Hands-on opportunities at Purdue

As a college student, a lot of time is spent inside the classroom. But there is nothing better than taking what you have learned and putting toward hands-on work experience.  One way to do that is through research.  At Purdue University, there are many avenues for students to get involved in research, and for students in the College of Agriculture, one of those opportunities is at the Animal Sciences Research and Education Center (ASREC).

Located ten miles northwest of campus, the ASREC sits on 1,515 acres of land and has eleven operating units. These units include:

  • Aquaculture
  • Beef
  • Dairy
  • Poultry
  • Sheep
  • Swine
  • Farm Operations
  • Feed Mill
  • USDA-ARS Livestock Behavior Research Unit Lab
  • Little Pine Watershed
  • Wetlands Study

As stated on the ASREC website, the mission of the ASREC is, “to provide animals, facilities, technical assistance and labor to conduct research, provide instruction, and assist in extension educational activities.”

Not only does each unit have its own manager and a full-time staff but part-time student employees put in nearly 500 hours each week. This work opportunity allows them to get out of the classroom, get their hands dirty on the farm, and use their knowledge in a work setting. And, some students are able to utilize these facilities for their own research.

In order to give more insight on the opportunities for students at theASREC, I have put together a Soundslides that highlights an agricultural communication student working at the Purdue Dairy Unit.

Follow this link to check out pictures and audio featuring a student worker at the Purdue Dairy Unit:


Lauren Rowe, a junior agricultural communication student of Auburn, Ind., wakes up at 3:30 a.m. to go out to Dairy Unit.  At the farm she is in charge of tending to newborn calves, preparing the bottles used for feeding, and cleaning and rebeddig pens.

Waking up before sunrise and working at the farm gives Rowe a chance to “start the day off right,” as she would say.  And because she grew up around farm animals, and has a passion for the beef cattle industry, the Dairy Unit is a home away from home.  But not only is it a place of comfort and relaxation, it is also a place for hands-on learning.

Before switching her major to Ag Comm, Rowe was studying animal sciences with a focus on production.  By working with the young calves, she is able to continue to apply what she learned in her ANSC courses, such as biology and animal nutrition.

If you are interested in working at the ASREC, check out there student employment opportunies.

Note: Tomorrow I will be posting my a final blog post for the semester.






Spring Fest at Purdue

There might be a few flurries in the air, but Spring really has sprung. And one popular event at Purdue this time of year is Spring Fest. This annual event, which took place this past weekend, is a time for children, parents, students, and people from the community to visit the university and learn something new through fun, hands-on activities.

Set up around campus were displays, contests, and demonstrations. A few of the events include a cricket spitting contest, equine treadmill demonstrations, and sheep shearing. Not only is it a great experience for the kids (or adults), but Spring Fest is also a chance for Purdue students to share knowledge that they are passionate about. If you missed this great event, or are already looking forward to the next one, the next Spring Fest will be held April 18-19, 2015.

Because I couldn’t be there, I relied on Twitter to see everything that was going on. Here are some of my favorite Tweets from the event:

Check out additional photos from Spring Fest here.



Wrapping up imAGine Purdue

If you’ve been reading my previous posts, you know that this week was Ag Week at Purdue. Unfortunately, I was away at a conference in Florida and didn’t get to enjoy the full experience of Ag Week. However, being away opened my eyes to the success of the week and the increase in the online conversation.

Being a transfer student, last year was my first time to be a part of Purdue Ag Week. As a first timer, I thought it was great that the College of Ag option clubs were taking activities to the north side of campus and trying to share their stories with non-agricultural students. But this year, I was able to “watch” Purdue Ag Week in a whole new light. Multiple states away, I was able to stay in tough with what was going on on campus. I stayed up-to-date with the day’s agenda, and was able to see feedback and pictures for each day’s activities.

Being an “outsider” I was amazed at how close I felt to Ag Week. Through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram I was able to see what was going on at campus and how students were reacting to it. I was able to stay up-to-date with the day’s activities and see feedback and pictures with each day’s activities.

As a Boilermaker, I couldn’t be more proud. What do you think of the online conversation about Purdue Ag Week? Did it have an impact? Check out the conversation with #imAGinePurdue.

