Karen Nickols

Woodland, California
Quality Specialist, Monsanto

Tell us about your experience as an online learner within the Seed Technology and Business program.
I have found that online studying in the STB program has fit well in my professional and personal life. The information I’ve learned so far has been very relevant to my job and the pace is fast enough to keep me challenged, but slow enough that I’m not overwhelmed.

Why did you choose to pursue ISU’s Masters in Seed Technology and Business?
I chose to pursue ISU’s Master’s in STB because I thought the distance learning would fit well with where I am at in my professional path. I knew I wanted to continue my education, but I did not want to give up my full time job at a good company to go back to school full time. This program has allowed me to maintain my career while pursuing higher education. The exposure to all the working parts of the seed industry has been invaluable, allowing me understand how the job I do connects to a much larger organization.

What advice do you have for future online students thinking about applying to the program?
Be prepared to manage your time well. Although the pace isn’t rigorous per se, having good time management skills will make your experience in the program so much better when you give yourself enough time to soak in all the information you learn.

What have you enjoyed most about the faculty you work with within this program?
The faculty I have worked with have been very responsive and very knowledgeable on the subject matter, not only from an academic perspective, but many of the faculty have direct industry experience that make the lessons directly applicable to my job in the seed industry.

Why was online learning the right choice for you?
Online learning was definitely the right choice for me. I appreciate the flexibility of doing lessons and assignments as I can fit them in during my week and still being able to maintain a personal life.

What are your future plans after finishing your master’s degree?
​I plan to continue my career in the seed industry. With my master’s degree I have more career options available and more knowledge and understanding of the inner workings that help drive a successful seed company.