Ag Journeys

“Nothing is boring.”

Sean Freidhof

Hometown: Hughesville, PA

Major: Forest Ecosystem Management

Minor: Geographic Information Systems

Research: Mapping large leaf debris

Good at: Fishing, map making, identifying plants, being a lifelong Penn Stater

“You’re learning awesome things about trees.”

When classmates become family.

“Dendrology is a field-based course. You take a bus out at 8 a.m. and you go into the woods and the professor points out plants for four hours. You’re hiking outside, you’re building a great community with your classmates. It makes you feel like you belong to something bigger than yourself—they’re like family now.”

“It’s where I found my passion.”

“I’m mapping the district using GIS.”

“It definitely fits well with what I’m studying.”

“This summer I’m working with the PA Bureau of Forestry in Byrnesville. We’re doing wildlife management, planning and maintaining bike trails, and I’m making maps for the whole district.”

Which plants can take the heat?

“This past spring I started collecting leaf litter for a research project. We’re studying how different kinds of plants can come back and survive after fire. Which get killed off and which flourish?”

How to get a job, how to keep a job—good stuff to know.

“Mike Powell took me under his wing when I got to University Park and guided me on my forestry journey. The first time I met the guy, I wasn’t so sure. He was my professor. If an assignment was late, it was late. That kind of thing.”

“But he has taught me professionalism, how to get a job, how to keep a job, people skills, and technical skills. He gave me the opportunity to be a TA for his chainsaw class—I loved it and will most likely TA again this year.”

It’s a family thing.

“Both my parents and my grandparents went to Penn State. Penn State football has always been part of my life.”