Senior Spotlight: Aaron Dunajeski

Aaron Dunajeski
Hometown: Dyer, Indiana
High school: Marian Catholic High School
Major: Agricultural Economics
Why did you come to Purdue: I came to Purdue because several of my family members came to Purdue, including my brother and my grandfather. Purdue was such a well-regarded school right in my backyard that it made no sense to go anywhere else. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.
Coolest spot on campus: Harry’s Chocolate Shop
Favorite spot in Lafayette: Sunrise Diner in Lafayette
Favorite local eatery: Sunrise Diner in Lafayette
Best place to get coffee: Undergrounds Cafe in Hick’s Library
Top three influences at Purdue:

  • My brothers at FarmHouse
  • The members of the Old Masters Central Committee 2015
  • My family. 

Five words to describe Purdue:

  • Innovative
  • Fun
  • Challenging
  • Blue-Collar
  • Life-changing

Favorite involvement at Purdue:
My favorite involvement with Purdue is my membership in FarmHouse Fraternity. Choosing to join this organization made my college career. I met some of my best friends and mentors in FarmHouse.  Our motto is that we are the “Builder of Men” and my brothers have helped me to live this through teaching me skills I didn’t know, allowing me to take positions of responsibility, giving me a platform from which to raise money for charitable organizations, and expanding my view of agriculture.
Top five highlights of your Purdue career:

  • Serving on the Central Committee for Old Masters (a Purdue distinguished alumni organization)
  • Placing 2nd while representing FarmHouse in the Big Man on Campus Philanthropy
  • FarmHouse Fraternity Membership and Leadership Roles
  • Involvement in Purdue’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program as a BDM Fellow
  • Playing at Purdue Basketball Games & the Chicago Symphony Center with Purdue Bands

Something you wish you would have done at Purdue: I wish that I would have been a part of Boiler Gold Rush. I really enjoyed this program when I went through it as a freshman, and I wish I would have gone on to be a team leader or a supervisor.
Places you have been as a Purdue student:

  • Co-Alliance Field Scouting Internship in Malden, Indiana
  • Dow AgroSciences Plant Breeding Internship in Fowler, Indiana
  • Syngenta Sales Internship in West Lafayette, Indiana
  • Agricultural Future of America Conference in Kansas City
  • Symphony Center in Chicago, Illinois (we performed a concert with the Purdue Wind Ensemble)