NAMA Student Social Media Corps

The National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) is the largest association for professionals in agribusiness and marketing. Each year they hold a conference bringing agri-marketing professionals and students from all over the country together.  Professional development sessions bring the brightest individuals together to collaborate on new trends and ideas in communications, social media, and industry news. Teams of students from universities all over the country compete against each other with their marketing projects they have been working on all year.

The 2014 NAMA Conference, A Fresh Perspective, started today in Jacksonville, Fla. For the first time this year NAMA and Farm Credit have put together a student social media corps. This group of students will be taking to NAMA’s official social media platforms to build the conference’s online conversation. Students from different universities, including four students from Purdue, bring their social media knowledge together to create a diverse conversation. Jenn Piotrowski, a senior agricultural communications student at Purdue, is excited to be able to use her classroom knowledge to a real-life work environment.

Not, only have the students been enjoying the experience, but conference attendees have been joining in and generating their own noise on their personal social media accounts. You can follow along and stay up-to-date with what’s going on in Florida with #NAMA14 and #NAMASocial on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

Purdue Veterinary Medicine Research

Purdue’s College of Veterinary Medicine uses a treadmill to conduct research on horse health. Casey  Cromer will conclude her undergrad this May in Animal Sciences and begins her journey in the vet school in Fall 2014.  She first got introduced to horse research in Purdue’s vet school as a freshman, and has spent the past four years doing hands-on research.

Watch the treadmill in action, and get the 101 from Casey here:





Finding and coming to love Ag Comm

For many life moments and decisions, there is no cookie cutter path to follow nor is there one correct destination to come to. I have found that this is especially true throughout your collegiate career.

Like many students, I changed my mind a time or two about what I wanted to study.  I had vet school in mind, and later set my mind on Animal Sciences focusing on nutrition.  Then, a month before starting my Junior year, I met with my adviser and set my heart on Ag Comm.

Today, I couldn’t be happier with my decision, but hindsight is 20/20 and in the midst of making those big decisions it’s nice to know that other students also took a winding path toward Ag Comm (or whatever major they chose). In a blog post by Abigail Maurer, she shared her story of changing majors and why she chose Ag Comm. Like me, she took a winding path.

Abby talks about how she started in speech therapy, then switched to English education all before finding her passion in Agricultural Communication. And, her reason for studying Ag Comm is simple, “I love food. I love people. I love words. And that’s what ag comm is all about.”

As I continued to read her post, I also connected with her overall Purdue experience:

“But studying ag comm at Purdue is wonderful for more reasons than food, people and words.  In my major, I found the academic experience I always wanted college to be.  Classes that stimulated my mind and moved my heart.  Professors who cared about my life.  Friends with whom I could sit in classes and attend club meetings.”-Abigail Maurer

Being about a month away from graduation, I can’t imagine getting a degree in anything else, and I have loved my Purdue Ag Comm experience. I love learning about all aspects of agriculture, I love sharing stories about Ag, and I love that my major has taught me about communicating across a variety of platforms.

Purdue Ag Week

I wouldn’t be who I am today without agriculture. From the food that I eat to the places I have been and the people I have met, agriculture shapes my daily life and character.  I love talking about Ag and sharing science-based agricultural information, and that’s why I am especially excited for the next two weeks. Not only is this week National Ag Week, but Boilermakers are continuing to celebrate  April 6-11 with Purdue Ag Week: imAGine a world without Agriculture.

Over the past months, the Ag Week Task Force and fellow students have been preparing activities to not only celebrate agriculture, but also bring awareness to the student body and community. Clubs will hold activities on campus throughout the week, which includes a Farmer’s Breakfast sponsored by Purdue ACT.

To kick off Purdue Ag Week with a great start don’t miss out on these great activities:

Purdue Farmer 5K is Sunday, April 6 at 9:30 a.m.

The Purdue Collegiate FFA is sponsoring a 5K run/walk to raise money for the Lafayette Food Finders Bank. This fun, family friendly event is aimed to bring awareness to agriculture. Along the course, runners will pass agriculture facts about food, farms and farmers.

Hammer Down Hunger is Tuesday, April 8 at 5:00 p.m.

Purdue’s Ag Week Task Force has put together a meal packing event, Hammer Down Hunger. All Purdue students and groups are encouraged to participate. The group who logs the most hours will win a cash prize to donate to a philanthropy of their choice.

