Maussi Arrunategui hopes to stay at UConn after completing her undergraduate studies and earn a master’s degree in plant science, working toward a career in sustainable agriculture. She’s fond of the faculty, staff and students at the College and enjoys the family-like atmosphere, as well as the many resources available on campus. Read more about Maussi’s experiences as a UConn student.
What attracted to you to the UConn College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural resources?
My dream has always been to study agricultural systems and my mentor at Manchester Community College, Jessica Zolciak, suggested that I transfer to UConn. In January 2017, I came to the Young building where I found only the staff working. They were so friendly and helpful, especially my transfer advisor, Jillian Ives, who made my transition as smooth as possible. The staff and professors at CAHNR are very friendly, cheerful and professional. Those qualities made me feel at home since the very beginning. Also, the classes are small in size, and because of my personality I knew it was going to be a good fit for me.
Why did you choose your major?
I developed a love for plants and science from a very young age and I want to help growers with their crop problems, but at the same time I want to raise awareness about sustainability. Therefore, I chose sustainable plant and soil systems (SPSS) with a concentration in sustainable agriculture.
Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why?
Last summer, I participated in an Undergraduate IPM Training Fellowship at Dr. Rosa Raudales‘s lab. There, I obtained not only a great deal of knowledge and valuable skills, but this experience also boosted my confidence in my problem-solving abilities.
Name two other experiences that enriched your studies.
During the summer of 2018, I was blessed to be chosen to attend an internship at Tufts University and work on an experiment related with weeds in Dr. Colin Orian’s Lab. This experience added to my ecology of weeds class. The main research question of the experiment was to learn how the abundance and diversity of weeds would change under different precipitation treatments. It was a great experience, and it directed me to choose my minor in ecology and environmental biology. Another experience that enriched my studies happened in my vegetable production class with Dr. Gerald Berkowitz. In this class, we went on field trips to farms. This experience educated the class about the farmers’ problems first-hand and allowed us to talk to them about their farm’s operation and what is needed to succeed in this career path.
What has been the biggest challenge in your UConn career?
One of my biggest challenges has been the weather. I am from Peru and in my tropical hometown, the summer temperatures here are that of the winter there. Lack of bus shelters on campus does not help the student during inclement weather. Another challenge has been not having enough quiet places to study in the Young Building for the commuter student.
When do you expect to graduate? What then?
I will graduate the summer of 2020. I hope to go to graduate school.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you?
I love dancing, baking and cooking Peruvian food. I would like to travel around the world to help farmers and raise awareness about sustainability. This is our only planet and its future is in our hands.