i'm an agronomist

Kathryn Hoemann

1. Where are you from?
Des Moines, Iowa

2. What first started your interest in agronomy?
I became seriously interested in agriculture during my freshman year of high school. I went to the Farm Progress Show with my dad and we visited Monsanto’s exhibit on omega-3 fatty acid producing soybean plants. I was fascinated and decided then that I wanted to work in genetics. I learned about agronomy when I was looking through the majors within the College of Agriculture, and noticed that the Plant Breeding/ Biotechnology option within Agronomy would fit in with what I wanted to do with Genetics and would focus my studies on plants instead of humans or animals.

3. What are some of the main issues for society that you are concerned about?
I am concerned for food production and resource management. The world is demanding better quality food in higher quantities, all of which must be produced on shrinking resources. I think that the advances in breeding and technology will have to provide a lot of the improvement in agriculture, and I would like to be a part of that solution.

4. Do you have any advice for those thinking about continuing their education to address the issues you’ve mentioned?
I think that anyone interested in the food crisis our world faces should definitely study agriculture at Iowa State. There is truly no better place for it, and the opportunities for involvement beyond the classroom are endless.

5. Why did you choose Iowa State University?
I chose Iowa State because it is one of the leading universities for agriculture. Growing up so close to the community also influenced my decision. I often traveled here for programs and competitions and have many fond memories of campus.

6. What was your first year here like?
My first year has been wonderful. Getting to know everyone on my floor and in my classes has been amazing and the opportunities to learn and have fun are endless.

7. You have a faculty adviser, how has your experience been with her?
Dr. Maria Salas is a great adviser. What I really like about working with her is that she also teaches a genetics course, which is helpful to me because I am double majoring in genetics and agronomy.

8. What has been your favorite class?
So far, my favorite class has been Agronomy 114. I’m starting to see how my high school biology instruction fits in with agriculture and it’s exciting to learn more about agriculture and all its possibilities.

9. What has been your favorite experience in the agronomy program?
So far, the field trip with the learning community has been my favorite part of the agronomy program. It was a great way to see real life applications of agronomy and get to know the other students in my learning community and the professors.

10. Do you participate in any student organizations?
I participate in Agronomy Club, ISU Corn Growers Association, Iowa State Singers, Cyclone Swing Society, and the First Year Honors Program.

11. Any advice for those considering a major in agronomy?
If you’re considering agronomy or the plant side of agriculture, my advice is to declare agronomy as your major. As a freshman in the College of Agriculture, you’ll be taking a lot of the same general classes, but the addition of Agronomy 114 will expose you to a lot of different aspects of agriculture and you can find your favorite area. Additionally, the learning community is a fantastic place to meet new people and make friends quickly.

12. Ten years from now, what do you want to be doing?
In ten years I want to have completed my Ph.D and be working in research. I want to work with crops and the development of improved varieties and better technology.

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