Undergraduate

The Iowa State University Department of Agronomy’s very own soil team placed second in group judging and second overall out of eight teams in the soils contest hosted by Kansas State University. The team consists of 11 members; Jacob Wright, Kelli Roush, Erik Fevold, Eric Bro, Hannah Weber, John Green, Tristan Dittmer, Jacob Schultz, Austin Day, Collin Stark, and Catherine Thom. The team is coached by Amber Anderson, and her two assistants are Danny Brummel and Josh McDanel.

Women in Agronomy is an organization within the Department of Agronomy that focuses on the wonderful women in this major. Women in Agronomy began over 15 years ago, but over the past five or six years, it has become more and more active! Stephanie Zumbach works hard to plan events for young agronomy women so that they know they have a place in agronomy and in agriculture. Connecting these ladies to other women who are also agronomy majors, both professionally and socially, as well as connecting them to other women in agriculture is one of the biggest take away from being involved with Women in Agronomy. 

Hannah Holdsworth has just begun her first year here at Iowa State University in Agronomy, but she comes bringing in lots of experience already. In fact, this past summer she competed in the State FFA Agronomy CDE and placed as the overall top individual. Back in 2017, Hannah joined the agronomy team of the Denison FFA Chapter where they competed in the state FFA agronomy competition. The team received second, and Hannah also received second individually.

Valeria Cano Camacho spent her summer on one of Hawaii’s islands, Big Island, where she was a summer field intern for Ulu Mau Puani. All summer long, she helped with six different projects. Some of those projects included: collecting data, extension and outreach, and lab work.

“It was different every day. Some days I would be hiking up a volcano to find berries and other days I would be working with elementary students and learning about the Kohala Field System,” Valeria said about her favorite part of working on Big Island.

Not many people can say that they placed 11th as an undergrad competing against Ph.D. students. Kelli Roush is the lucky holder of this title. The third International Soil Judging competition was held a week before the 21st World Soil Congress.

The soils in Ro de Janero, Brazil are very different from here in Iowa. Kelli had the opportunity to see an Oxisol, but most of the soils she worked with were Ultisols or Alfisols. They spent three days practicing and learning about the environment they were in before the competition started. Kelli and the other team members had to adapt to the way Brazil judges their soils. 

TEACHING

Agronomy and Environmental Sciences 459/559
Environmental Soil and Water Chemistry

Overall Course Objectives

  • Learn to apply fundamental chemical concepts to practical problems in environmental sciences

  • Deepen understanding of chemical processes in surface waters, soils, and sediments

Category: 

Our incoming freshman spent the weekend before classes start on a tour of agriculture industry and farms in northeast Iowa. They toured Beck's Hybrids in Marshalltown, Pioneer Hi-Bred in Reinbeck and Landus Co-op in Dike. A stop at UNI allowed them to cool down (the air conditioning broke on the bus) and learn about urban soil conservation on the UNI campus. Near Nashua they learned about soil health from the Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service

Growing up, Megan Kemp just wanted to fit in with her peers in Durango, Iowa. At Iowa State University the junior in agronomy and global resource systems, says she found a place where she feels comfortable embracing and celebrating her differences.

“My mom is Filipino,” says Kemp. “She and my dad met as pen pals while he was serving in the military. He went to visit her in the Philippines, and that’s where they fell in love. It’s honestly the stuff movies are made of.”

Kemp’s extended family are involved in dairy and beef operations in northeastern Iowa. While she lived on a dairy farm, she didn’t do chores.

“My mom’s heritage instilled very traditional ideals about gender roles,” says Kemp. “So I spent more time in the kitchen.”

Lee Burras sets his Diet Pepsi on the podium and grabs a piece of chalk off the ledge. Class is about to begin.

Burras’ classroom is upbeat and adversarial; he encourages his students to challenge him as much as he challenges them. In order to keep students engaged he uses the chalkboard.

“I want students engaged,” says Burras. “I want whatever I’m talking about to come to life in front of them. I can’t make that happen with a Power Point presentation.”

Burras’ passion is infectious, not just for soils but also for life and for learning. His classes are some of the most sought after in the Department of Agronomy.

Congratulations! Our undergraduate Crops Team traveled to Goodwell, Oklahoma to participate in the contest hosted by Oklahoma Panhandle State University on February 10.

As a team, the group took Second place. Individual overall rankings include:

Coleman Kneifl – 4th
Joshua DeGroot – 5th
Daniel Feucht – 7th
Heather Wilson – 8th  

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