Leah Philipp graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Agronomy and a minor in AST (Agricultural Systems Technology) from Iowa State University in May of 2021. Leah shares that she originally went to orientation in June 2018 as a Genetics major and quickly realized she wanted to work more directly with growers instead of working in a seed lab. Today, she works at River Valley Cooperative (RVC) as an Agronomy Account Manager in Ryan, IA.
Iowa State’s goal is to help all undergraduate students be and feel prepared for the next steps in their lives, whether moving on to grad school or starting a full-time position. College is the time to try different classes to find out what you do or don’t like. Leah expressed how helpful it was that she could take various classes to help her narrow down what path she wanted to take in the agronomy industry. “All of my classes were beneficial, but my favorite part was being able to follow my heart a little bit, too. For example, I figured out pretty early on I wanted to work directly with farmers, so I was able to join Crops Team to learn more about what I’d need to know to be successful, such as weed identification, applied math (such as seeding rates, sprayer calibrations, etc.), and the herbicide groups and how they all worked.” Leah shares. Outside of classes, there are many clubs to get involved in within the CALS community to help you expand your knowledge and grow your skills.
Leah is currently working at River Valley Cooperative (RVC) as an Agronomy Account Manager in Ryan, IA. Leah shares, “I knew I wanted to come back to the community I grew up in because I saw the way this area would do anything to help a neighbor in need; wherever I ended up, I wanted to be that person for someone else.” As an Agronomy Account Manager, she is a problem solver, supporter, and advisor. Her responsibilities and tasks change season to season depending on her client’s needs. During the summer months, she scouts fields for various pest pressures. She can tag along in combines in the fall to discuss what worked and what didn’t and see how programs worked. She creates chemical programs for customers that target their specific needs and previous issues during the winter. In the spring, she is responsible for making sure everything is organized and as smooth-sailing as it can be.
As a recent grad in the workforce, we see Leah’s advice as extremely important for undergrads to hear. Leah shares, “Follow your heart and have faith. I had my fair share of things not working out quite how I originally planned, but I’ve been so blessed to be called down this road. Trust me when I say everything will work out exactly how it’s supposed to. You’ll know where you’re going, even when you don’t think you do.”