Summer Vacation?

A Lot of Work (and Some Fun), But They Did It for Their Futures

By Tom Campbell - Published November 6, 2015

Summer vacation used to mean loading up the family station wagon and heading to the beach for some much needed R&R.

But for college students looking for an edge that will enhance their college experience or make their resume stand out, that's no longer true. Agriculture students who worked summer jobs, share stories of their experiences here in their own words.

Eli Hugghis (pronounced (HU'-jis)

Eli HugghisEli Hugghis
Hometown: Upper Marlboro, Maryland
(Photo by Tom Campbell)

Year/Major: Junior studying plant cellular and molecular biology and international studies in the Department of Agronomy

Summer job: Lab intern for Dow AgroSciences in Indianapolis

Job responsibilities: I perform DNA extraction and PCR analysis of corn plants to determine genetic purity. I look at the purity and characteristics of the corn plant materials to validate the use of a more modern method of DNA extraction over an older method that is more subjective in its data analysis.

How this job enhances my education at Purdue: I am seeing an application side to what I have been learning at Purdue regarding plant DNA, breeding and genetics, chemistry, communication, time management, etc.

How this job prepares me for a career: It has shown me several aspects of industry and working with a company, like how to manage my own project, how to work with others in a collaborative effort to see a goal accomplished, to see what things I do and don't like in a future career.

Austin McCoy

Austin McCoyAustin McCoy
Hometown: Anderson, Indiana
(Photo by Tom Campbell)

Year/Major: Junior majoring in plant sciences in botany and plant pathology

Summer job: Field biologist in the rain forests of Guyana, South America

Job responsibilities: Collect, examine and archive litter-trapping fungi found on assorted trees.

How this job enhances my education at Purdue: I'm really interested in mycology (the study of fungi). This trip was a great opportunity to learn about, identify and collect various fungi in the field. Firsthand, I learned and saw things that I would not normally be able to see in a classroom setting or learn out of a book.

How this job prepares me for a career: The entire adventure was a crash course preparing me for graduate school, which is what I am interested in.

Valerie Scott

Valerie ScottValerie Scott
Hometown: Roachdale, Indiana
(Photo by Tom Campbell)

Year/Major: Senior studying animal agribusiness in the animal sciences department

Summer job: Retail sales intern with Kent Nutrition Group

Job responsibilities: I represent the company in 25 Rural King stores in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Kentucky. I merchandise our products by designing and implementing eye-catching displays. I work with management on educating employees on the products, and I even get to act as a salesman by talking with the management about the potential products that a store can order.

How this job enhances my education at Purdue: This job helped me realize what classes and extracurricular involvements would help me to be more desirable as an employee. I look forward to my course load this year because the classes like applied animal nutrition and sales and marketing are going to apply to my career choice.

How this job prepares me for a career: I have a better vision of what I am interested in pursuing after I graduate. I love every aspect of my job.

Jannet Rivera

Jannet RiveraJannet Rivera
Hometown: Lafayette, Indiana
(Photo by Tom Campbell)

Year/Major: BS '15, wildlife in forestry and natural resources

Summer job: Environmental/historic preservation intern, Indianapolis Museum of Art

Job responsibilities: Maintain and restore natural habitat at the 100 Acres Art and Nature Park. I plant and care for native trees and plants, weed and remove invasive species and clear trails. I also post updates about the park on social media and write nature blogs.

How this job enhances my education at Purdue: This job is a hands-on way of learning, which is important. Habitat management is taught in a classroom setting. As great as my classes at Purdue were at providing lab and field experience, nothing compares to facing the challenges on a piece of property without controlled variables.

How this job prepares me for a career: It provides me with a lot of experience with land management techniques and strengthened my identification skills. I learned about many new native and exotic plant species. More importantly, I'm developing decision-making skills.

Related Link

More and expanded stories about students and their summer jobs are in the fall edition of Connections