Soil Superstar

At Iowa State, I’m learning what it means to use science to study soil. I’m learning how soil is a nonrenewable natural resource that produces food and fiber, creates bioenergy, and filters and stores our water. That’s why I’m studying how to protect our soil and, therefore, our environmental quality for years to come. So I can become an agronomist. So I can make an impact on future generations.

About Hannah

I was raised on my family’s farm near Lake City, Iowa. We have corn, soybeans, a cow-calf herd and a beef cattle operation. Through working on our farm, I fell in love with agriculture. I took high school horticulture classes and became involved with FFA soil judging. I discovered that my favorite topics to learn about were plants and soils. Agronomy was the perfect fit for me to become more involved with agriculture through studying plants and soils!

I am concerned that we as a society are irreversibly damaging our soils and water. They are both irreplaceable resources, and we often take them for granted. There are few people who rely on and work with the land more than farmers, and I believe that they are the best chance we have at changing the way we think about soil and water. Many farmers are already using conservation practices, and I want to take part in helping them implement even more. I am also concerned about the many public misconceptions about agriculture. From GMOs to the treatment of livestock, there is a problematic gap between public knowledge and what is actually happening in agriculture. Throughout my career I have a goal to play a part in closing this gap.

Being able to understand the science behind these issues is extremely important, but effective communication skills are absolutely essential. Put yourself in a position to become proficient at both. You can learn in classes or develop communication skills through internships and campus involvement. Communication is key and will be an important lifelong skill.

Why Iowa State?

My parents are both Iowa State alums, so I have been a lifelong Cyclone. After becoming interested in Agronomy, Iowa State was the obvious choice. The Agronomy program at Iowa State is top of the line, and after visiting Ames and Iowa State’s campus, it simply felt like home.  I was a little overwhelmed at first, but going on the Agronomy New Student Learning Community field trip was extremely helpful. I became good friends with my Agronomy class on the trip and then had friends to go to class with, study with and hang out! Establishing those relationships and getting involved with campus organizations my freshman year made Iowa State feel like home. Two years later, I am still great friends with many of the people I met on that field trip. I even live with some of them! Some of my favorite classes have been Crop Development, Production, and Management with Dr. Christian, Environmental Soil Science with Dr. Burras and Introduction to Plant Breeding with Dr. Barb.

The overall experience of the agronomy program is unique, and I have loved it. The Agronomy New Student Learning Community trip, Agronomy and SWC Club and the Crops and Soil Judging teams all provide great opportunities for agronomy students to connect with each other. Through getting involved with some of these groups I have made great connections throughout the department. It is rare that I go to an agronomy class and do not know most of the people in there! My adviser is Dr. Erik Christian. He has been a great resource for me for internship help, class decisions and so much more. I have enjoyed getting to know him! 

Activities

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Ambassadors

Soil and Water Conservation Club, Getting into Soil and Water Publication Committee

Soil Judging Team

Advice

Agronomy at Iowa State is a great place to be if you want to be involved with great classes, faculty, peers, internships and campus organizations. It is a diverse program that you can tailor to your interests; soils, sales, crop production, research, conservation, going home to farm and much more. The agronomy program does a great job of preparing you for a career, and with an almost 100% job placement rate,  I cannot think of a better place to be!