  • When: Tuesday, April 8
  • Time: 5:00-9:00 p.m.
  • Where: Purdue Memorial Mall
  • Sign up for a time slot to help your group win!

Stay connected with Purdue Ag Week on Facebook and Twitter.





Meet a Former Ag. Comm. Student

We may come from different backgrounds or have plans of going opposite directions, but we come together in the Agriculture Communications program. This post is all about giving incoming, current and former Purdue Ag. Comm. students (and anyone interested) a chance to meet some else in the program.

Amanda Gee, of North Vernon, Ind., completed her undergrad as an Ag. Comm. major in December 2013. Get Amanda’s perspective on Purdue’s Ag. Comm. program in this short Q&A interview:

Q&A with Amanda Gee

  • What made you decide to major in Agricultural Communications?

“I took kind of a circuitous route to Ag. Comm. I’ve always had eclectic interests, and as a high school senior I applied to five colleges with five different majors. I started out at Purdue in Pre-Pharmacy. After deciding that wasn’t my cup of tea, I checked out a number of majors. Then I met with an advisor and some AgComma’s who are now alumni. They convinced me to join with their passions for agriculture and the program. My Ag. Comm. journey began my sophomore year, and I never looked back.” 

  • What was your favorite part about the Ag. Comm. program?

“The sense of community. The program is small compared to most others on campus, but it’s like a tight-knit family. I met people in my first Ag. Comm. class who not only helped me in future classes and told me about a internship opportunity I’d love, but who also became some of my best friends.”

  • What was your favorite class at Purdue?

Hard choice! I would say Intro to PR, Wine Appreciation, Problems in PR, Horses in Europe study abroad, and Intro to New Media all rank at the top of my list. But, I’m going to go with ANSC393: Animal Industry Travel Course that I took last year for my Animal Sciences minor. We toured farms and agribusinesses across the Midwest over Spring Break (read more here), and then came back and gave a presentation about it. It was a great opportunity, and not one that I’ll soon forget. Coming from a family beef farm in southeastern Indiana still didn’t quite prepare me for the sight of 72,000 head of cattle at a feedlot in Nebraska. And, some of the pics I took along the way sparked discussion of modern ag on my Facebook page, à la Ag. Comm. in action.”

  • What was your favorite club or activity?

“Big surprise…Ag Communicators of Tomorrow (ACT). It’s a professional club for Ag. Comm. students. I got to network with Ag. Comm. professionals and students, and hone my writing skills through some club projects. I’m not a big talker (funny that I’m in Ag. Comm. then, I know), but I was able to strengthen my writing and work on those presentational skills and get feedback on both. ”

  • How did the Ag. Comm. program prepare you for a future career?

“I learned how to be a better writer, communicator and critical thinker. I’ve always loved to write, but now I can confidently say that whether I need to create a press release, media plan, blog, hard news story, feature/profile, Facebook post, short video, photo collage, etc…I can do it, and do it well. The program also taught me about opportunities; if there isn’t one readily available that fits you, find or create one and go for it. All of my internships started with cold-calling because I was interested in learning from those people. And luckily, I got paid for them too!”

  • Where are you now?

“I’m pursuing my Master’s here at Purdue in Youth Development and Agricultural Education, with a concentration in Ag. Comm. I haven’t decided exactly what the focus of my research will be, but I want it to be something about engaging and involving audience members with a message. This summer, I’m traveling to Romania to help with a class, do research for my professor, and work on co-construction of stories with locals. After I graduate in a couple years, I’d like to be a communication/PR director of an agribusiness or even work with an international non-profit.”

Buy Meat Between Classes

Did you know that Purdue has its own butcher block? The Purdue Butcher Block sells locally grown meat that is bred, fed, harvested and processed by Purdue students and staff. Most of the meat comes from the Purdue Animal Sciences Farm, but once each year they do buy meat for their “Blue Ribbon Special.” This meat includes the champion steers, swine, lambs and goats that was shown buy 4-Hers at the Indiana State Fair.

Where you can buy your Purdue meat of choice:

Where: Smith Hall, Room 170
When:Wednesday and Friday, 2 p.m.-5:30 p.m.

Click here for their current meat list and prices, facts about their products, and recipes.