Senior Embraces Agronomy Studies Through a Variety of Experiences

student Courtney Harle

Courtney Harle, a senior double majoring in agronomy and international agriculture from Kanawha, Iowa, has taken advantage of many opportunities during her time at Iowa State, making for a well-rounded experience.

Over the summer, she gained experience as a field biologist intern with BASF in Story City, Iowa. She assisted in small plot research for crop protection products from laying out trials across the farm to using a backpack sprayer to treat them. She also helped plan and execute many field days where she had the chance to network with internal employees from across many divisions, local co-op retail employees, and farmers. “I worked with a great team of people and loved getting to play a part in bringing new ag solutions to the market to serve farmers,” said Harle. Following graduation, Courtney plans to transition to a new role on the BASF Story City Research Farm to continue supporting the research and development of crop protection pesticides.

Last spring, she competed on the ISU Crops Judging Team. The team competed in two regional contests where she individually placed fourth in both. The team traveled to Modesto, California, for the 2023 North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture (NACTA) National Contest where she competed as an alternate for the team score and individually placed sixth overall. This fall, she continues to compete on the team for upcoming regional and national contests.

Harle has also completed two travel courses and is enrolled in a third. She traveled to the United Arab Emirates over the 2021 Thanksgiving break to explore their economic diversification and culture. During her fall 2022 semester, she traveled to Uruguay to study soils, agricultural field research, and livestock. This coming winter break, she will travel to Panama to learn about tropical agriculture and participate in the Panamanian New Year’s traditions. Harle said, “Traveling abroad has cultivated a love for experiencing life outside my comfort zone. A special thank you to the agronomy department for their support of international travel through the Fellowship Award!”

Currently, she serves as vice president of the Soil and Water Conservation Club and is a two-time recipient of the Elinor L. Fehr and Walter R. Fehr Endowed Scholarship and the Roland W. Holden Memorial Scholarship for the 2022 and 2023 school years.


Photos of Harle above from left: Preparing to spray a small plot herbicide trial during her BASF internship, with Dr. Lee Burras in Uruguay on a hike in Quebrada de los Cuervos National Park, in the United Arab Emirates visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.

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