Alumni

Congratulations to our spring graduates! 

Brittany Abernathy 

Meet senior Brittany Abernathy, originally from Indianola, Iowa! After graduation, Brittany will be moving to Bear, Delaware where she will be a full time employee for Corteva Agrisciences. Her favorite class during her time here was Weed ID with Dr. Hartzler.

Once Brittany moves, she is definitely going to miss being able to live so close to all of the friends that she has created during her time here. Her favorite memory while being here would have to be meeting with different professionals in the same field and hearing their different experiences and stories.

Rebecca Clay, agronomy alumna (2016) swore-in as a Peace Corps Volunteer in June 2017 and has been living and working in a rural community in the foothills of the Himalayans in Lamjung, Nepal since. At site she works with community members to identity and pursue agricultural practices which address issues of malnutrition, soil degradation, and labor outmigration. Here is an account of her experience so far.

“I’m lucky to have been placed at a site where I can see the Himalayan mountains from my bedroom window—breathtaking, and the geologic giants keep my work and life in perspective.

Rebecca Vittetoe graduated in 2014 with her BS in Agronomy with a minor in journalism and mass communications minors, and she will be graduating in 2019 with her MS in Agronomy. She currently resides in Washington, IA where she is an Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Field Agronomist.

Rebecca serves 10 counties in the East-Central Iowa where she helps to provide and deliver research based-information to help producers and retailers make more informed decisions. This would involve proving large group meetings, more small group meetings, and even working with people one on one, such as a field call. Rebecca loves the people she gets to meet and work with in this job, from the farmers and retailers to her colleagues.

Macy Heetland graduated in December of 2015, and has kept herself busy working for Syngenta in Murray, Kentucky. She is a support specialist where she assists Syngenta Personal and AgriEdge Specialists and their growers in Land.db. She also trains new AgriEdge and Certified AgriEdge Partners on the functionalities of the Land.db Software. Macy leads the Sustainability Project, and is the Back-up Lead on E-Luminate. Macy likes working with growers from all over the United States and training them on the Land.db software.

It has been almost a year since Matt Levan graduated in May of 2018. He is now located in DeWitt, IA where he is a Production Management Trainee for Remington Seeds. His primary duties include learning to be a manager under the current management team, while also learning the duties of all the employees to better understand how to manage their duties. This applies to duties of all employees in both the production plant and in the seed corn field.

Emily Putze is a recent 2017 graduate of the Agronomy Department. She is currently located in Nebraska as an Associate Territory Manager at Corteva Agriscience, formerly known as Dow/DuPont Pioneer. Her main job duties include working with local retailers to help positions Corteva chemical products to growers. Emily trains retailers and growers on how certain products are used so that growers can get the best experience possible when using the products. She makes smart decisions to protect the environment while at the same time, still helping farmers succeed in the fight against weeds and pests. Emily uses her agronomic knowledge to diagnose problems in the field and then, with that knowledge, she is able to determine what means are needed to be taken in order to control it.

John Hammerly graduated in 2007 with his degree in Agronomy. He is now currently located in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he is the Soil Data Quality Specialist for the United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Soil and Plant Division.

With his position, he serves as the Soil Survey Representative to an assigned area and he assures the technical quality of soil survey data. Tyler also coordinates the development and presentation of soil interpretations with the National Soil Survey Center (NSSC) and other technical soil scientists. He provides training and technical assistance to soil survey offices in all phases of soil survey for his assigned area.

Kirsten Backes is a recent 2017 graduate. She is now located in Woodland, California where she is an associate in the Production and Supply Development Program for Syngenta, a rotational leadership development programs for college graduates. Each rotation is one year long, and so far she has completed two of the three years. Kirsten’s first rotation was in Waterloo, NE in seed corn operations. Her second rotation is happening right now in Woodland, CA in vegetable production, and her final rotation will be in Slater, IA in seed production research and digital technology. Her job duties vary from site to site.

Staci (Schmitt) Osborn graduated from Iowa State in 2006 with her degree in Agronomy. She is currently located in Winthrop, Iowa where she is a Field Testing Agronomist for Bayer. Her primary job duties are planning, planting, scouting, and harvesting field trials around northeast Iowa. Staci enjoys the variety that comes with her job. Each day is different and the people that she works with can vary week to week which is a nice change of pace for her.

The Agronomy Department had lots of opportunities to be involved and with those opportunities, they led her to meeting new people. It also provided her the opportunities for speaking and working closely with professors.

Jacob Perkins graduated in May of 2016 and he is now located in South Central Minnesota, where he is a Retail Sales Representative with Syngenta. His primary job duties are working with and through local retailers to help growers make the best agronomic and financial decisions for their operations regarding crop production products.

What Jacob likes most about his job is that he has the ability to help a grower from the planning stages of their crops, through the growing season if changes are needed, and then finally at the end of the year. He also likes to see what kind of ROI their products are providing for growers.

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