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Oh, the places you'll go

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After I received the offer to be a Lloyd Noble Scholar in Agriculture I felt relieved, excited and nervous. I was relieved because I would be gaining a real-world learning experience this summer, excited because the Noble Research Institute was my educational experience of choice and nervous because I was stepping out of my comfort zone. I had never left northwest Arkansas and my family for the summer before, but I felt comfortable knowing I was coming to the Noble Research Institute, which is known for its family-oriented workplace.

I study agricultural communications at the University of Arkansas. There, I work as a communications specialist for one of my professors and as a research work study for the horticulture department. Coming to the Noble Research Institute for the summer, I thought much of my work would be in communications and some in horticulture based on my background and experience.

I was introduced to my summer project the first day I started work. The surprising part was that my summer project is in horticulture, not communications. My project is a small tomato study focusing on several growing mediums and irrigation practices. As the day went on, I found out that I get to work with the wildlife consultants on a few communications projects. My summer will be very diverse because along with the projects in horticulture and wildlife, I will also have the opportunity to work on various soil and crop projects and a few communications projects with the communications team here at the Noble Research Institute.

At first I was scared that I wasn't doing what was expected by my professors with the work I am doing here. But I started to realize that it is my responsibility to incorporate communications into what I am doing with my projects. The Noble Research Institute and my mentors have given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge in multiple areas and utilize my skills as a communicator. I am excited that I have the opportunity to experience different sectors of agriculture. I hope this summer will allow me to expand my horizons and teach me to not only be a professional in multiple aspects of agriculture but to also be a well-rounded individual.

Karlee Pruitt is a 2015 Lloyd Noble Scholar in Plant Science from Bergman, Arkansas.