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Department of Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics


The Faces of AEDE: Nicholas Rettig, AEDE Undergraduate Student in Agribusiness and Applied Economics

Oct. 22, 2012

Nicholas Rettig, an AEDE undergraduate student originally from Napoleon, Ohio who is in his junior year of study, recently sat down with us to talk about why he chose to study in AEDE’s Agribusiness and Applied Economics program, his experience to date, and what he hopes to do once he finishes his degree.

Why did you choose to study at AEDE?

I grew up on a family farm and both my father and my uncle graduated from the AEDE, so there was a family tradition aspect to the choice for me.
Additionally, after visiting Ohio State and learning more about the College and the department, what it really came down to when it was the time to make a decision was the people – I absolutely loved the family atmosphere between the students in the department and the openness of the faculty.
Finally, the fact that AEDE is highly regarded nationally, with pretty much every agricultural company recruiting AEDE students, sealed the deal on the decision for me.

What are you focusing on in your studies, what has been your favorite part of the program and why? 

I am gearing my Agribusiness and Applied Economics degree toward a management/crop production specialization. For this specialization, I have conducted research alongside Professor Carl Zulauf on median farm size relative to production and income, in addition to research comparing crop and input price indices over time. Also, in the near future, I will be finalizing a topic for my honors thesis.
All of the faculty in the department have been interesting to learn from and I have enjoyed my experiences studying with them. I have especially enjoyed studying with Professors Carl Zulauf and Ian Sheldon.
Professor Zulauf’s classes have been extremely challenging, but very stimulating. I enjoy his courses as he makes sure students are engaged in the class, which I find really valuable. My favorite class thus far has been Managerial Economics (AEDE 4001). It was taught by Professor Zulauf, and has been the most instructive class I have taken to date.
Professor Ian Sheldon in the classroom.
Professor Sheldon takes a more laid back approach, but he still demands that students master the content. He makes going to class fun and incorporates current events into the examples he provides in the classroom. I really enjoy his course Public Policy Analysis (AEDE 4003), which I am currently taking.
I have also really enjoyed studying with Professors Zulauf and Sheldon as they are both very approachable and you can tell that they really care about their students. They memorize student’s names and they make themselves available to help students not only with course content, but with issues outside of class as well. 
By being a student at AEDE I have also been connected with a number of great opportunities outside of the classroom. For example, during the summer of 2011, I completed an internship with AgriGold Hybrids. I was in charge of a seven-county area in Northwest Ohio and worked directly under the Corn Specialist for that region. I was responsible for seed returns and exchanges, maintaining customer relations, coordinating a field sign program with customers, and conducting a research project with potential customers.
Additionally, I have enjoyed taking advantage of the extracurricular activities offered by the College and the department. Two of my favorites have been the Agribusiness Club, which is organized by AEDE, and the Peer Mentor program, which is organized by the College. 
Through the Agribusiness Club I have found a great group of friends. Additionally, the opportunities that the Club provides are really amazing – the Club brings in industry speakers, organizes service projects in the community for Club members, and participates in annual field trips so Club members can interact with a wide range of agribusinesses as well as other students studying agriculture from all over the country. These experiences have been priceless, have given me great exposure to the agribusiness field, and have provided me with amazing college memories. 
Meanwhile, the Peer Mentor program, which is in its inaugural year, has also been a great experience. I have had the opportunity to be a teaching assistant in a Freshman Survey class and assist new students to the College in their transition to life at Ohio State. I have been able to help out students in a way that was not available to me when I began my undergraduate studies. Whether it be assisting my mentees in scheduling their classes, organizing their academic plans, or just answering their questions about everyday college life, I find this program to be so rewarding – I really like being able to make an impact in the lives of new students to the College.

What do you plan to do when you finish school?

After finishing my studies, I would like to either attend graduate school to obtain an MBA, or pursue a career in management or marketing with an agribusiness. I would also like to remain involved in my family farm operation and coach football at some level.

Why would you recommend this program to other students?

I find this program to be highly valuable as it has provided me with the necessary knowledge and connections to succeed in the agribusiness world. Additionally, by studying at AEDE I have established a diverse support system that I can rely on in the future.
I would highly recommend this program to other students because of the tremendous return on one’s investment. The department possesses an extremely high job placement rate and with the agricultural industry rapidly growing opportunities are expanding. Moreover, the people you will meet within the program are second-to-none, which allows students to connect not only with peers, but with their instructors. 
To learn more about AEDE’s undergraduate programs of study please visit the undergraduate program section of our website.

October 23, 2012