Elizabeth Oys: An opportunity to be immersed in Greek culture

November 5, 2019

Elizabeth Oys, senior in agronomy, has had many opportunities in her time at Iowa State, including traveling to Greece as well as being nominated as the student speaker for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Family Weekend.

She spent May through July at Perrotis College in Thessaloniki, Greece for her Global Resource Systems International internship where she worked as a Precision Agriculture Research Intern.

“My internship project involved investigating the efficacy of spraying drones in super-high density olive groves. We ran trials with drones that had electrostatic nozzles and conventional nozzles and compared then to terrestrial spraying practices (i.e. backpack spraying),” said Elizabeth.

Elizabeth enjoyed experiencing a research project from start to finish as well as completing a formal research paper with original data on behalf of the university.

“It was an amazing experience and I got to learn about Greece's staple crop, the olive, and its production. I got to learn about olive oil production as well and participated in olive oil tasting many times,” said Elizabeth.

Elizabeth noted that her favorite part of being abroad was having the chance to immerse herself in the daily Greek culture while exploring the historical city of Thessaloniki as well as learning some of the Greek language.

“Greece is incredibly picturesque and the Mediterranean diet was to die for. My favorite memory is hiking Mount Olympus with the other interns and learning about the mythology of the mountain,” said Elizabeth. “I also participated in a Greek culture class and a Greek language class while I worked at the university.”

This internship allowed Elizabeth to understand differences in Midwest agriculture and Mediterranean agriculture, as well as the influences of precision technologies in each.

“I now have a new perspective and also a new-found sense of independence in regards to international travel. During my time abroad, I was also able to visit Athens in Greece and a few small islands, and also made trips to Switzerland, Germany, and Serbia, where I got to learn about apple, strawberry, pear, and lettuce production thanks to a family friend,” said Elizabeth

Regarding the CALS family weekend, Elizabeth was selected as the student speaker and was responsible for preparing a ten-minute speech to freshman and transfer students as well as their families. The speech was aimed towards inspiring them to dive deeper into their adventures at Iowa State.

“I spoke about keeping an open mind when it comes to internships, seizing opportunities to learn new things in new places, as well as the importance of valuing your support system and remembering to call your mom and dad,” said Elizabeth.

At the breakfast, Elizabeth had the opportunity to interact with families in agronomy as well as chat with faculty in CALS and the Department of Agronomy. 

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