Austin is a student in the Department of Crop Sciences, and a member of the Crop Sciences Student Ambassador Program. Read more about Austin in the Q&A below.

Austin Parish

Crop Sciences: Can you share your name and a little bit about yourself?

My name is Austin Parish, and I am a senior in Plant Biotechnology this year. I am from Staunton, IL.

Crop Sciences: Why did you pick the Department of Crop Sciences as your program of study?

I started at UIUC majoring in Nuclear Engineering but after my first semester, I decided it wasn’t the right fit for me. When I started my search for a new major, the Crop Sciences curriculum seemed like a good fit for me. I have been interested in genetics since my amazing 7th grade science teacher. I really knew that I had made the right choice after taking intro to crop sciences and intro to molecular biology, two fundamental courses that have helped me in the rest of my coursework.

Crop Sciences: What is your favorite part of being a student in Crop Sciences?

My favorite part of Crop Sciences is the faculty. They are always very helpful and will take time to discuss course material or professional life.

Crop Sciences: What do you do outside of the classroom for fun or professional development?

Outside of class, I am a member of Beta Psi Omega professional biology fraternity and Pershing Rifles. I have been researching cassava’s response to increased CO2 in Don Ort’s lab. I am also currently interning at EnterpriseWorks as the lab manager intern.

Crop Sciences: What do you hope to do after you graduate?

I am hoping to get some experience in industry and then going back for grad school.

Crop Sciences: What is one thing that you want people to know about Crop Sciences, the College of ACES, or the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign?

The university is such a large place with the ability to offer amazing connections. Even though there are so many people, you can still find a small community and feel like an individual that professors care about. Crop Sciences is an especially great department to foster a sense of community with your classmates.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Undergraduate Programs in Crop Sciences, you can email If you’re interested in scheduling a time to talk with a Crop Sciences representative, sign up here.