Student welcomes in-person classes for experiential learning opportunities

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Husker senior Lily Woitaszewski tends to her family's garden in Wood River, Nebraska.
September 11, 2020

Lincoln, Neb. —This spring and summer, University of Nebraska–Lincoln student Lily Woitaszewski was a little preoccupied with work on the family farm near Wood River, Nebraska. The senior agronomy major fed cattle, finished calving season, planted corn and tended her family’s garden while completing her studies online.

Woitaszewski left the university in March to live with her family when classes went remote. She admits it was more challenging than the usual in-person courses. However, she said the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources faculty were more helpful and understanding than ever.

“It just goes to show how personable East Campus can be,” she said.

She also interned with Corteva Agriscience and worked with Pioneer Seed during the summer. Woitaszewski was a commercial sales intern in the northeast territory of the state. She said she enjoyed working with and visiting Pioneer Seed agencies and spending time with Pioneer Seed agronomists in the area to evaluate customer fields and seed trials.

“This internship was perfect for me because it utilized both my agronomy major and ag economics minor,” she said.

Woitaszewski started back to school and currently attends in-person and virtual classes.

“I’m most excited to have my classmates back in Lincoln,” Woitaszewski said. “There is no substitute for learning in the classroom with friends who share the same interests in agriculture as me.”

According to Woitaszewski, being part of a renowned agriculture program is her favorite part about being a Husker.

“CASNR and East Campus provide such a small-town feel, and I love this more than anything — it’s a home away from home,” she said.

One thing Woitaszewski says she likes about the Department of Agronomy and Horticulture is the experiential learning opportunities the faculty and staff strive to offer.

“Whether it’s soil science classes or crop management classes, professors try to give students a real-world understanding of the subject matter and not just notes from a lecture,” she said.

Woitaszewski has been a member and participated in the Agronomy Club for three years. After partnering with other Agronomy Club members, she and other members put together activities and stations for youth to learn about crops, soil and products from agriculture. Woitaszewski visited a small-town elementary school in February to help spread this knowledge.

“I enjoy coming to Agronomy Club meetings to learn about companies who focus on agronomy and the careers they offer,” she said.

She’s currently interning with Sandhills Global, specializing in ag sales. She said she likes connecting with farmers and helping them find the best equipment Sandhills offers for its operations.

Woitaszewski also served as a student ambassador last year for the department. She spent many hours putting together information about student internships related to majors in the department. Woitaszewski gave student tours and tried to offer future Huskers a student perspective on college life. She also visited high school FFA programs and classrooms to recruit new Huskers to be a part of the department. With these visits, she tried to incorporate hands-on propagation activities and DNA extraction labs.

“My duties as an ambassador consisted of promoting our department to anyone and everyone,” she said. “I just tried to bring creativity to the recruitment side of our department.”

Serving as president of the university’s Commodity Marketing Club has been an excellent fit for her, as well, she said, as she is minoring in agriculture economics. Woitaszewski is hoping to put together a few educational club trips.

“As president of the Commodity Marketing Club, I enjoy working with our officer team to bring employers to monthly meetings to teach students about careers within the industry and also to show different facets of the commodity marketing industry, whether that be with crops or livestock,” she said.

Woitaszewski plans to graduate in May 2020, and she would like to work with farmers in agronomy, sales or both.