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.
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.
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