past four years, Cassie Misch has both
seen improved genetics change in the seed industry and played a role in it. She
helped get Roundup Ready 2 Yield® soybean varieties to market, licensing the
second-generation technology to seed companies in Indiana and the Midwest.
Misch expects to see continued rapid expansion in trait technologies in corn,
soybeans and wheat in the next decade.
Mish is a
University graduate and key account lead for
soybeans and wheat at GreenLeaf Genetics. She is part of the new agriculture
economy—a broad, innovative industry focused on meeting global food, energy and
health care needs. It’s an economy that not only holds great promise for the
public, who will reap the benefits of advances in seed genetics, bio-based
products and renewable fuels, but also for students entering the growing and
diverse field of agriculture.
opportunities in the agriculture of today and tomorrow far outnumber the
qualified candidates available to fill them,” says Marcos Fernandez,
associate dean of agriculture and director of academic
programs in agriculture at Purdue. “There is
not only a need but an excitement about the possibilities for our graduates.”
from a recent USDA employment report co-authored by Allan Goecker, senior
associate director of academic programs, confirm the growing job market for
agriculture graduates. It’s estimated that the agricultural, food and renewable
resources sectors of the U.S. economy will generate nearly 55,000 openings for
college graduates each year through 2015.
numbers could climb even more in the future, given predictions that
agricultural productivity will have to increase more than 70 percent in the
next 40 years to feed the world’s growing population.
says the fresh, bright minds of Purdue ag students will be among those
examining some of the challenges and coming up with the solutions.
Find Their Passion
Gabe Rangel, a senior biochemistry major, is one such student. A promising young researcher,
Rangel has made the most of opportunities in the classroom and the lab.
two summer breaks he participated in the IU Simon Cancer Center’s summer
research program, testing a drug on human prostate and
pancreatic cancer cells. During a Howard Hughes Medical Institute-funded research opportunity, he tested the effects of a new malaria vaccine on
parasites and did fieldwork at the vaccine testing site in West Africa. Rangel
currently works in the lab of Scott Briggs, a
Purdue biochemist and cancer researcher, on a project in epigenetics, a growing
research specialty that investigates how cells can change their traits by
mechanisms other than changing their DNA sequence.
impressive résumé for the Indianapolis native, who didn’t have a clear-cut path
when he entered the College of Agriculture.
“I wasn’t sure what career I would pursue, but the opportunities provided at
Purdue and the collaboration with professors helped me find my passion,” Rangel
says. “Our college emphasizes that we have an obligation to be global citizens.
It could have been a challenge for me as an ag major from Indiana to work cross-culturally,
but Purdue prepares us so well for that challenge.”
Beyond the Classroom
preparation is what Fernandez calls Purdue’s commitment to a transformative
learning experience. “In addition to a rigorous academic program, the College
of Agriculture also excels in providing cocurricular opportunities to help
students grow as individuals, as professionals and as scholars,” Fernandez
says. “We stress communication and leadership skill development, practical
hands-on experience, as well as study abroad, research and internship
opportunities. From day one, we impress upon our students that taking advantage
of these opportunities is equally as important as making the most of their time
in the classroom.”
dedication is evident in students like Rangel, who is using his research skills
to address a global challenge, and in alumni like Misch, who works to make
improved crop varieties available to seed companies and farmers in Indiana and
College of Agriculture, there’s a commitment to preparing students for careers
and opportunities, regardless of what path you take. There are jobs in
agriculture you may not even know exist,” Misch says. “Taking advantage of the
opportunities offered is what allows you to be ready for a career in the new ag
Ag graduates continue increase in job placement
Gabe Rangel: Leading from the Heart
Cassie Misch: Taking the Lead in Seed