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Alumni, business leaders share expertise in BVU Institute for Agriculture program

December 10, 2020 11:00pm

A pair of former Buena Vista University football players joined forces this fall, taking time to share their career paths with undergraduates exploring agriculture, business, research fields, and more through BVU’s Institute for Agriculture.

Dr. Scott Radke, a veterinarian and clinical assistant professor at Iowa State University, joined Travis Munn, a sales manager for Tyson Fresh Meats, in detailing how their BVU experiences a few years ago helped set them on a successful professional arc. They were a pair among several professionals in the agriculture world who offered insights and answered questions via Zoom sessions organized by Rich Crow, Director for BVU’s Institute for Agriculture.

“It’s been very instructive for our students, across a number of academic disciplines, to hear from former students and other successful professionals about how their undergraduate experience can set them up for success in a wide range of fields, all connected agriculture,” Crow says. “We’re grateful for these leaders who have shared their time with us, allowing our students to envision the opportunities awaiting them.”

Radke, who earned a BVU degree in biology in 2012, interned for three years at Lake Animal Hospital in Storm Lake. He also played football for the Beavers and worked as a tutor in the Center for Academic Excellence. He earned his doctorate in veterinary medicine at Iowa State in 2016, a master’s in toxicology in 2018, and continues to practice and teach at ISU.

“I’m a veterinarian, a toxicologist, and a diagnostician, like someone on CSI, figuring out problems to help ensure animal health and food safety,” he says.

Radke’s work has taken him around the U.S., a prospect not the least bit intimidating for a student who completed experiential learning opportunities in Hawaii, South Africa, and Israel while studying at BVU.

“My advice for today’s students involves internships (doing them), job shadowing, and getting involved in organizations on campus where you have an interest,” Radke says. “Always remember that hard work doesn’t go unnoticed. Also, please enjoy and care about whatever you decide to do.”

Munn, who earned a BVU degree in marketing in 2016, still touches base with BVU professors such as Dr. Beth Lamoureux (who retired in 2017) and Dr. Scott Anderson, BVU Professor of Marketing and Director of Internships.

“The one-on-one communication you get with professors sets BVU apart,” says Munn, a football letter-winner. “Beth Lamoureux helped me with presentations after I was out of college. Scott Anderson is still a great research contact for me.”

Munn, who envisioned himself working in sports, didn’t realize food sales would be his forte. A paid internship at Tyson Fresh Meats prior to his senior year changed his thinking. He ended up being hired by Tyson one week following his BVU graduation.

“Internships aren’t just a tryout for you,” he says. “Remember, when you intern, you are more or less auditioning for a company in a temporary role. Just as important, however, is the fact that an internship serves as a trial run to make sure the company is a good fit for you, too.”

And while marketing was Munn’s major, the liberal arts focus BVU provides keeps paying dividends.

“I tried a little bit of everything at BVU and didn’t close any doors,” he says. “My ability to communicate with professors helped me in so many ways, even giving me a better grasp of concepts like macroeconomics, which plays a role in my work every day.”

Other professionals sharing time with BVU students this fall include: Kevin Willey, Global Sales Effectiveness Lead at Corteva; Mike Naig ’00, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture; Von Ketelsen, Farm Services Director at Carroll Broadcasting; Al Patten, Regional Vice President - Business Development, Farm Credit Services; Gwyn Schramm, Head of Strategic Accounts and Licensing at Bayer Crop Science; Andrew Traeger ’94, Chief Risk Officer and Senior Vice President, International Business, John Deere Financial;  and David Schramm, CEO N-7 LLC, a nitrogen fertilizer production company.