Students in agronomy have a wide variety of unique career opportunities to pursue post-graduation. Jessie Hilby is an excellent example of an individual that went out of her comfort zone to take on a career to help communities out.
Jessie Hilby graduated in May of 2020 with her bachelor's degree in agronomy. She is currently working as the Gleaning Coordinator at Feed Iowa First. Her position is within the AmeriCorp 4-H Iowa Produce Gleaning Program.
Soil science will offer a certificate between a minor and a major by providing official recognition for the focus area of study. A bachelor's degree from Iowa State University is not required to earn the certificate, and it is designed to match up with federal and state requirements to obtain a federal job classified for soil scientists and get licensure in states requiring it.
Dr. Bradley Miller, assistant professor of agronomy, explains that the certificate requires 31 credits, but 22 of those may count from other academic programs that students are involved in. The certificate is built to help students have a strong foundation in understanding soil systems.
Ella Carlson, sophomore in agronomy, is spending her summer as a Yield Trial Intern for Beck's Hybrids in Marshalltown, Iowa.
"So far I have been involved with planting and early season note taking. During planting I sat on the planted and dumped seed packets to be planted," said Ella.
After everything was planted, Ella began taking early season notes along with three other people. She analyzed the corn to see if it was doing good, bad, or if something went wrong when planted. Her notes will help researchers know why there may be abnormalities in yields when harvested. The interns take notes for several hours and then they go back to Marshalltown day after day to watch the corn.
Chase Krug, junior in agronomy, is spending his at Reiman Gardens as their Plant Collections Intern. Chase manages the garden's vast collection of diverse plants and provides the public with educational outreach.
"My summer internship project involves creating a backup germplasm collection of the Dr. Griffith Buck Rose Collection to ensure it is well preserved for future rose breeders as a valuable genetic resource for disease resistant rose germplasm," said Chase. "Dr. Griffith Buck was a famed former rose breeder and professor at Iowa State who created and introduced 90+ varieties of disease-resitant shrub roses."
Jenna Cowan, senior in agronomy, was looking forward to being a Digital Technology Manager Intern with WinField United, but her plans quickly changed when COVID-19 began affecting people across the country.
Instead of working directly with retailers to help integrate WinField United agricultural technology tools into their everyday conversations with growers, Jenna's title has transitioned to Agronomy Strategic Projects Intern. Jenna works as a virtual intern as part of the Sales Talent Development and Training division of WinField United.
Ryan Millikin is spending his summer interning with Dr. Mark Licht on campus in the Department of Agronomy. Ryan will be a senior this fall and is a transfer student from Hawkeye Community College.
Ryan explains that Mark has many projects for him to work on during this summer and there are also several graduate students working alongside him as well.
"Earlier this spring we focused on rye biomass. We would take biomass samples, put them in the dryer for 5-7 days, and then record biomass weights. After that, we out the samples through a grinder to later be sent away for nitrate analysis," said Ryan.
In high school, Kaleb Baber wouldn’t have pictured himself studying abroad. But, after discovering his love of travel as an undergrad at Iowa State, he’s serving as an officer for an international student organization.
Baber, a senior in agronomy from Weston, Missouri, maximizes his experiences at Iowa State through extracurriculars on campus as well as serving as the vice president of the International Agriculture Club at Iowa State.
“Once I came to Iowa State I realized how affordable studying abroad is and how we have such great opportunities to travel. Various scholarships were also offered, so it was kind of a no-brainer for me to go,” says Baber.
Sometimes the best education is one you can eat. Iowa State University students have an opportunity to do just that with the Good Earth Student Farm.
Organized as a Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA, the group puts shareholders – Iowa State faculty, staff and students – directly in touch with the student farmers who are growing their food. The farm provides hands-on opportunities for College of Agriculture and Life Sciences students as well as students from other colleges.
The farm is entirely student managed and averages around 50 shareholders per year. Shares are available to faculty, staff and students of Iowa State. Located at the Iowa State University Horticulture Research Station, Good Earth operates independently from the research station’s produce operation.