working on my project and will be traveling back to Corydon throughout the semester and to Georgia in October to collect more samples. Specifically, my project is looking at hellbender food sources and suitable release locations for juvenile hellbenders from our captive rearing and head-starting program (I can explain this all later if anyone wants more details). 

Taking of a wetsuit can be a challenge!
Crayfish are the main prey of adult hellbenders and larval hellbenders eat macroinvertebrates. I am measuring the abundance of macroinvertebrates and crayfish in the Blue River, IN (declining hellbender population); Indiana Creek, IN (no hellbender population) ; and Toccoa River, GA (healthy  hellbender population)  to see if Indiana Creek could be a potential release site in the future to help stabilize the declining, endangered Indiana population.   I am also doing extra extension and outreach event for the Williams lab on wetlands and amphibian health as well as helping out with a workshop put on for farmers to learn about different conservation practices to prevent soil erosion. The main reason for hellbender decline is siltation from farm fields. Hellbenders live in steams with fast flowing, clear water under large rocks. Hellbenders are important because they are an indicator species of water quality. Silt suspended in the water column settles out under the rocks where hellbenders lives, which displaces them from their habitat. The main job of our outreach efforts is to make the public aware of the hellbender, their decline, and what they can do to help conserve this species. 

If you want to learn more about hellbenders, go to!



Veronica Yager

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Welcome Back to Purdue!

Hello Everyone!

My name is Sarah Voglewede and I am currently a sophomore here at Purdue. While I'm originally from Lafayette, IN, I had the amazing opportunity to live in Canada for three years, and now my family lives in a small town outside of Indianapolis, IN. While I am not from an agricultural background, I have found that I love the business and the science behind the products our industry produces. I'm majoring in Agronomy with a concentration in business and marketing and a minor in Food and Agribusiness Management. I am set to graduate in the spring of 2019. I am also part of two certificate programs within the College of Agriculture; the Dean's Scholars Program and the Leadership Development Certificate Program. This is my first year as an Agronomy Ambassador, and I am very excited to get to know more about the Department of Agronomy and all the opportunities it has to offer for its students!

Over the summer, I was a crop scout intern at Co-Alliance in Russellville, IN. I gained this internship through the College of Agriculture Career Fair; something I would encourage all students to attend. I was responsible for scouting over 2500 acres of corn and beans in the Russellville area. In many of my introductory agronomy classes, I learned how to identify weeds, diseases, and insects. However, when you are out in the field, these things look very different and can be harder to diagnose. This internship gave me the opportunity to practice the agronomic background I had been given and to gain a wider knowledge about field practices. This is a picture of all the scouts I worked with over the summer:
While neon orange may not be my favorite color, at least I was visible in the fields!

For all the new students this year, welcome to Purdue! I know exams are starting up and classes are getting harder, but all of this is leading to a dream job in the industry you are passionate about. At my time here at Purdue in the College of Agriculture I have learned that the one thing that makes our college and department stand out is the people. We have a dedicated faculty and staff that make it their mission to inspire students and create the best opportunities and experiences. Don't be afraid to ask questions or seek new opportunities during your time at Purdue. Feel free to ask me any questions; I would love to help!

Sarah Voglewede

Fun Phrases From the Nature Center

Welcome to the Ag Blog! My name is Kasha, and I’m a sophomore majoring in Natural Resources and Environmental Science with a concentration in policy and minors in Political Science, Environmental Politics and Policy, Spanish, and Communication (we’ll see if that last one actually happens). Although many students opt for an internship over the summer, I happened to find a job that was perfect experience for my major. This summer I had the pleasure of working at a Nature Center in Cool Creek Park. Having work experience before, I went into the job expecting another traumatizing experience that would make me hate people even more. But I was wrong. By the end of the summer, I loved that job so much my co-workers threw a party for me and we all cried. Not to mention I was working for the Parks and Recreation Department, which happens to be a main plot of one of my favorite shows. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and to give you a glimpse into the daily life at a nature center, here were some phrases used that would normally deserve a second glance but were perfectly normal at the nature center:

“Should we give the giant tortoise a bath? I think he would enjoy it….”

“Hey can you grab this crow from me when I get up on the ladder, I can’t seem to dust it properly from up there, it keeps moving too much”

“Do you think Mary would notice if I stuck this taxidermic raccoon’s paw in the pencil cup?”

“When is Henry Lee Summers going to get here? Does anyone know what he drives? We have to make sure he gets on stage without the audience seeing him”

“Can we go look for Monarch eggs again?”

“Do you think this is enough marshmellows for all the kids at the campfire?”

“GUYS come watch this hawk devour a cardinal!!!! (everyone flocks to the window)”

“Where can we put the decapitated raccoon head that’s been hanging out in my office? Do you think we can nail him to that tree by the front entrance?”

“Did you remember your creek-stomping shoes?”

