Ag Journeys

“I couldn’t see myself anywhere else.”

Jillian Barskey

Hometown: Wernersville, PA

Demographic information: first-generation college student

Major: Environmental Resource Management

Research: soil testing

Good at: research, hard work, drinking coffee, hiking, horseback riding, playing the ukulele, being a dog mom

“I grew up in the suburbs, I didn’t live on a farm.”

 “Coming to Penn State for FFA conventions as a high school student got me interested in agriculture—that’s when my passion for environmental sciences started.”

As a high school student, it’s exciting to get a taste of college life: staying in dorms, eating in the dining halls, exploring campus. It’s even more exciting to get a glimpse of your future.

 “I knew the college was the right place for me and that this was where I’d be spending the next four years.” 

“If it wasn’t for her, I would have felt lost freshman year.”

It’s no secret: Penn State is a big place.

“My advisor, Tammy Shannon, instilled so much confidence in me and was encouraging about my plans and interests. She opened my eyes to internships, volunteer opportunities, and everything else the college has to offer. She remembered me from when I visited campus as a high school student! I know her office door is always open.”

“It’s a lot of building!”

“We’re working to improve stream health.”

At Penn State, learning opportunities take you out of the classroom and into the real world.

“This summer I’m doing an internship with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. We’re installing log veins and mud sills to help the stream and trout populations and to minimize erosion."

“I get to go outside, and I can still educate people.”

“After doing a week-long water survey of the Schuylkill River through the Pennsylvania School of Excellence in Ag Sciences, I knew I wanted to pursue a degree in Environmental Resource Management."

“Get involved. Even on game day!”

“I love talking about the college.”

“Being an Ag Advocate allows me to educate prospective and new students about the college and the university.”

“I got my first taste of research my first year here.”

“I started in a roots research lab. Then last spring I worked with Charlie White, a Penn State professor of Plant Science. I helped him and his grad students do fertility and nutrient testing on soils they are collecting from along the Chesapeake Bay watershed. It’s a great experience working in a lab.”