Although Drew Lugar’s family wasn’t directly involved in agriculture, he worked both in a veterinary clinic and as a hired hand for local cattle farmers near his hometown of Cherokee, Iowa. He went to Iowa State University intending to pursue veterinary medicine. The animal science curriculum sparked his interest in swine and prompted him to look at graduate school instead. He earned a master’s degree at Virginia Tech, where he co-managed the swine research facility, did his own applied research, and taught undergraduates in the classroom and lab. Lugar’s combination of skills led him into industry, working on commercial production sites for a swine research company. But he discovered he missed teaching. “A friend who knew I was thinking about getting a Ph.D. met [Purdue Assistant Professor of Animal Sciences] Kara Stewart at a conference, called me the next day and said, ‘Hey, you need to talk to her.’ It was a chance opportunity,” Lugar says. “She was doing the research that I was passionate about, and she was also into teaching.” He arrived at Purdue in June 2015 to study swine reproductive management under Stewart’s guidance.