Todd Peterson and Zeke Miller join the ranks of CFAES Distinguished Seniors

March 23, 2021

Two AEDE students, Todd Peterson and Zeke Miller, have received the most prestigious undergraduate award our college bestows on its top seniors. The Distinguished Senior Award honors students for their success in academics, research and innovation, service and involvement, and influence and leadership.

“AEDE is really proud of Zeke and Todd’s academic success and their work outside the classroom,” said Tim Haab, professor, department chair, dean’s chair and leader of the CFAES Knowledge Exchange.

Zeke Miller is a non-traditional student who came to Ohio State after serving in the U.S. Navy, followed by a job as a subject matter expert/contractor for the Navy where he ran a trouble call help desk for the weapon system he worked on while he was enlisted. He came to college with a career-orientated focus.

“I was very deliberate in determining how each class in my major would correlate to a career after graduation,” said Miller. “The fact that close to 94% of agbiz majors are employed or furthering their education within six months of graduation was very attractive.”

This strategy has paid off. Miller is fielding job offers and has applied to the department’s two-semester Master in Applied Economics program.

Dr. Anna Parkman characterized Miller as a rock star student.

“He brings discipline and professionalism,” said Parkman. “From day one, he jumped in with questions and engaged with faculty and staff.”

Todd Peterson’s list of accomplishments is long and varied. He is a recipient of a CFAES Newcomb Scholar and Ohio Future Farmers of America (FFA) Star Farmer Award, which is considered the highest recognition Ohio FFA can award an aspiring young farmer who produces, manages, harvests, and then sells personal crops.

He completed an internship at Corteva Agrisciences in the Integrated Field Sciences research division. In this role, Todd developed hands-on skills related to planning and carrying out agronomic research experiments such as operating research equipment, taking field measurements, and evaluating treatment effects.

Peterson is dual enrolled in CFAES’ Master’s of Agronomy program and works in a lab researching yield and economic effects of high-intensity winter wheat management in Ohio. This work will help Ohio farmers to better understand how agronomic inputs and decisions they make affect the bottom line of their business.

Despite his education and growing up on a farm, he has been surprised by just how complex farming can be and the myriad of decisions that go into it.

“Little decisions when combined can have big impacts,” says Peterson. “For instance, deciding which source of nitrogen fertilizer (Urea, 28%, or Anhydrous) to use can have huge effects on yield and the bottom line.” 

This year’s recognition of the CFAES Distinguished Seniors will occur on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, via a YouTube Premiere video beginning at 7 p.m. on the Ohio State—College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences YouTube channel. Vice President for Agricultural Administration and CFAES Dean Cathann A. Kress will recognize award recipients during this special event.