Department

Leah Philipp, sophomore in agronomy from Manchester, Iowa is one of two of the Department of Agronomy's peer mentors.

"I came to Iowa State because I originally wanted to study genetics in agriculture as I wanted to give back to the farming community that helped me become the person I am, and I knew Iowa State had an awesome ag program," said Leah. "At orientation, I realized I wanted to work more directly with farmers instead of in a research lab, so I changed my major to agronomy, and honestly, that was the absolute best decision I ever made."

Every school year, the department looks forward to students returning to campus to start back up one of their favorite traditions, the popcorn and doughnut stand in agronomy hall.

The Agronomy Club at Iowa State sets up a stand across from the commons to sell popcorn and doughnuts every Friday, starting early in the morning.

Junior in agronomy Ben Kolbe is currently the sales co-chair alongside Tyler Simons. “Before being co-chair I worked the stand every Friday,” Kolbe said. “My favorite part of working the shift is getting to see and talk with students and faculty that I might not get to see otherwise because they aren’t in any of my classes.”

Kolbe also explained that all of the funds from the popcorn and doughnut stand go directly back to the club, supporting activities such as Experience Agronomy and SASES.

Senior in agronomy Tyler Flak had the opportunity to spend his summer as an agronomy intern at CNH Industrial.

Tyler spent his time both in the office and field. In the office, he worked on field data, background reading, and presentation. When he was in the field he collected data and helped setup experiments.

Tyler's favorite part of his internship was traveling to Kentucky to work on farm trials.

By being in agronomy classes at Iowa State, Tyler learned to have an open mind and was also exposed to different crop production, such as wheat, that he found to be very helpful. He also had experience from past internships working with sprayer application that provided him with a good background for being an agronomy intern.

The Iowa Crop Improvement Association has pledged $1.5 million to Iowa State University’s feed mill and grain science complex.

Iowa Crop Improvement Association’s gift was announced earlier this month, during the groundbreaking ceremony for the $21.2 million project, which will be located on university-owned land south of Highway 30 in Ames. 

Senior in agronomy Perla Carmenate spends her time taking classes at Iowa State as well as working in Dr. Emily Heaton, Associate Professor and Extension Biomass Crop Expert's lab.

As a first-generation college student that has been commuting from Des Moines all four
years, it was difficult for Perla to get involved early on in her college career. However, she has participated in conversations with students and faculty members that have brought awareness to issues multicultural students face at predominately white institutions. This helped develop her communication skills. Because she commutes, Perla has also learned how to manage her time between schoolwork and home responsibilities. The time management skill is important to many employers. 

Junior in agronomy Erin Stichter spent her summer as a production intern for Wyffels Hybrids.

Erin performed an array of jobs during her internship, beginning in the warehouse backhauling corn. She also worked briefly with field operations early in the season to help plant the seed corn fields. Once the corn was backhauled, Erin spent her work days in field operations. She scouted fields for planting errors as well as other economic risks before detassling began. In the late summer, Erin dedicated the majority of her time to field inspections for quality assurance once detassling crews had went through the fields. Erin added that everyday there was a chance to learn something new.

A new rhizobial species,Bradyrhizobium frederickii, has been named in honor of the late Professor Llyod R. Frederick who was a professor of soil microbiology in the Iowa State Department of Agronomy.

The rhizobial species is a nitrogen-fixing lineage that is isolated from nodules of the caesalpinioid species Chamaecrista fasciculata and is characterized by tolerance to high temperature in vitro.

Padma Somasegaran, PhD and retired microbiologist, knew Professor Frederick for many years when he was with the NifTAL Project at the University of Hawaii Department of Agronomy and Soil Science. At the time, Professor Frederick was with USAID in Washington DC and would frequent Hawaii. 

The Borlaug Inspire Day on Norman Borlaug's boyhood farm took place on September 20 as part of the Norman Borlaug Harvest Fest. Several individuals from the CALS Dean's Office, including the Dean and Associate Dean, traveled to Cresco to help run an all-day education fair for around 300 fifth graders from Howard County. 

Students go to various stations, learning about agriculture and Dr. Borlaug from presenters as well as 25 visiting professors and graduate students from international agriculture universities in China, South Korea, and Japan. Sessions involved engineering, entomology, plant breeding, and Borlaug's work in Africa.

Junior in agronomy Marjorie Hanneman spent her summer working for Bayer Crop Science in Ankeny, Iowa at the high throughput genotyping facility as the Molecular Breeding Intern.

On a daily basis, Marjorie utilized lab robots to conduct real time PCR on a variety of crops and genetic traits. The project she worked on focused on testing and validating new master mix for quality and efficiency across crops, markers, and traits. She also used automated machinery to complete her daily activities as well as data collection and analysis.

"My favorite part of my internship was being able to complete lab work at such a large scale. I was able to work with about 15 different crops and learn how to manage huge data sets and design experiments. I also enjoyed working with state of the art machinery and robots and being at the forefront of biotechnology," Marjorie said.

Senior in agronomy Costas Hatzipavlides was a US Row Crop Sales Intern for Bayer last summer. 

On a typical day, Costas visited saleman and customers and addressed their needs. Each day posed a new adventure, such as putting in plots, going on sales calls, and evaluating and selling hybrids, varieties, and chemicals to customers. Costas enjoyed bringing solutions to customers the most as well as working on a fun team.

"Agronomy set me up with technical skills that made me stand our versus competitive companies. Iowa State University agronomy simply sets you up with a better skillset," Costas said.

Costas explained that internships help you to network and find out what company you want to work for after college. He recommends doing as many internships as you can because they help you apply what you learn in class as well as learn new things that you may never learn in a classroom.

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