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Ag Class of 2019: Samantha Morris

Every Purdue student has a story. Each individual brings distinctive experiences, perspectives and skills to the University, and each takes away something different. Commencement is the shared milestone in that process. We’re celebrating the collective achievements of the Class of 2019 by telling the unique stories of some of its outstanding members. Today, meet Samantha Morris, Agribusiness, Animal Sciences.

Well-traveled senior returns to her Extension roots

“Do it all.” The refrain that Samantha Morris says served her well as a student is also her advice to future Boilermakers. “With Purdue, there are so many opportunities. It’s good to find out what works and what doesn’t, especially early on. There’s so much to do within your four years that you could never fit it all in. You should try what you can though because you grow from it all. I sure did.”

Samantha at 4-H fair

Morris arrived at Purdue intending to study veterinary medicine. After speaking with the industry professionals who visited her classes, she realized the path was not right for her. “By the middle of my freshman year, I was back to the point where I just didn’t know what I wanted to do.”

Ashley York, coordinator of academic advising/student services for the Department of Animal Sciences, helped Morris realize her first semester had not been a mistake. It served as the foundation for her to double major. “I’m so glad she slowed me down from my panicked state,” said Morris. “It truly worked out for the best.”

Though Morris’s family has lived on a farm for four generations, double majoring in agribusiness and animal sciences helped her see the industry from new angles. “My agribusiness courses provided a challenge to my critical thinking while my second degree offered unique scientific aspects.”

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On her family’s farm, Morris supervised livestock barns while helping produce corn and soybeans. For 10 years, she showed cattle as a 4-H member. When Morris earned the title of Miss Johnson County in 2015, she assumed it would serve as the finale of her time with 4-H. After her first year of college, she returned with a summer internship.

“Sam was my go-to person,” said Heather Dougherty, Johnson County’s Extension Educator for
4-H Youth Development. “I would give her a task to do with very minimal directions, and she would take it and rock it.”

Back at Purdue, Morris joined Delta Gamma, served as the Public Relations Chair on the executive board of the Purdue Agricultural Council and mentored students in animal sciences orientation classes. Morris also studied abroad in Australia, scuba diving in the Great Barrier Reef in between taking classes at the University of Queensland.

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Morris later interned at Purina Mills, gaining experience in event management, communication and sales. She crossed the country teaching over 20,000 people about the unique benefits of Purina’s products at trade shows and events. Social media marketing became a new passion for her. Morris identified ways social media can help agricultural businesses engage in conversations with their audiences.

While she has not finalized her next step, Morris plans to either attend graduate school to study agricultural communications or continue her work in social media marketing.

“Everyone always preaches how you never stop learning and never stop growing. You come to Purdue and hear professors talk about research projects and other things going on. It inspires you to keep going too.”

Samantha sitting in the school setting

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