“(Sneaking up behind guests with a live snake) would you guys like to pet a snake? (usually accompanied by screams)”

Needless to say, I hope to continue this job. And yes, I did indeed get to take care of a giant tortoise. His name is Chumley. He weighs 28 pounds.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Lucky to be a Boilermaker!

Hello All!

If this is your first time on our blog, welcome! I am Dakota Westphal and am currently a sophomore majoring in Agronomic Business and Marketing. This is my first year as an Agronomy Ambassador but I am very excited to get started and share all the great things Purdue has to offer. This summer I had an opportunity to expand my horizons and network with some great individuals while being an intern for AgVenture D&M. I not only got to learn a lot through training, but I had the opportunity to apply that training with high responsibilities and show the company what I could do. Traveling was a highlight of the summer not only to meet new people, but to see how agronomy and agriculture was different from state to state. This summer helped me grow as a professional and individual and I was very excited to start classes again and apply what I learned.

This week has started exam week and like many others I am starting to feel some pressure and wondering how I will get through a couple exams. These are hard weeks especially for those who are freshmen, but these are the times to embrace and truly take a look around at all we have in front of us (besides scantrons and exams). At Purdue we are beyond blessed with the opportunities, encouragement, and community that we are surrounded by. Be sure as this fall flies by to take ahold of some of those great opportunities like university activities, career fairs, intramural sports, and football games. Also check in with any of us to get involved with crops judging, soil judging, agronomy club, and other activities the department has to offer its students. These blessings we have only skim the surface as we develop new relationships with friends, reconnect with family, and find more out about ourselves. Take these special years at Purdue to get to know the campus, the people around you, and take advantage of the opportunities that surround you everyday.

Be sure to email me with any questions:

Boiler Up!
Dakota Westphal

Monday, September 19, 2016

Welcome back for the Fall Semester and a new year!

Hi everybody and happy Monday! Also, welcome back for another semester in ~West Lafiesta~! For those who do not know me formally, my name is Gina Zaccagnini and I am a junior here at Purdue studying Natural Resources and Environmental Science with minors in Environmental Policy and Environmental Sustainability. I am from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Go Steelers), and this is my third year as an AGRY/NRES Ambassador for the College of Agriculture. I am very excited to be back here on campus, but I did have a pretty eventful summer! Although I did not have any internships or anything, I was able to take some summer classes to get ahead with credits, and I was able to travel to Boston for the first time, as well, as spending two weeks out here to visit close friends that I have met at Purdue, and then my family and I went to South Carolina for a week! So needless to say, I really was not home at all during the month of July. Although my summer was pretty busy, this semester is also off to a busy start as well. The one thing that I absolutely love about Purdue is the fact that there are so many clubs and activities to get involved in. For me, I am involved in my sorority, in which I am now this years Philanthropy Chair, as well as being a member of the University Choir which is a group within Purdue Musical Organization (PMO). In addition, I am part of the Outreach Committee for the Purdue Dance Marathon (PUDM)... so lots of stuff going on over here as well as taking 15 credit hours for the semester! Regardless of anything, I am very excited to be back here at school with my best friends, and I am looking forward to all of the great things that are to come! I wish you all a great school year, and I hope you had a fantastic summer as well. Happy (almost) fall... only two more days of summer! Study hard and keep your heads up high everybody!

Have a great rest of your week & Boiler Up!


Gina :)

*Picture of my family and I in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina this past July! Love them to pieces!*

Friday, September 16, 2016

Welcome back, and welcome home!

Welcome Boilermakers!

For those of you who are new to the blog or the Agronomy Department I would like to introduce myself.  My name is Nick Thompson, I am currently a Junior majoring in Crop and Soil Management.  I am from Warren, Indiana which is a small rural community in between Fort Wayne and Muncie.  My family owns and operates two small businesses that I have had the pleasure of working at this past summer, one is a 400 acre row crop operation and the second is Huntington Tool & Die.  I spent most of my summer operating mills and lathes to produce various parts for customers around the country.  I do have a desire to work in the machining/engineering field but my real desire is the outdoors.  One of my favorite things outdoors is the smell of freshly tilled soil early in the morning and many of you would probably agree it is the 8th wonder of the world.

Harvest is underway in this area and will soon fire up in my neck of the woods.  Which is always an interesting time as I try and help on the farm, manage school work, and maximize my time where I really want to be, in a tree hunting deer.  Just like waking up to the smell of soil in the air during planting, nothing beats waking up in the fall and watching an Indiana sunrise.

This image really sums of my interests and passions.  Agriculture and wildlife management have been my interests since I was twelve.  

I want to encourage you all to follow your interests and do what makes you happiest.  I turned down a great internship this past summer to pursue something I had an interest in.  I will now be returning to the career fair in just a few short weeks to head back into the agriculture industry for this upcoming summer.  Not because I did not enjoy my past summer, it was a blast.  But, because my real desire is to work and improve agriculture and the environment.  

Boiler Up, Hammer Down!

Nick Thompson