Something New Every Day: Working at Corteva Agriscience
By Julian Golec, Ph.D., and Adekunle Adesanya, Ph.D.
Editor’s Note: This Entomology Today post is a sponsored article contributed by Corteva Agriscience, a Gold Corporate Partner of the Entomological Society of America. The views presented in sponsored posts reflect those of partner organizations and not necessarily those of ESA. Learn more about Corteva and the ESA Corporate Partner program.
We are both newer field scientists at Corteva Agriscience. Both of us are entomologists, and we want to share our experiences, so far, of working for this organization. Through this article, we hope to give insight into working at Corteva Agriscience and to help those who may want to work for the agricultural industry.
Julian Golec: Best-in-Class Product Development
I always knew I wanted to work for industry, and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to join Corteva Agriscience as a field scientist at the end of 2019. I am currently based at our Woodland, California, research and development field station, where I am responsible for the field characterization and development of early-stage insecticides, nematicides, and biologicals. In a nutshell, I coordinate and execute field trials to elucidate the efficacy and crop safety of new molecules on key crops and pests in the west.
I can confidently say that no two days have been alike since I started, and I love it, because I’m not the kind of person who can sit behind a desk all day. Some days, I’ll spend the entire day out in research fields implementing and coordinating various projects by transplanting varieties of different vegetable crops, scouting and identifying pests, spraying trials, and collecting data. Other days, I’m in the greenhouse setting up controlled environment trials, rearing insects, and developing methods for various bioassays.
There’s no shortage of things to do, but it’s certainly engaging and rewarding work, especially when things work out! I feel that I have a real impact on our product development—from getting dirty in the field setting up experiments and executing them to presenting novel findings to global program leaders.
It’s tough to say what has been the most rewarding aspect of working for Corteva, but I think it’s a combination of Corteva’s passion for agriculture and people in addition to working with highly diverse teams. Corteva is unique in the agricultural sector as it is the only pure-play agricultural company—meaning that our earnings are reinvested into our pipeline to further drive development of agricultural solutions for sustainable crop production, and that’s our company’s focus: developing best-in-class agricultural products.
However, it took time for me to acclimate to industry. I had several postdoc positions prior, and the pace of academia is quite different. Don’t get me wrong, my background did provide me with many desirable transferable technical skills, but there are some aspects of an industry position that took some acclimation. As a newer field scientist, I had a lot to learn and had to do it quickly, yet there was no shortage of internal support to help set me on the right course.
Corteva’s passion for people is demonstrated through its mentorship and coaching programs, which are available for new hires (and seasoned employees) to help them understand how the company works and to get them familiar with their roles. It’s also encouraged for new hires to reach out to employees anywhere in the company; and, as Corteva is a global company, it can be a great experience to reach out to folks and gain insight, whether for your job or personally, from the diverse people that exist here.
This culture of openness and a willingness to help anyone across the company achieve their goals has made the transition to Corteva very fulfilling.
Adekunle Adesanya: A Passion to Help Growers
My current role in Corteva is the product development field scientist for coastal California. I am primarily responsible for conducting and managing field trials for new crop protection technologies that are relevant to crops grown in coastal California. I also design and implement research to improve the usage of existing crop protection technologies.
My desire to be a scientist stems from my passion to help growers solve pest problems that are limiting their productivity and output. Joining Corteva as a field scientist has offered me an opportunity to contribute to crop production while also doing science.
I earned my Ph.D. degree in entomology and pest management from Washington State University. My graduate research focused on the fundamentals of insecticide and acaricide efficacy and resistance in specialty crops. I worked with growers to develop new approaches for sustainable pest management. This educational background prepared me for this career path with Corteva.
There are diverse experiences and rewards that I accrue as an early career scientist with Corteva. I work with multiple stakeholders across regulatory affairs, synthetic and formulation chemistry, university faculties, area-wide extensionists, crop consultants, and more to solve complex practical problems. This kind of work interaction offers a transdisciplinary experience that I desire.
At Corteva, there is a structured practical mentoring program that connects early career professionals with seasoned scientists, industry leaders, and experts across multiple disciplines. There is opportunity for leadership and professional development. Most importantly, there is the prospect to learn and acquire experience in whole-system thinking. In my one year at Corteva, I have gained better understanding of the food and agriculture value chain and how consumer behavior shapes technology development and vice versa.
Corteva is a global company that offers career opportunities across the globe; this is another major incentive to work here. Overall, I am participating in the development and deployment of new technologies that are shaping the crop protection outlook around the world and enriching the lives of farmers.
Innovation Every Day
The impacts that we have had during our time with Corteva Agriscience are significant. We are excited to work for a major agriscience company that provides innovative agricultural solutions. Included here is a slide deck that represents some of the many products we have available globally, everything from crop protection to seed products. If you’d like to learn more about working at Corteva or in the agricultural industry, please feel free to contact us via email, at the addresses below.
Julian Golec, Ph.D., is a field scientist at Corteva Agriscience, Woodland, California. Email: email@example.com. Adekunle Adesanya, Ph.D., is a field scientist at Corteva Agriscience in San Luis Obispo, California. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.