Cassie Winn, 2018 P3 Trainee, has been working on building her professional network since before her undergraduate years. Now, that work is paying off!
Cassie has been invited to participate in three different mentorship and career preparation activities this summer: two at Corteva Agrisciences and one at Bayer.
At Bayer she was invited to participate in a program with 12 other plant breeding PhD students and post-docs throughout the country who are preparing to graduate within the next year. Right now the program is meeting virtually, but the hope is that in late fall they will be able to visit St Louis and present on their research. While there, they will meet Bayer plant breeders and hiring managers in person. They will be meeting virtually every few weeks throughout the summer and meeting new people and learning more about Bayer and the opportunities there.
At Corteva, she has been asked to participatie in a virtual Graduate Student Seminar in Predictive Agriculture as well as a mentorship program. For the student seminar, Corteva has invited a small group of graduate students whose research aligns with the working being done by the company's predictive ag group. Cassie has several contacts in that group and they reached out to her and asked for a CV before extending the invitation to join the talented group. During the approximately 4 hour event, each student will have the chance to present a short 20 minute seminar and exchange ideas about their career and research with a group of hiring managers. However, the initital plans for these events were altered due to COVID-19 so Cassie hopes to participate in a second session that may be offered this fall.
Here's what Cassie says about her mentoring experience at Corteva,
"I am participating in a program Corteva has set up for students who are close to graduating to spend one on one time with a breeder/scientist, the 2020 Corteva Plant Breeding Graduate Student (PBGS) Program. I am being mentored by a corn breeder out of Dallas Center, Jason Morales. I will be spending some time out in his nursery this summer learning about his breeding program and objectives, the germplasm, and the selections he is making. Then in the fall we will be spending time in yield trials and discussing data analysis. The program will culminate with a visit to Johnston where I will have the opportunity to talk with other Corteva leaders and scientists and give a seminar on my research. I am excited to continue learning about plant breeding from an industry perspective and for the networking opportunities this experience will provide!"
She actually knew Mr. Morales before this summer: she did an internship with him when she was an undergraduate and remained in contact. He approached her with the idea of being paired with him for this program. COVID-19 has prevented her from visiting in the field with him to check out the plant nursery and yield trials but there's still hope that this opportunity will be available again; for the moment, all activities are virtual. This mentorship program allows Cassie a chance to engage with industry in a different way, as she begins the job search, than an standard internship would.