Interests led to very deep and diverse experiences in policy, environmental and sustainability
Name: Hillary Vrba
Hometown: Libertyville, IL
High school: Libertyville High School
Major & Concentration: Agricultural Economics with a concentration in Applied Economics with minors in Environmental Politics & Policy and Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences
Why did you come to Purdue: I attended "Purdue's for me Day" my senior year of high school and knew immediately after that Purdue was a perfect fit.
Favorite Purdue tradition: Yelling "Boiler Up!" to random strangers sporting Purdue apparel in public (and receiving an enthusiastic boiler up in return).
Top three influences at Purdue:
- The friends I've made at Purdue.
- The AGEC department advisors.
- All of the professors, Purdue faulty, and members of the ag industry that I've met the past 4 years.
Five words to describe Purdue
Top five highlights of your career:
- Interning at the Indiana Statehouse with Purdue Government Relations my junior year, and helping the team receive state funding for the new veterinary teaching hospital.
- My team winning the People's Choice Award in the Soybean Innovation Competition #Soyglitter.
- Being a Boiler Gold Rush Team Leader.
- Attending the Elite 8 game against Virginia in 2019 – still not over it! L
- Meeting President Daniels at the Statehouse.
Something you wish you would have done at Purdue: Studied abroad for the semester!
Places you have been as a Purdue student
- Indianapolis, IN – Indiana Statehouse, Purdue Government Relations Internship.
- Chicago, IL – Events with the Purdue Club of North/Northwest Suburbs of Chicago.
- Louisville, KY and Milwaukee, WI – Purdue March Madness Games.
Have to redo college in a major not in Ag: Environmental and Ecological Engineering or Political Science
Favorite club/organization: Green Greeks
Favorite Student-led event/initiative: Ag Week + Hammer Down Hunger
Favorite Purdue event: Boiler Gold Rush
Favorite place to study: 1869 Taproom in the Union
Over your career where were you most likely to be found on campus: Hanging out with my Alpha Gam sisters at our sorority house.
Favorite spot on campus: The skybridge between Krannert and Rawls
Favorite thing about CoA: How everyone in the college is motivated to succeed and wants to make a difference in the world.
Favorite thing about AGEC: How friendly and accommodating the professors, faculty, and staff are in the department.
Favorite thing about your major: There are so many careers paths I can take with this major. From Ag policy and law, to sustainability or commodities, the possibilities are endless.
Favorite class: AGEC 296 and AGEC 406
Favorite professor: It's hard to pick just one. Dr. DeBoer, Dr. Sesmero, and Dr. Ma.
Coolest project: My AGEC honors thesis, studying the impact of stress on small business success after Hurricane Katrina. S/O to Dr. Marshall!
Three biggest accomplishments:
- Receiving 7 scholarships during my time at Purdue.
- Working 40 hours a week for my internship while at the same time being a full-time student.
- Consistently receiving semester honors and making the Dean's List throughout my college career.
Things on your resume not listed above: I've had four different internships in the last three years, including working for a congressional campaign, a campaign research firm, Purdue government relations, and the City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development.
Three words to describe you:
What are you passionate for: I'm passionate about the environment and teaching others to be more aware of their personal impact on the environment.
What intrigues you about the Ag industry: How close-knit and family oriented the industry is, and how passionate everyone is about what they do. From top execs at large companies, to the small family farms, everyone has a deep pride for their work and shares a common goal to provide the world with quality food, fuel, feed and fiber.
What motivates you: Seeing all the amazing things my peers are accomplishing motivates me to be more involved.
Favorite quote: "Life has no limitations, except the ones you make"
Personal Motto: You only get what you give
Where do you want to end up: In the future, I hope to have a career in environmental economics or policy, but overall, I just want end up doing something that I love and that makes me happy.
Advice for underclassman: In order to succeed at Purdue you must apply yourself. Go to class, complete your assignments on time, and ask for help when you need it.
Biggest takeaway from Purdue: Purdue has endless opportunities, but none of them will be handed to you. Run for that position. Talk to that recruiter. Go to that call-out. In order to achieve your goals, you have to work hard and put yourself out there.