Kate Howell Graduates to Career in Agriculture
Of the 200-plus graduates this spring at the University of Minnesota Crookston, it is hard to say how many were hired before they graduated. Certainly some of them were because they were working and going to school, but of the newly minted alumni who were looking for their first job as a professional, Kate Howell, Badger, Minn., was one who knew where she was headed.
Howell loves being outside, and although she didn’t grow up on a farm, she did proclaim her intentions to become a farmer in junior high. The idea of her farming was met with some scoffing by her peers, but with her major in agricultural business, Howell has sealed her future in agriculture.
She transferred to the U of M Crookston after earning her associate degree to play softball for two seasons while pursuing her bachelor’s degree. Her first summer on campus she spent in the Northwest Research and Outreach Center working on the test plots. “I gathered data on plant counts and heights, pulled weeds, and helped maintain the plots,” she says. “I learned a lot about crops, and they were so patient with me while I learned answering my questions and helping me gain valuable experience.”
In the summer 2017, Howell interned with CHS Ag Services in Roseau, Minn., where she had a chance to put some of her course work into practice. “The crop and weed identification class was one of my favorites,” Howell recalls. “Rob Proulx teaches the class and makes it very interactive. I also enjoyed the classroom competition around the topics.” This experience also led her to a minor in agronomy.
“I love the wide variety of jobs associated with my major including sales, banking, crop adjusting and more,” Howell says. “I am spending my summer in Newfolden, Minn., and looking forward to working in my chosen field literally and figuratively,” she continues.
She loves the connections with student athletes she made as a softball player and the support from her advisor Margot Rudstrom on the academic side has been both helpful and influential. She credits her father with teaching her to value work when she was growing up spending summers shingling with him as part of his construction work.
But, when it comes to her greatest inspiration in life, Howell says it is her grandfather who sets a good example for her. “I learned my work ethic from him. His café in Badger [Minn.] keeps him busy seven days a week and he didn’t own and operate the café until after he retired from farming. I cannot think of a better role model for my life than my grandfather.”
Howell is something of a role model herself to students interested in a career outside their comfort zone. “If you want to pursue a career in an area you aren’t sure about, do not hesitate to take a risk by taking the classes to find out more,” she says. “You might be opening the door to a future you couldn’t have imagined but discover it is the perfect place for you.”
The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 35 bachelor's degree programs, 23 minors, and 40 areas of emphasis on campus as well as 16 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. "Small Campus. Big Degree." To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.