Matraca Steen Sherburn, Minn. / 22 Biosystems Engineering BS, 2015 North Dakota State University Production Engineer Archer Daniels Midland Marshall, Minn. I chose biosystems engineering as my major because I have a passion for science and all things agricultural. I grew up on a farm, the daughter of a biology teacher, and biosystems engineering is a great blend of my background, interests, and personal goal of converting the grains I grew up around into even more usable products for consumers. Internships were defining moments for me— affirmations of my chosen major and career path. My first interning opportunity was a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. I spent the summer working under a professor, doing research in bio-based plastics. My lab partner and I conducted experiments, read published articles to aid in our research, and ended the summer with a poster session discussing our results. My second internship experience was with Archer Daniels Midland as a production engineer intern. I worked in a corn processing plant on projects for safety improvements, cost savings, and chemical savings. My knowledge base grew, and I gained practical experience in a plant setting. One of the biggest takeaways from this experience was the importance of plant safety and continually improving safety practices. To round out my resume, I also took two study abroad courses, both faculty led. The first was a spring break trip as a freshman to Austria, Hungary, and Slovakia for a history course. The second was a 17-day journey traveling through China for an animal science course to study global food systems. Both of those experiences created memories that will last a lifetime. From passport carrying and suitcase toting, I learned that the world is increasingly more connected, and as an aspiring engineer, getting input and perspective from different people is extremely valuable, building a global and cultural awareness. These two trips instilled in me a love of travel, which I hope will continue throughout the rest of my life. As an aside, whenever and wherever I go, I get a picture of myself doing a handstand. I coach gymnastics and enjoy anything involved with the sport, even seeing myself “upside down” in foreign countries. It’s all about getting new and exciting perspectives— any way you look at it!
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