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May 1, 2015
Matthew Shoop has had a love for being outdoors and the environment for as long as he can remember. But he didn’t consider attending college, let alone earning a degree, to be a realistic goal during his youth.
Shoop’s experiences at Northwest Missouri State University helped change that, and the Marceline, Mo., native graduates this spring with his bachelor’s degree in agronomy. Shoop also has secured employment with Ag Valley Cooperative in Nebraska where we will assist with all aspects of farming.
Shoop earned an associate degree from North Central Missouri College and transitioned easily to Northwest because he wanted to pursue its bachelor’s degree in wildlife ecology.
Soon after arriving at Northwest, though, a soil and water conservation course motivated him to try a slightly different path.
“That was the first agronomy class I took and that’s what made me want to change my major,” he said. “I just love learning about soil and water and how to keep this Earth rolling.”
With the guidance of faculty members like Assistant Professor of Agricultural Sciences Dr. Nigel Hoilett, Shoop benefitted from the hands-on, profession-based experiences Northwest offers in its School of Agricultural Sciences. Shoop deepened his interests in soil by working in the fields of the R.T. Wright University Farm and studying soil samples.
“We have to rebuild the soil and it’s my generation that is coming up with new technology,” Shoop said. “It’s our generation that’s learning this new process, and we’re the ones that are going to have to change the mistakes previous generations have made.”
Hands-on experiences at Northwest, Shoop says, also have prepared him to be successful in his career.
“Soil testing is a big part of agriculture, so doing that in the field, getting the correct depths and already having that knowledge when I go and work, I won’t have to be taught how to read nutrient levels of the soil,” Shoop said. “I already know how to do it, and it gets me a step ahead for my job.”
Additionally, Shoop developed skills that will help him beyond the farm fields through his involvement with Northwest’s Phi Sigma Kappa fraternity and his student employment with the athletics grounds crew.
Shoop developed a greater respect for the Northwest campus, which is the Missouri state arboretum, and strong bonds with staff members by working with the grounds crew. As a fraternity member, he enjoyed participating in philanthropic initiatives and campus activities.
He also established lifelong connections that already are benefitting him. It was a fraternity connection who helped Shoop land his job with Ag Valley Cooperative.
Shoop doesn’t hesitate when calling graduation his proudest accomplishment. Not only is he graduating, he’s prepared to launch his career in a field that fulfils his interests.
“When choosing your degree, look at what you like to do and what interests you,” he says. “And take your time because senior year flies by fast.”
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468