1. Where are you from?
Chicago, Illinois. I grew up by the lake.
2. What first started your interest in agronomy?
When I was in highschool, I developed a strong interest in growing food and working on farms. I spent a summer working on an organic vegetable farm and fell in love with growing.
3. What are some of the main issues for society that you are concerned about?
I feel that while we are making great strides toward sustainable crop production, there are still many issues with soil and nutrient loss and runoff. I believe that we as a global society have a duty to keep the world fertile for generations to come, and we are currently not there yet. In addition, as developing nations become self-sufficient, resource demand increases and we need to prepare for that increased demand.
4. Do you have any advice for those thinking about continuing their education to address the issues you’ve mentioned?
Read about soil and nutrient loss, join Practical Farmers of Iowa, meet with professors and ask about their research. No one person has all of the answers yet but it’s important to communicate with others to learn where to go.
5. Why did you choose Iowa State University?
I chose Iowa State primarily because it is a world leader in agronomy.The Agronomy department at ISU is fantastic with how many opportunities I’ve been given in just the year and a half that I’ve been here.
6. What was your first year here like?
My first year was spent studying with classmates, making runs to the c-store, and playing on multiple intramural teams.
7. What has been your favorite class?
Agronomy 154 was by far one of my most interesting classes since starting at ISU. Dr. Andrew Manu has more energy than the next ten energetic men combined. Every class is exciting and enjoyable, and as cool as soil is, one wouldn’t expect this level of amazingness.
8. What has been your favorite experience in the agronomy program?
Specifically, the agronomy field trip at the beginning of freshman year was the most fun I’ve had in a strictly academic regard. We travelled around the state visiting different agricultural and agronomic operations and learning about people actually working in the field of agronomy. In addition, we got to hang out with other agronomy students, and really got to know each other. I had a wonderful time and recommend the trip to any prospective agronomy student.
9. You have a faculty adviser, how has your expereience been with her?
Dr. Wiedenhoeft has been nothing but supportive these past few semesters. It’s taken me a while to really narrow down my focus and she’s really helped me with advice and class recommendations.
10. Have you been involved with a research project?
I’ve been working in Dr. Michael Castellano’s lab for the past year and I love it. We’re studying soil nutrient cycling with a focus on nitrates.
11. Has the research project benefited your learning experience?
I’ve really gotten insight into what I want I’m interested in. Without the lab, I would have had no idea that I love soil as much as I do.
12. Do you see the research work you are doing as a benefit to society?
Our work examines the issues involved in nutrient loss and storage, so yes. The research produced relates directly to current issues in agriculture. That’s one of the reasons I love the lab.
13. Do you participate in any student organizations?
I’m a member of the student organic farm and a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Committee.
14. Any advice for those considering a major in agronomy?
Come visit Iowa State! Take a tour with one of the professors. Visit a lab or a lecture. The best thing to do is experience it to see if it’s what you want.
15. Ten years from now, what do you want to be doing?
I hope to be working either locally or internationally doing sustainable agricultural development. I believe that a lot can be done in developing nations to steer them toward sustainable practice, and a lot can still be done here in the U.S. to better preserve our farmland.