University of Buenos Aires student interns at Iowa State University

Growing up in a farming community in Lincoln, Argentina, Hernan Torres Pacin has always had an interest in agricultural production. Although his family doesn’t farm, Hernan’s interest in agriculture arose as he helped out many friends and their families on their crop and livestock operations. Hernan is visiting Iowa State University as part of a 4-month internship under the guidance of Dr. Sotirios Archontoulis, Associate Professor in the Department of Agronomy. Hernan is an undergraduate student from Facultad de Agronomia, Universidad de Buenos Aires in Argentina. At his university, Hernan currently works within a remote sensing lab that forages production estimates based on satellite imagery.

During his internship, Hernan assists Dr. Archontoulis and his lab while they complete field and harvest work on university field plots. Specific opportunities include soil, root and crop sampling of plants, shelling and grinding corn crop for research and lab analysis of the harvested crop. “Learning and understanding how science is generated, how data is taken and how experiments are laid out has been most interesting to me. I really enjoy being part of such a large and interdisciplinary team with a lot of people in search of a common goal: the generation of knowledge. It is interesting to see the amount of resources involved and the amount of steps and barriers that must be taken to generate useful data. The team in which I work is great, I have learned a lot from each person involved.”

Prior to his internship at Iowa State University, Hernan interned at the University of Kentucky in 2019 for a 6-month program where he worked specifically with cover crop research and their effects on soil erosion and water conservation. It is through this internship that Hernan met Juan Ignacio Di Salvo, master’s student at the University of Kentucky and now lab technician in Dr. Archontoulis’s lab. Through the connection that he made with Juan and Cintia Sciarresi (PhD student), he was invited to participate in an internship at Iowa State.

Hernan hopes to utilize the skills he has learned while working with Dr. Archontoulis and his lab when he returns to his home country of Argentina on December 31, 2021. Internship opportunities aren’t readily available for students in Latin America and a lot of the initiative must come from the individual seeking the opportunity. Hernan is thankful for the opportunities that have been presented to him and plans to continue collaborations with Dr. Archontoulis with hopes to continue his education after graduation.

Written by CALS Global Programs

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