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Susan Melia-Hancock


Contact Information:


307 Curtis hall

USDA, University of Missouri

Columbia, MO 65211-7020

I maintain nursery plots in the field and greenhouse and manage and conduct field plot research in the Flint-Garcia lab.

Why I became a scientist:
I grew up on the FarmLand Industries research and demonstration farm near Trimble, Missouri.  Most of the research was on animal production, but I was more interested in the plant studies.  One year we grew tall sorghum as a dryland alternative to corn for silage production.  We also had a demonstration block where I first saw cotton and peanuts grow (and not produce much) in Northern Missouri.


Even growing up on a research farm, I had not considered becoming an agronomist, but planned to major in anthropology to become an archeologist.  That changed my senior year of high school when I took Botany.  I had enjoyed helping in the garden and starting my own house plants from seeds and cuttings.  Understanding the biology behind those simple tasks changed my direction and my college major.  When I added two agriculture classes my junior year, I had come full circle to agronomy.

I spent the two summers between college and graduate school pollinating corn for a professor at Colorado State University.  I learned a lot by helping increase sweet corn varieties for the National Seed Storage Lab and helping his graduate student create breeding populations.  After grad school the same professor told me about a technician position in Columbia, Missouri.  I have been part of four different labs at the University of Missouri, and still look forward to every new season in the field and greenhouse.  

B.S. - Biology (Botany emphasis) - Sterling College, Sterling, Kansas
M.S. - Crop Production - Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas




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