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Student Profile: Abigail Alka

Junior Makes Time for the Right Experiences

By Haley Baker

When Abigail Alka was a high school senior, her life looked a little bit like this: wake up, go to school, then cross country practice after school, academic team practice after cross country, head home to feed her horses and chickens, eat dinner, and get ready to do it all over again the next day.

Like many typical “ag kids,” Alka said she did “all the things” (especially hands-on activities) in high school. While she’s grateful for those experiences, she’s also learned that it’s OK to have fewer activities in college.

Photo of Abigail Alka Abigail Alka appreciates the hands-on work that is part of the agricultural communication major. Photo by Haley Baker

“When it comes to clubs, I’ve tried a bunch of them,” said the junior agricultural communication major from Lynn, Indiana. “In high school I was so involved in everything, but then I got to college, and it was really hard to find my spot.”

One activity Alka said helped her find her spot was Boiler Communication, which is a student-run public relations agency. It is a way for students in communication majors across Purdue to gain hands-on, real-world experience working for real clients. Alka is on her third semester with Boiler Communication.

“It’s really informative, because if you ever wanted to go the public relations route or corporate route, you already know the strategy and the steps of what it takes to do that,” Alka said.

It’s the hands-on work that Alka really appreciates about the major. She described another hands-on opportunity she had during an internship with Davis Purdue Agricultural Center (DPAC). She interned with them for the last two summers and said she learned more each year. Last summer, Alka put her communication skills to the test by creating several videos for the research facility. To do that, she drew on the experience she gained with video production in her agricultural communication digital storytelling course.

Alka said the Purdue AgCom program is a great fit for her because of all the hands-on experiences and opportunities it has. And as she gains more experience, she’s able to find more opportunities that fit her interests.

“AgCom keeps opening door after door for me,” Alka said.

Alka said that her practical learning experiences have taught her how to adapt and change. That’s also something she said is a big part of the AgCom program itself.

“AgCom keeps growing and expanding,” Alka said. “The program always changes to keep up with what students need to know, so that’s pretty impressive.”

Hands-on experiences aren’t the only things Alka credits to her success.

“We have excellent advisors,” Alka said. “They are helpful, informative, and keep you in the loop — and they care about you.”

From public relations to video production, an agricultural communication major is flexible enough so you can make it what you want.

“That’s the thing about AgCom,” Alka said. “it’s very customizable.”

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