Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Since 1919

The Prairie News

Behind the Major with Kendra White: preserving the environment

Kendra White having a photoshoot in the greenhouse.

Kendra White is a senior at West Texas A&M University pursuing a bachelor of science in plant soil and environmental science, with an emphasis on crops and soils and a minor in art. White is from Lamesa and said she would’ve never initially imagined the path she’s on.

White is interested in working in a field that preserves and develops the environment.

“I want to pursue either agronomy or become a soil scientist,” White said. “So, like, with the agronomy position, I would love to look around, row crops, and kind of check on the crops to see what they’re doing or what they need. Or if there’s a certain amount of insects that need to be dealt with, or, you know, give recommendations to farmers about, like their fields. As a soil scientist, that’s more about the conservation side, like with NRCS (Natural Resource Conservation Service), or something like that; trying to preserve the land that we have, and make sure it doesn’t all blow away.”

As a result of where White grew up, working with soil and the environment was natural to pursue.

“Well, I grew up on a cotton farm,” White said. “So it was probably pretty destined to be this way. But I started off as animal science and realized quickly that that’s not what I wanted to be doing.”

The fields of soil science and agronomy are beneficial to society as they help produce food products.

“With agronomy, you can’t have food if you don’t have crops,” White said. “So agronomy really helps like, you know, with food and fiber and all of that, you know, the row crop industry. And then with the soil science is if you don’t have soils, you also can’t have crops. So without these, it’s like, ‘What would we do to make food?'”

White further explained the expected day-to-day life in the agronomy industry.

“As an agronomist, I would like to work with a company that only does agronomy-type work,” White said. “So then I would just have certain fields that I would go check during the week and talk to the farmers, and those are the fields that I would repeatedly work with. I would really get to know the farmers and how they farm, so that’s kind of how a job in agronomy would look. With most of the companies I’ve talked to, it’d be like three or four days in the field and then one day in the office.”

To balance all the science courses required for White’s major, she decided to include a minor.

“So I really like art, and it gives me something to kind of diversify what I’m doing because I take a lot of science classes like, yes, it’s fun, but it’s a lot,” White said. “My first semester here, I did an art class, and I was talking to the professor, and he was like, ‘Oh, yeah, you could get a minor in this; it’s only like 18 hours.’ It was one art class a semester, so I did it to give me a nice balance and something else to do besides just science stuff.”

One of White’s favorite things about her major is being around plants and learning all their intricacies.

“The plants are a lot of fun,” White said. “Yeah, I guess I just really liked plants and all that stuff because it’s so interesting and the faculty makes it really interesting. Like, you’ll just be sitting there, and they’ll [faculty members] just be like, ‘oh, by the way, this *points* does this,’ and you’re like, ‘wait a second!'”

When White graduates in May, she plans to work.

“I’m really trying to go into work for a little bit, like a year or two, to kind of get some rest from school,” White said. “Before I came to WT, I got my associate’s degree in general science, so I want to take a little bit of a break since I’ve been doing school for a hot second. But like I said, one or two years of work and then go into a master’s degree program.”

WT was ideal for White due to its proximity to her hometown and its size.

“I came to WT because it’s only two and a half hours away from my hometown,” White said. “Between WT and my hometown is Lubbock, so Texas Tech is nearby, but it just felt too big. I just graduated with 115 kids in my class, so Tech just felt way too big for me, and I just didn’t like it, so I applied here at WT. I was in FFA (Future Farmers of America), so we came to WT for competitions. WT just felt really nice. It was smaller, but it had all the things, so I came here.”

Since being at WT, White has been allowed to enhance her education and try new things.

“Aside from letting me have an education, I’m also working at the Office of Career and Professional Development, and they’ve allowed me to, like, take summers off, and then come back and work in the fall and spring, so that’s been really nice that they’ve allowed me to do that,” White said. “Having my little part-time job that helps pay expenses has been such a great opportunity for me. And then, I guess, try things because, like I said, I came in as an animal science, and I realized it wasn’t for me. So, everyone encouraged me to take the principles of plant science class, which was a lot more like the things that I wanted to do. So just being able to, like, get my toes wet before committing to stuff.”

Although WT students love the buffalo cookies, White enjoys the people.

“The go-to answer is the buffalo cookies but the people are so nice here,” White said. “Like, coming from such a small town I knew everyone so coming here, I was a little intimidating because I didn’t know anyone yet. But once I started getting to know everyone, they’ve all been super nice and helpful. If I don’t know something or who to talk to, I’m always connected to the right person.”

Around campus, White enjoys supporting WT’s symphony whenever they have a performance. Outside of school, White enjoys drawing, crocheting, cross stitching, listening to true crime podcasts, reading fiction and fantasy and hiking.

White believes you should always try new things and go to events.

“Try things because you might come into WT and be like, 100% you know what you’re doing, and so you don’t want to take any classes that aren’t super related to your major, but I’d say try it because you never know what you’re gonna find,” White said. “I would have never guessed I would love entomology as much as I do. It’s so silly, and that might be because of the professor. I love Ms. Jones; she’s the best. But, like, I started off doing that class, like, ‘Oh, bugs, why would I do this?’ And then it’s like, ‘Oh, no, this is fun and interesting.’ So, definitely try things and also go to events.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Kaelin Collar
Kaelin Collar, Junior Reporter, Associate Editor-in-Chief
Hi everyone! My name is Kaelin Collar, and I'm a sophomore majoring in biology on a pre-medical track from Oregon. I've been with The Prairie News for one year and am the current Associate Editor. Although I'm not pursuing a career in journalism, The Prairie News continues to improve my interpersonal, interviewing, writing, research and leadership skills that will benefit me in my future career. My career goal is to work in the surgical field, with neurology as my specialty. Aside from academics, I love to read, hike, work, go plant shopping, spend time with friends and family and be on the water. 

Comments (0)

All The PRAIRIE Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *