Undergraduate

This senior spotlight is highlighting Majorie Hanneman, who is a senior double majoring in Agronomy and Genetics. One of her greatest accomplishments while at Iowa State was being inducted into the Cardinal Key Honor Society as a junior. This is one of the greatest honors possible to students at ISU. As a sophomore, she placed 2nd place in the R.F. Baker Plant Breeding Symposium Poster Competition, where she displayed her work with transposable elements in maize. Another honorable accomplishment was when she was selected for an NSF/USDA Research Experience for an Undergraduate internship at the Boyce Thompson Institute at Cornell University.  She was also selected as a Golden Opportunity Scholar by the Agronomy Society of America, Crop Science Society of America, and the Soil Science Society of America in 2019.

Agronomy student Rosie Roberts had quite the triumph at the recent National PAS (Professional Agriculture Students) Conference. She placed first in the Crops Competition! At the State of Iowa PAS Conference, she placed first in both the Turf and Employment Interview competition areas.

Kuan-Yi Lee came to Iowa State from Taipei, Taiwan with little experience and knowledge in agriculture. Following her curiosity, Kuan-Yi led a great adventure at Iowa State and has big plans for the future.

"I began my college experience at the Department of Agronomy at National Chung Hsing University in Taiwan, where I studied for one year and became very interested in crop production and I learned more about agronomy," said Kuan-Yi. "My family asked me to study abroad and I decided to look for a university with an outstanding agronomy program and I found Iowa State University. In addition, the department chair of agronomy at my former university got his MS in Statistics at Iowa State University and spoke highly of the agronomy department."

A virtual soils contest took place on October 1-10, and students from our soils team participated in team and individual judging.

"There were 10 sets of cores (five for practice and five for the contest), and soil judgers were able to go over the practice and individual cores on their own. On a normal year, we would go to the location, maybe look at 12 practice pits, and have five contest pits (two for individuals and three for groups)," said Amber Anderson, assistant teaching professor and soils team coach.

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.

Our Rebecca Johnson has been selected as 2020 Cargill Global Scholars.

The prestigious Cargill Global Scholars Program is an international scholarship program that began in 2013 and offers a scholarship award of $2,500 per year for up to two years. Lien Tran, a junior in environmental science was also selected.

Rebecca, a junior, will join the eight other scholars selected for the program’s eighth leadership development seminar facilitated by Cargill. The seminar will provide training in a variety of business and leadership skills. They will also each be paired with a Cargill business leader who will serve as their one-on-one mentor for the next 12 months.

The next meeting of the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) will be well represented by Cyclones, with multiple students—both undergraduate and graduate—who will be recognized for being accepted into the Borlaug Scholar program, including Cassie Winn, Hallie Longest and Clayton Carley.

The Borlaug Scholars program was established by the NAPB and is funded through the Agronomy Science Foundation. The goal is to strengthen the next generation of plant breeding science professionals, like the three Cyclones accepted into the 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. 

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