Oklahoma State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the OSU Foundation, recently recognized Corteva Agriscience for its longstanding support of the college’s Student Success Center.
“One of the first things I noticed when coming to Stillwater and assuming the position of OSU vice president of agricultural programs was the many positive benefits the center provides to our students; that and how incredibly busy it was,” said Tom Coon, chief administrator for CASNR and the university’s two state agencies: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and the statewide Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station system.
It did not take long for the inquisitive Coon to learn about the level of investment Corteva Agriscience had provided to CASNR programs and to the center in particular.
“About 12 years ago we realized we were going to need to hire a significant number of new employees trained to operate in the 21st century’s rapidly changing marketplace, and so began to develop strong relationships with land-grant universities across the United States, financially and otherwise,” said Susanne Wasson, president, crop protection business platform, Corteva Agriscience, Agriculture Division of DowDupont.
For Wasson, a 1988 graduate of the OSU department of agricultural economics, it made sense to work with CASNR. Wasson has come back to her collegiate Cowboy roots time and again over the years, speaking to students and sharing what is great about her alma mater, the company of which she has been a part for 29 years and agriculture in general.
“The results of our cooperative partnership with and investment in CASNR speak for themselves,” Wasson said.
CASNR Associate Dean Cynda Clary agreed. “I came here in 2012 and have found it fascinating to think about what Corteva Agriscience has helped us start: growth of the Research Scholars Program; expansion of minority programs; the industry speaker series; more than $60,000 in financial support for student learning, development and achievement,” she said. “We’re incredibly grateful for Corteva Agriscience’s commitment to our students.”
The center offers a variety of services including:
● Academic success coaching;
● Campus involvement guidance;
● Career networking events;
● Computer and printer access;
● Goal-setting facilitation;
● Mock job and internship interviews;
● Professional development resources;
● Resume critiques;
● Study spaces for small groups; and
●Tutoring services, among others.
“We believe a particular strength of the center is our philosophy that ‘students helping students’ is important,” Clary said. “We place a strong emphasis on faculty and staff advisors being there for our students, but sometimes it is easier for a person of any age to listen to and interact with a peer who has had similar experiences.”
Student Academic Mentors provide personal attention to freshman, helping newcomers adjust to campus life and collegiate coursework. CASNR Ambassadors assist with prospective student recruitment. Career Liaisons mentor students about decisions and planning for post-college professional development. Student Success Leaders for CASNR Multicultural Programs help identify and promote study abroad and other learning opportunities that expand one’s worldview and possibilities in today’s increasingly global marketplace.
CASNR Ambassador Colten Bison, an OSU animal science major, classified getting to work “with some of the most outstanding and capable student leaders on campus” as a privilege.
“Each of us has skills and talents that have been developed or refined through center activities, meetings and events made possible by [Corteva Agriscience’s] generosity,” he said. “[Their] support has allowed us to get a jump start on transitioning from college to being a professional, while also instilling in us a better understanding of how we might help younger students position themselves for future success.”
Wasson described her view of the process as being somewhat circular. “My team and I manage a global supply of billions of dollars of products to meet our client’s crop protection needs,” she said. “I’m regularly reminded of concepts taught to me when I was in CASNR taking classes under Dr. Bob Oertmann or talking with my academic advisor, Dr. John Franzmann. Part of who I am today is what I experienced as an OSU student.”
For Wasson, Corteva Agriscience’s support for the Student Success Center and personal history with CASNR is all part of an unbroken line helping to form the tenets of her career choices. Point in case: Wasson was elected this fall to serve as the 44th chair of CropLife America’s board of directors. This industry association promotes the responsible use of innovative, safe and environmentally sound crop protection technologies that are essential to the global production of affordable and sustainable food, feed, fiber and renewable or alternative energy.
“Dr. Oertmann and Dr. Franzmann talked about all those subjects,” she said.
The student lives of Wasson and Bison may be separated by decades, but they remain interconnected in terms of many shared goals that represent the core values of CASNR programs.
“We often talk about our extended OSU family,” Clary said. “If we’ve done things right it is a connection to CASNR that stays with our graduates, even across the years, and Corteva Agriscience has played a significant role in helping us do things right.”
Clary added CASNR believes in the value of hands-on education and the importance of a well-rounded student experience, and – thanks in no small part to Corteva Agriscience’s support – the Student Success Center is able to fulfill its vital role in helping students get the most out of their collegiate experience.
CASNR is part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. The college offers 16 majors, 52 study options and more than 60 student organizations and competitive teams.
The OSU Foundation is the private fundraising organization for the university, as designated by the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges. It exists solely for the benefit of OSU.