Alumni Spotlight: Justin Stanton

B.S. Applied Plant Science, Crop Improvement '13, M.S. Plant Pathology '16

Advisor: Madeleine Smith & Ruth Dill-Macky

Current Employer: University of Minnesota 

Favorite memory of campus: My favorite memories typically involve the fraternity that I was involved in, FarmHouse Fraternity. I enjoyed going to hockey games, Sweetheart Week, and homecoming socials. 

Why did you choose CFANS as a college? I wanted to work in an agricultural setting, and CFANS offered that opportunity. 

Why do you think the University of Minnesota is great?  So many employment opportunites can arise from having an education from this university. 

Career information/professional achievements:  Hopefully will be employed with Bayer CropScience when I finish my Masters degree. Professional achievements include presenting a poster at the American Phytopathological Society meeting in 2014, completing a 10-week internship in Uruguay and Argentina at INIA (Instituto National de Investigación Agropecuaria), participating in a short course about wheat genetic resources in Israel.

What's your passion? What do you love about your work and your field? My passion is discovery, I love scientific discoveries. Through the research, I can do or learn about. It is even more meaningful to me when I can see that my contributions can better lives or productivity for someone else. I would like to share things I learn and be a reliable resource for others. Also, the discovery of new exciting places in this world. I love to see how people interact with each other and their environments. Meeting people and learning culture/personality is important to me on a professional and personal level. Oh, and I like photography.

How did your education at the U of M help prepare you for what you are doing today? My education here at the U of M taught me everything I know, or made the connection for me to learn it elsewhere. I grew up in the country, not really engaged in plant sciences. Through FFA and 4H, I gained an interest. The U of M taught me about agriculture by my undergrad employment in Carol Ishimaru's bacteriology lab, well-taught classes, and preparing me/making me qualified for internships in the private sector. Furthermore, it introduced me to a Masters program which was funded by Bayer CropScience, and if all goes well, will yield a job opportunity moving forward.

What advice do you have for current students (and future alumni)? Make connections with faculty. When you're in their class, show them that you work hard and are eager to learn what they know. These people are really smart! In my case, it may just be the link between you and your future career. Start a plan. As you progress in your degree, start thinking about where you might want to be when you graduate. Start that now! Do internships, travel, look for UROPs (Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program) in your field,anything to get experience. Finally, be conscientious about who you are as a person. I have learned that employers are looking for people that complement their work environment and goals of their institution. If you can prove to them that you are responsible, respectable, hard working, and competent enough to learn; you will go far. Make sure that the mirror is a reflection of a person your mother would be proud of.