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.
Perla Carmenate started exploring the science of agriculture in high school after reading a book about space travel.
The book, “Shades of Earth” by Beth Revis, features a character whose mom is a scientist studying the soils and agriculture of another planet while traveling through the universe. That fascinated Carmenate, who graduates on May 9 with a bachelor’s degree in agronomy.
“She was a scientist, who would take plant and soil samples from a new planet to study and compare it to the agriculture on earth and the spaceship,” Carmenate said. “I just thought that was so cool and I followed that into agronomy which over time has led me to study soils and as I refined my major, I decided to pursue urban soils.”
For Carmenate, agriculture is similar to a beautiful painting composed of several layers.
Students in Robert “Bob” Hartzler’s Agronomy 217: Weed Identification course have been given an excuse to take a break from sitting in front of their computers and get outside.
Hartzler, professor in agronomy, said the purpose of the class is for students to learn to identify weeds, which usually involves going on class field trips. With the switch to online learning, he wanted to find a way for students to learn to identify weeds in person, rather than just looking at weed pictures online. Thus, the idea to send students on a weed hunt was born.
Two of our students took first and second place in the 2019 Darrel S. Metcalfe Student Journalism Contest through Students of Agronomy, Soils & Environmental Science (SASES). This contest promotes writing by undergraduate students on topics in agronomy, crop science, and soil science. Published rules of the contest listed content, readability, organization, figures/tables/images/illustrations, identification of sources, and neatness as the judging criteria.
Kaleb Baber placed first with "The Effects of Defoliation on the Nutritive Value of Common Forage Grasses."
Erin Stichter took second in the one-two sweep. Erin's piece was "Assessing the Potential for Soybean Yield Improvement Through Plant Architectural Modification."
One senior in the Department of Agronomy is given the Outstanding Senior Award yearly. Students are selected based on high academic standing, leadership in activities (especially relating to agriculture and agronomy), and good character. The selection is made by members of the senior class in agronomy as well as advisors.
After graduation, Tyler will be working as an agronomist for CNH Industrial. Tyler noted that his favorite class that he took at Iowa State was TSM 433 - Precision Agriculture.
"Have fun and take chances! At CALS Career Day don't leave until you have no more resumes left. That's how I landed an internship with a company I never thought would offer one for agronomy majors, but since I had one resume left I went to them and it lead to an internship which lead to a full time position," said Tyler.
Tyler also enjoyed his time studying abroad, especially with Dr. Burras.
"If it is your first time abroad, go with Dr. Burras. He makes it fun and you will really enjoy your first trip out of the country," said Tyler.
After a crazy past month with everything moving to online and our graduation ceremony being canceled, our seniors deserve some extra love!
Our next senior feature is Austin Day.
Austin will be graduating in May and will be heading out in the industry to work in agricultural marketing. During his time as an undergrad, Austin says his favorite class was Soil Conservation and Land Use.
"Even when classes get hard and you want to give up, keep pushing through. You'll get through your troubles quicker than you think," said Austin.
Best wishes in your new job and future endeavors, Austin!
Our next senior is Nick Allen, who is interested in soil conservation.
Nick plans to join the workforce, with hopes to obtain a job that allows him to apply his knowledge in soils.
His favorite class he took at Iowa State was Agron 463 - Soil Formation and Landscape Relationships. Nick enjoyed being able to travel around the state to see the soils and concepts learned in class in person, which really helped drive the points home.
"Don't be afraid to take classes you would not normally take, it may just change your career path," said Nick.
Samantha will be graduating in May and becoming an Assistant Grower and Research and Trial Lead at PlantPeddler.
During her time at Iowa State, Samantha's favorite class was Plant Pathology 408.
"Make sure to join some clubs that you are interested in, participate in a couple intramural sports with friends, and don't be scared to ask your professors questions during office hours," said Samantha.