Young Alum of the Month: Kelly Mitchell

Kelly Mitchell
Title and Company: 
Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey Coordinator at Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
Hampton, IA
Major and Graduation Date: 
Ag Studies and a minor in Agronomy, May 2003
Major Job/Position Responsibilities: 

In short, I'm a "Bug Lady". I work with the state and federal levels of Departments of Ag to coordinate surveys for potential pests to Iowa. The surveys are for pests, whether it be a disease or insect, that have not been established in Iowa but the risk is there. I write grants during the winter and set, monitor, and collect traps spring through fall. I also screen all the traps and send any potential pests to an identifier. From there, steps are taken towards eradication. The pests I survey for vary from year to year. Currently, I am focusing on the Emerald Ash Borer.

What you like most about your job/position: 

Since I am the only CAPS coordinator for the state of Iowa, I get to travel the whole state. I have conducted surveys in almost every county in Iowa. It's amazing how much diversity Iowa actually has. I also get to attend meetings located throughout the United States. It's great to work with my counterparts in every state and learn how much agriculture varies.

What advice would you give to current students: 

Keep your options open. I never thought I would become an entomologist, but it's a great job and I love it. Agriculture has a lot of diversity, so take advantage of that.