Sunday, September 21, 2014

Summer as an Interpretative Naturalist- Veronica Yager

Hello All,

Covered bridge at the entrance to Versailles State Park.
This summer I had the amazing opportunity to work at Versailles State Park in southeastern Indiana as the Interpretative Naturalist. I came across this wonderful opportunity while attending a career fair sponsored by the Forestry and Natural Resource department in the Spring of 2014.
Versailles State Park had hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails. In order to make sure I could answer questions about all aspects of our park and explore our large property, I was able to bring my horse in and ride the horseback trails.  

My position at the park as the seasonal naturalist allowed me to start my job at the end of May after finals and work through the middle of August before coming back to Purdue to start the fall semester of my sophomore year. My main roles at the park included running the nature center, organizing interpretative programs, assisting in volunteer efforts, and communicating with the general public. This position allowed me grow as leader and develop effective communication skills.

Interpretative program with the ringneck snake. The ringneck snake will only grow in be about 12'' long at maximum. 

Throughout the summer I did a variety of different programs including the following: snakes, turtles, mammals, tracks, flowers, insects, landforms, tree identification, healthy stream identification, hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, recycling, and more. I learned more during the summer of 2014 then I could have ever imagined about several different aspects of nature.

Buddy park visit at Clifty Falls State Park.
 I was also able to make connections with individuals across the state who worked for the Department of Natural Resources during my interpretative training sessions and inservice training sessions. Thanks to the summer spent working at Versailles, I was able to meet individuals working in state parks all across the state of Indiana and form relationships that will be extremely beneficial when building my career.

The connections and experience that I gained this summer definitely made me realize that Natural Resources and Environmental Science is the right field for me.

Until next time,

Veronica Yager

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Genetic Engineering with Purdue iGEM

Hello, everybody! Hope everyone has enjoyed the first month of what will hopefully be a great semester. Just to quickly introduce myself, my name is Hailey Edmondson and I am a sophomore in Plant Genetics, Breeding, and Biotechnology in the Agronomy Department.

This, while most students were enjoying some time away from Purdue, exciting things were happening on campus! I had the incredible opportunity to work as a research intern for the Purdue iGEM Team. iGEM, International Genetically Engineered Machine, is an international organization of collegiate and high school genetic engineering teams doing research projects each year and helping to further education and development surrounding the field of genetic engineering and synthetic biology. Purdue’s iGEM Team is expanding each year—more members, more complex projects, more recognition. Each year, teams present their research findings at a competitive conference called the iGEM Jamboree. Last year, the Purdue iGEM Team placed third in North America at the regional jamboree in Vancouver, and this year’s team hopes to continue the trend at Boston’s Hynes Convention Center for the International Jamboree this November.

Some of our corn plants growing                                             iGEM's lab space is in Bindley Bioscience Center.
in the greenhouse.

This year, Purdue iGEM aimed to tackle an issue that’s critical in today’s world, and I’m sure we’ve all heard of as people involved in the agriculture sector—global malnutrition. Our goal was to increase nutrient uptake in important crops in order to combat extensive malnutrition that leads to health issues worldwide. Specifically, we targeted iron uptake in corn and rice plants. In order to do this, we engineered Bacillus subtilis, a naturally occurring type of soil bacteria, to produce the chemical compound that corn and rice use to fix and uptake iron from the soil. Our project focused on exploring a paradigm shift related to modifying microbial soil ecologies, which is a different approach than directly engineering the plants themselves.

iGEM interns at a barbecue at Westwood, President Daniels' esate.

I worked with 7 other undergraduate interns from a variety of majors throughout my 10-week internship to create and execute this project. It was an incredible experience learning about experimental design, collaboration with faculty and professionals, and teamwork. In addition to working hard in the lab, we also did some fun social events including a PSUB Summer Barbecue at President Mitch Daniels’ estate! We are continuing this project and collecting data up until we go to Boston this November, I’m looking forward to representing Purdue University and the Agronomy Department!

Members of iGEM representing the team at the College of Agriculture Ice Cream Social.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

First ambassador meeting of the year!

Hi all,

I just wanted to give everyone a look into a typical (the first this year) ambassador meeting! 

Until next time!

-Kole Kamman

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Hello all, I hope everyone’s summer was as great as mine! I was an agronomy sales and marketing intern with Helena Chemical Company out of Eastern Illinois. Helena is an ag retail supplier. They sell seed, fertilizer, chemicals and other crop protectant products. On top of that, Helena has a wide variety of proprietary products that are produced by Helena themselves.
This summer I did a little bit of everything. I rode with several different Helena salespeople each week for the entire summer. On those rides we would either be out on a customer complaint, checking fields to see if they were able to be sprayed, if the product we applied was working, and to talk to growers. This opened my eyes to the ag retail side and how dependent and trusting customers are to their salespeople. This summer I also did a fair share of scouting and tissue sampling. It was fun to apply what I learned the spring semester in my plant pathology and weed science classes to real life experiences when scouting.
Throughout the three months I worked for Helena I was given a project to create a Helena proprietary high yield soybean program. For this, I identified and worked with 2 growers on about 175 acres where we implemented a high yielding plan. This included two applications of 4 different Helena products that would help reduce stress, promote flowering, provide a nutritional, or was a plant growth regulator. These trails will be taken to yield in the fall to see any benefits that the application may have provided.

            Working for Helena was a great experience. I received a large amount of hands on training from the guys I worked with and from many different field days I attended. This internship allowed me to get a feel for many different pieces of the agriculture industry whether it was sales, agronomy, marketing, or custom application.

--Kathryn Graf