The Missouri 4-H organization instilled a strong passion for agriculture in Abby Schmidt. She took that passion to the University of Missouri, where she has double majored in plant sciences and agribusiness management.
In all, Schmidt said she will graduate in May with nearly 160 credit hours.
“It took a lot of organization to make it work, but because I started early on, it was doable in four years,” Schmidt said. “I had 20-plus hours some semesters so that I could cruise along at only 12 credit hours in this final semester.”
Schmidt, who is from Foristell, Mo., worked very closely with her undergraduate advisor, Mary Ann Gowdy, teaching assistant professor in the Division of Plant Sciences, to make sure she had the correct courses lined up to graduate on time.
Along with Gowdy, Schmidt worked closely with several other plant sciences faculty to help achieve her degree goals.
“Dr. Gowdy met with me whenever was necessary to work out my schedule and offered her honest opinions,” Schmidt said. “My professors were also knowledgeable and held great passion for their field.”
The plant sciences degree program was attractive to Schmidt because of her background in agriculture. Schmidt included an agribusiness management degree to add a business perspective to her background.
“I decided on plant sciences because I knew I had a love for STEM, and I wanted to be able to relate it back to my agriculture background,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt was very active outside of the classroom at MU as well, including as a member of the Mizzou National Agri-Marketing Association (NAMA) team. According to their website, NAMA is an organization for agri-marketing professionals and for over 60 years has provided education and insights that position NAMA members for success and equip them to deliver greater value for their companies and employers in a rapidly changing world.
Mizzou’s NAMA Competition Team recently placed fourth overall in the 2021 Student Marketing Competition. Last year, Schmidt received the Successful Farming/Fergie Ferguson Scholarship through NAMA. That scholarship is given to one junior each year to recognize personal achievement, leadership abilities in collegiate activities and NAMA involvement.
Schmidt was also able to take advantage of CAFNR’s study abroad program, traveling to Thailand during the winter of 2018-19.
“The Thailand experience offered me an incredible amount of life experience, and I wouldn’t change my decision to go for the world,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt completed an internship last year with the Missouri Corn Growers Association. She served as the policy intern, working on the congressional side of the association.
Working in policy has helped prepare Schmidt for life after graduation. She has been accepted into the MU School of Law and will begin there this fall.
“I chose law because I want to defend agriculture the best way I can,” Schmidt said. “I hope to pursue biotechnology patent law. I am extremely excited, and CAFNR gave me the skills to succeed in their Juris Doctor program.”
Schmidt said the past year was very difficult as the COVID-19 pandemic forced numerous schedule changes, including time away from campus and her friend group. Schmidt said spending time with those friends was one of her favorite memories as a Tiger.
“Students should always remember to do whatever you want to now, so you don’t regret it later,” she said. “For example, you should take those extras classes, study abroad and really enjoy your time in college.”