Shelby Gruss, Postdoctoral Researcher

Shelby is a recent graduate from the Department of Agronomy, earning a Ph.D. in plant breeding and genetics, and is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher at Purdue.  In her doctoral research, she worked closely with dhurrin- free forage sorghums, looking at the effects of inhibiting dhurrin production within sorghum.  

Why did you choose Agronomy’s Graduate Program at Purdue?
Purdue is a great school for agronomy. I always wanted to go to Purdue growing up in Indiana, but when entering Undergrad, I wanted to play wheelchair basketball so opted to go to University of Illinois. As I was looking at options for graduate school I wanted to go to Purdue, but also after meeting Dr. Mitchell Tuinstra, I felt that his lab and project was a good fit for me. 

Briefly describe your experience as a graduate student
I have participated in multiple research projects, working on developing hypotheses, designing and executing experiments, data analysis, and collaborating with multiple disciplines to complete a larger project.  I have some knowledge in extension through working Dr. Keith Johnson. Participating in field days.  I’m excited to be  part of the edge of innovation Purdue has encouraged with high-throughput phenotyping.
 
What are your career goals?
My career goals are to either work as professor with allocation to extension looking at forage production or to work in industry. My main goal for my future career is to be able to work in dissemination of information to producers and the public, and that’s why Extension is of interest to me. 

How have your interactions been with faculty and staff?
Interaction with faculty and staff have been encouraged and important throughout my graduate degree. The faculty and staff have been very helpful in having a successful graduate program. 

What are the strengths of the Graduate Program in Agronomy?
Collaboration that Purdue Agronomy supports across disciplines and with industry to help students to be as successful as possible. 

What has been your greatest accomplishment while at Purdue?
My greatest accomplishment at Purdue has been to compete and get 1st place in the emerging scientist competition at the American Forage & Grassland Council National Meeting for my work on “Safe and Tasty Sorghum”, and to be able to see how my research can directly affect producers.

 What advice would you give an incoming grad student?
I would advise incoming graduate students to maintain a work life balance and look for a lab that fits with your personality and goals by talking with not only the professor but the students in the lab. 



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