Favorite Company you interned for: My favorite company that I interned for was Syngenta as a sales intern based out of West Lafayette, Indiana. The members of the sales team were all extremely inclusive and helpful throughout the summer. I was mainly charged with fungicide sales, and they treated me as a full time sales representative. I was responsible for my schedule, my appointments, and educating my customers on our products. While I was given guidance by the other members of the sales team, I was fully responsible for my own success throughout the summer. I gave presentations, helped with our field days, and led sales meetings. This was a chance to see what it was really like to be a sales representative, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Beef, Pork, Chicken, Seafood: Beef
John Deere, Case, New Holland, Caterpillar: Deere
Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Toyota: Chevy
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall: Fall
Planting, Growing, Harvest: Harvest
Baby, Weaned, Market, Reproducing: Baby
Favorite thing about Agriculture: My favorite part about working in agriculture is knowing that my work is valuable and necessary. Every day, I am helping in some way to produce food and improve our food production systems to meet an ever growing demand. Additionally, I get to work outside and use both my brain and my back.
Where would you have gone to school if you couldn’t chose Purdue: The only other school I applied to aside from Purdue is the University of Iowa. I would have studied engineering.
Have to redo college in a major not in Ag: If I had to pursue a major outside of agriculture, I would have liked to study computer science. Coding and software have always been interesting to me, and I think it would have been a fun field of study.
Favorite club/organization: Old Masters - This organization brings back distinguished alumni to campus for a three-day program comprised of classroom talks, meetings with student organizations, and a campus wide panel discussion. It allows students to meet with successful Purdue alumni to glean insights and advice on how to succeed in the real world. I was selected to be on the Central Committee for this event and I met so many wonderful people while putting on a great program.
Favorite Student-led event/initiative: Zeta Tau Alpha’s BMOC Competition - I competed as the FarmHouse contestant in BMOC to raise money for breast cancer research and awareness. We placed 2nd overall and I really enjoyed competing in all of the events and performing in Elliot. A total of over $138,000 was raised by the contestants.
Favorite Purdue event: Tailgates for Purdue Football Games
Favorite dining court: Ford Dining Court
Favorite place to study: Parrish Library of Management & Economics in Krannert
Over your career where were you most likely to be found on campus: FarmHouse
Favorite spot on campus: FarmHouse
Favorite thing about CoA: My favorite thing about the College of Agriculture is our sense of community and our passion for what we do. Because we are a small college, I know the majority of my classmates. Additionally, the classes are small and the professors are all invested in our success both in our studies and professionally. We have a passion for our field that is not present in other fields of study. Everyone I have met loves being involved with agriculture and lifelong learning.
Favorite thing about AGEC: My favorite thing about AGEC is the faculty. From the advising department to the professors, they all want to see you do well and learn as much as you can in your time at Purdue.
Favorite thing about your major: My favorite thing about Agricultural Economics is the broad application of our studies. With this major I have worked at a co-op, in plant breeding, and in chemical sales. Everywhere I go in the agriculture industry, I am able to contribute with the skill set Purdue Ag Econ has given me.
Favorite class: AGEC 424 with Tim Baker. This class was challenging but extremely useful and well taught. Dr. Baker took a relatively dry topic (agricultural finance) and made it interesting through giving us real world applications of what we were learning.
Favorite professor: Lee Schweitzer. He has an incredible passion for both agriculture and for his students. His methods are designed to build up students’ knowledge and capabilities within agronomy, and he is willing to bend over backwards to make sure that you understand any topic.
Coolest project: ENTR 310 Course Project with Brady Kalb. For this class, you are charged with putting together a fictional business and analyzing all of the elements that will lead to its success. I put forward the idea for a custom duck call company and ran with it. I loved every part of the process from product design to financial analysis, and I currently am launching and operating this small business.
Three biggest accomplishments:

  • Being selected for the Old Masters Central Committee
  • Being selected as a Burton D. Morgan Entrepreneurial Fellow
  • Representing FarmHouse Fraternity in our 2nd place finish in BMOC

Things on your resume not listed above:

  • Member of Boiler Brass
  • Member of Purdue Wind Ensemble

Three words to describe you: Creative, Loyal, Tenacious
What are you passionate for: I am passionate about doing work that matters. I love to use the skills and knowledge that I have been given to provide value to other people. Whether that be through agriculture, philanthropy, or my small business endeavors, all of my efforts keep that principle in mind. Additionally, I am passionate about music, the outdoors, and continued learning.
What intrigues you about the Ag industry: The agriculture industry intrigues me because of the limited amount of variables (land, genetic advancements, machinery, chemical, etc.). How we utilize these variables can impact our ability to increase production capabilities and will be crucial in meeting increasing demand in the future.
What motivates you: I am motivated by the people and role models around me. So many people in my life are kind, bright, and successful that it is not hard to follow suit. My family and friends have invested so much in me that I am driven to make sure that I do the best that I can in my personal and professional pursuits.
Favorite quote: “You get what you give”
Personal Motto: Surround yourself with great people
Accepted employment: I have accepted a full time job with Syngenta as a Developmental Sales Representative in Central Wisconsin.
Where do you want to end up: I would like to eventually run my own company
Advice for underclassman: Get involved! There are so many great organizations on this campus that provide you with a place to meet other students, work on meaningful projects, and develop yourself. I am thankful for all of the organizations that I have been a part of.
Biggest takeaway from Purdue: My biggest takeaway from Purdue is the ability to work successfully with people. Through all of the organizations that I have been a part of, I have gained insights on how to cooperate with and manage people to achieve a goal.

 

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