Sunday, March 22, 2015

Looking in the Rearview Mirror

Hi friends,

The spring semester is flying by and I am only a few short weeks away from graduation. The last month and a half has been very busy for me with graduate school visits, capstone project presentations, exams, extracurricular events, and a much needed spring break trip to the Smoky Mountains. I do know where I am going for graduate school now but since the paperwork isn't all finished I am going to keep it a surprise for my final post, so stay tuned! I thought I would take this opportunity to provide a personal testimony for any students who can't make it for a visit to Purdue. Hopefully by sharing my experiences and thoughts on Purdue Agronomy and Agriculture, any prospective students out there can have a better sense for what it would be like to be a student in our department.

Academic excellence

I truly feel that I have received world class education at Purdue, which is really the first objective of anyone going to college. I have been taught by award winning faculty, including a World Food Prize winner, who genuinely care about the success and learning of students. These professors know my name and still greet me as I walk down the Agronomy or Botany hallway. I have been challenged in my coursework and have been able to simultaneously quench my thirst for knowledge and discover new academic passions. Good grades at Purdue do not come easily and I have worked hard to get to where I am today in terms of grades. I have been afforded the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research which has enhanced many skills I learned in the classroom or lab. I have learned about the inner workings of the scientific community and presented my research. I have made mistakes. Lots of them. However, I have had the support system to help me learn from those mistakes so I do not repeat them. My agronomy classes in particular have always been enjoyable and very interesting; I know I chose the right major because studying for agronomy exams never seems like work.  I know that I am well prepared for the next step of graduate school with a Purdue Agronomy degree.

Professional development

Looking back to when I was a freshman, I would never have imagined the involvements and opportunities I have had in the College of Agriculture and Agronomy Department. I have had three internships with three different companies and through career fairs, speakers, and ambassador events, I have connections all over the agriculture industry. I learned that I really enjoy networking events and meeting people; coupled with my involvement in extracurricular organizations on campus, I have found a love of leadership and a desire to make an impact. I wanted to be a departmental and college ambassador not because it looked good on my resume, but because I genuinely wanted to help other students find their niche and have a phenomenal collegiate experience like I have had. I want to be an inspiration to my peers so that they may go on to do great things for their own personal fulfillment and the betterment of the world. My leadership and professional development journeys have not always been smooth, but I have again learned from my mistakes.Through the mentorship of many outstanding individuals I have grown into a scientist, agriculture advocate, and leader. Agronomy Club in particular gave me a great jumpstart as a freshman. I was able to meet lots of students in the department, go to the national SASES conference, and take on responsibility for the business side of the club. Meeting agronomy alumni at recruiting events has added to my network.


My experience as an agronomy student has been outstanding solely considering the academics and professional development opportunities. What has really made my four years at Purdue something I will forever cherish are the people and relationships I have built. No place is this more evident than in the Agronomy Department and College of Agriculture. The people in this department care about each individual and make you feel like you are a part of a family. The people whom I have worked with are genuine, friendly, and of excellent character. I am proud to be associated with them. I have formed relationships in my lab, with my professors, my club advisors, and in my classes that I hope to carry with me for the rest of my life. I don't think students at other institutions have quite the same experience as Purdue Ag students, and I know that it is not just me that feels this way. For the people I have had the privilege of learning from, the people whom I am honored to call my friends and mentors, and for the people who brought me to the College of Agriculture and the Agronomy Department at Purdue University, I am ever grateful, ever true. 

Daniel Sweeney, Senior- Plant Genetics, Breeding, and Biotechnology

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Study Abroad Australia!

Veronica in Queenstown, New Zealand.
G'day to all my fell bloggers,

This semester I applied and was accepted to study abroad in tropical Townsville, Australia at James Cook University. I am currently a 2nd year student in the Purdue University Agronomy department. I am majoring in Natural Resource and Environmental Science and currently working on picking up a Wildlife minor.
New Zealand landscape. 

Choosing to study abroad has been on of the best decisions that I have ever made. Being abroad has taught me more about myself then I could have even imagined. I have became more independent, capitalized on my strengths, improved my weaknesses, became a better communicator, learned to step out of my comfort zone, and so much more!

I left the USA on January 9th with a fellow Purdue mate to travel early before starting my semester at James Cook University (JCU). I spent two weeks traveling in New Zealand on a Contiki tour before starting my Aussie adventures. New Zealand was incredible. I took part in some crazy activities including bungy jumping, skydiving, jet boat riding, horseback riding, and mountain climbing. I made so many unforgettable memories and friendships in the matter on a few days!

When in Frans Josef, NZ I took a helicopter to the
top of a glacier where I went hiking. 
134m Nevis Bungy Jump in Queenstown, NZ.

After leaving NZ, I began my travels down under. I stated off in Sydney were I did the Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb and stayed at a hostel on Bondi Beach for Australia Day (like the American 4th of July) before taking a 12hr train ride to Melbourne. After spending 6 nights in Melbourne, I took a 9hr bus ride to Canberra to stay with my new friend Stephaine that I meet in New Zealand and here family. Canberra is the capital city of Australia, and Steph and her family gave me a grand tour of the nations capitol.
Australian Parliament House with Stephanie and her father in Canberra. 

Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb wit fellow Purdue travel partner.
Stephaine and I took a two day road trip to the Snowy Mountains were I got to live out my dream of riding horses in the "Man from Snow River" country. This was truly and incredible experience. I then flew out of Canberra and into Townsville to where I would be stating "uni" on February 23rd, as the Aussies call it.

Riding horses in the Snowy Mountains.

My first week in Townsville was a blast. I did the new student orientation program where I got to know the campus and my fellow students. I am taking four courses at JCU: Wildlife Ecology Management, Australian Landscape and Processes, Conserving Marine Wildlife: Mammals, Sea, Birds, and Reptiles, and Tourism and the Environment.  JCU has an incredible library that I am taking full advantage of it for my research.

I am really enjoying my classes and it actually feels nice to get back into the swing of school again. My classes are all extremely interesting and involve a lot of fieldwork and practical experience. All of my courses but one have field trip off campus for further study and fieldwork. For my Wildlife and Ecology Management course I will be going a cattle station in central Queensland on mid semester break to run field test on the impacts of wildlife and invasive species on different pastures at the station.

On the weekends I go over to Magnetic Island where I work at Horseshoe Bay Ranch as a trail guide/ranch hand.

Swimming horses in the ocean at Horseshoe Bay on Magnetic Island.
I cannot wait to see what the rest of the semester has in store for me!

Until next time.


Veronica Yager

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Stop the Stone Quarry!

I am a double major in Natural Resources and Environmental Science, as well as Film and Video Studies.  This semester I have embarked on my first short documentary film.  I chose to do it on an environmental issue affecting the surrounding area.  The film focuses on the proposed stone quarry in Americus, IN.  It covers topics such as the law, the voice of the people in the community, and the issue of building a quarry right next to the Wabash River floodplain.

I am learning a lot about how environmental action and research is necessary in law and bettering communities.  The conflict is that Stone Quarries provide a necessary resource to society and the company is expecting a large return from the quarry operation, however having a quarry in an area with upwards of 100 homes within a mile could be devastation to their community.  

(This is a photo of the couple leading the community action in stopping the stone quarry)

It is my last semester here at Purdue and I am so grateful for all that I have learned in my time here.  It is always a great feeling when everything seems to come together and as I look to the future, I feel prepared and excited to continue working in environmental filmmaking.


Colleen Harvey