Friday, September 30, 2016

Summer '16

Intern visit to Dow AgroSciences Headquarters
Hey everyone!  Fall is officially here, and I can’t believe we have already entered the sixth week of school.  Looking back a few months, I can’t help but miss summer and all the awesome people I met and things I learned. 
            From May through August, I worked as a Corn Breeding Intern for Dow AgroSciences in Fowler, IN.  The Fowler location is devoted to corn research, so I learned a lot about basic crop production and specific breeding methods.  It was very interesting being able to apply things that I had learned about in my previous classes to what actually goes on in a breeding research field.  Throughout the summer, I helped collect yield data, organized and prepared seed for planting, and managed a pollination crew.  I even had the opportunity to look at plots in Ohio and Michigan- 
both which were extremely fun trips.
Ryan was very excited
to pull volunteer corn
Emily made my birthday fantastic!
            Along the way, I also met some pretty incredible people.  Two people I got really close to this summer were Emily and Ryan.  Emily is a Benton County native, who is going to school for special education at Indiana Wesleyan.  Her role at Dow AgroSciences was being the Safety Manager, and she definitely did a fantastic job making sure none of us got dehydrated in the fields and bandaged up my fingers whenever they got cut.  She’s probably one of the sweetest people I have ever met, and has great taste in music.  Ryan is a biochemistry major at Purdue who is really interested in herbicide research.  He is very laid back and was good sport working in a field group of all girls.  Being away from my friends this summer, I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to celebrate my birthday, but Emily and Ryan made it such a fantastic night, and my summer seriously would not have been the same without all the awesome memories we made together. 
            I can’t go without mentioning how friendly and awesome the full-time employees were.  They were extremely willing to teach us essentially all that we wanted to learn a  Several times, they would sit us all down in the conference room and give presentations on plant breeding concepts and the history of maize.  Having this additional educational aspect to the internship really enhanced our understanding of why we did things the way we did in the fields and how truly important and exciting the research is that goes behind developing new lines.  Juan, the corn breeder, taught me a lot this summer about the different characteristics selected for in male and female corn lines, and he even helped me start a research project based on QTL’s related pollen production in male lines.
bout plant breeding.
            Reflecting on what a great summer I had this year makes me excited to see what’s in store for me next summer… but I also have the rest of my junior year to look forward to in the meantime. 

If you have any questions about Purdue University, the agronomy department, or the plant genetics and breeding program, feel free to contact me at

-Hallie Wright

Hey future boilermakers (and prospective boilermakers!),

          For those of you who don't know me, my name is Sarah Letsinger. I am a senior in agronomy with a concentration in crop and soil management and a minor in history! I will be graduating in May (which is hard to believe). When I think about my time here at Purdue and about what advice I could give to younger students, a lot comes to mind. I could give advice on classes or student organization opportunities, but when it comes down to it almost anyone can do that. I would rather talk about figuring out what is the most important to you.
       Everyone here at Purdue has the end goal of getting a degree and a job. However along the way you often find yourself and what is the most important to you in life. This past summer I had the opportunity to intern for a company in Illinois. They would have paid me well and it would have been a great experience, but my last summer at home I made the decision I wanted to be with my family. I took an internship with Co-Alliance in my hometown. It was more important to me to be able to see them every day, have the opportunity to go on vacation, helping out on the farm, and cooking dinner with my mom. All the while I was able to work for a great company and even better people! Many people push the idea of having students "go away" to get an experience. If that is what you want to do then go for it! But if you want to stay at home over the summer, you can still have a great work experience.
       Everyone who comes to Purdue for college expects to graduate with a degree of some sort, have gained knowledge and experience in their area of study, and have participated in many things that can be added to the resume. And while all of those things are extremely important, I think it's even more important to figure out what your morals, character, and interests in life are. Future employers are not only looking for someone who knows how to do something, but they are also looking for someone who can be a team player, comes to work with a good attitude, and works well with others. While here at Purdue (or wherever you go) I not only encourage you all to pursue your passions and education, but to make friends, get out of your comfort zone, and take time often to reflect on what kind of person you want to be and what's most important to you in life.

Sarah Letsinger


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

A New Year of Opportunities!

Good afternoon!

My name is Andrew Chupp and I am a Sophomore studying Agronomy with a concentration in Crop and Soil Management. After a few weeks back on campus I can say that I am back in the routine of college life. This summer I had the opportunity to intern with Beck’s Hybrids as a research Intern in Atlanta, Indiana. I had many great opportunities to learn about the seed industry as well as meet many people along the way. Beck’s gave me the responsibility to conduct my own research project and then present my conclusions at the end of the internship. This aspect of my time at Beck’s was a great way for me to learn about proper research techniques while also helping find correlations in wheat varieties for the product development team. Coming straight from my internship back to school made the transition easy as I was already adjusted to living away from home.

Intern Avenue - Andrew Chupp - Outstanding in His Field.JPG

Often times the first half of the fall semester is the busiest time for students, including myself. With the first round of mid term exams approaching next week, work, and extra-curricular activities time management is key. One of the best parts about Purdue is the large amount of opportunities that students get to take part in. Through research, leadership programs, and extracurricular activities (Agronomy club) there are a lot of great ways to develop yourself personally. With this in mind, don’t forget to find time to have fun and enjoy the sights of this great university!

If you have any questions about opportunities in Agronomy or the College of Agriculture feel free to email me at

God bless and Boiler Up!

Andrew Chupp