My name is Kathryn Graf and I am a senior at Purdue majoring in Agronomic Business and Marketing with a minor in Food and Agribusiness Management. I am actually graduating a semester early so I will be done this December. Yes, I am already becoming nostalgic when I think about leaving, but that means my past three years here at Purdue have been awesome! Without the knowledge I learned in the classroom and the skills I have gained from being involved with different things on campus, I would not feel as competent and confident in myself as I do today.
This summer I was blessed with a wonderful opportunity to intern with BASF on their Midwest Research Farm in Champaign, IL. On the farm they conduct research looking at product performance on products that have not hit the market yet, product performance compared to competitor products on ones that are being currently sold, and do agronomic research. Over the course of the summer then, they host over 1500 people in multiple tours showcasing the different aspects of research that is being done. As an intern, my duties consisted of maintaining ten different research plots. I was to growth stage them, looking for the correct application timing, apply the product, and then rate the product following the application. For all applications, we wore a Tyvek suit for safety, used a back pack sprayer and handheld boom, I am spraying a plot pictured above.
During tour season, I helped out with setting up and preparing for the tours, registration, guiding people to the correct locations, and I even given the opportunity to speak at several of the tours about the plots I was in charge of. This really was a step outside of my comfort zone, I am not a public speaker but I rose to the challenge and discussed the importance of planting early plantings of soybeans to many farmers. As an intern we did several other things such as plant corn and soybeans, travel to other research facilities, mixed chemicals, networked with all of the people coming through the farm, and rode with BASF tech reps and business reps. My summer with BASF was a blast, I learned so much while experiencing many great things. I am one of many Purdue ag students who have had wonderful experiences with their internships and this is one thing the College of Ag prides themselves on, just another reason why Purdue is an exceptional institution to attend!
As I graduate at the end of the this fall semester, I am over joyed to announce that I will not be leaving Purdue. I will be staying to earn a masters degree in soybean agronomy. This is another thing my internship with BASF helped me achieve, direction into what I wanted to study for a masters. I went into the summer thinking I would study weed science, but after working with both weeds and soybeans throughout the summer I decided I was much more interested in soybeans. This directional guidance for me was a huge help and it would not have been possible without the in field experience of an internship. Also, the people I worked with had connections across different universities so I had several options of where to attend.
So to anybody looking to attend Purdue, do it! You will not make a mistake of attending this university, it will actually be one of the best decisions you have ever made. It surely was for me!
Until next time,