If Brandi Malchow could major in everything, she would.

After spending a semester at a university without a tradition of agriculture, the junior from St. Cloud, Minn ultimately chose agricultural biochemistry at Iowa State University. It fed her interest in biochemistry that began in advanced biology in high school and her longing to be reconnected with her agricultural roots that were seeded in FFA.

Agricultural biochemistry combines science and math to help further the understanding of human, plant and animal life. With diverse interest areas combined, agricultural biochemistry is a perfect fifit for Malchow, who sees it as a means for “understanding molecular mechanisms of various life processes.”

Malchow loves her major, but is especially thankful for her adviser, Don Beitz, Charles F. Curtiss Distinguished Professor of Agriculture and Life Sciences in animal science and in biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology. She credits him for helping shape her Iowa State career.

She even aspires to become a “female version of Beitz”, she jokes. Like Beitz, she wants to earn a Ph.D. and become a research professor and adviser. Finding a future that involves helping others is a must for Malchow. She’s especially interested in studying diabetes, Chron’s disease or another pressing health issue related to digestion.

“Brandi is Ms. Enthusiasm,” Beitz says. “She works hard for her grades and is very involved in activities outside the classroom.”

That’s likely because one of the first things Beitz told Malchow was to work really hard, but play even harder.

Malchow took Beitz’s statement to heart.

“Academics and activities are two separate things and both deserve equal time and attention,” she says.

She’s a member of Student Admissions Representatives, the Transfer Ambassador Program, Women in Science and Engineering and is a Cyclone Aide—all of these programs tap into Brandi’s desire to mentor new students and help them navigate their first few semesters of college. And she tutors math, science and Spanish at Woodward-Granger High School.

Malchow’s planning to attend the Emerging Leaders Retreat, an overnight, off-campus retreat for students interested in building leadership skills, and will spend a semester at Louisiana State University in the spring as a national exchange student. She’s always been curious about living somewhere else and is intrigued by the south. She also hopes this experience will expand her network while she’s researching graduate schools.

She enjoys being so involved because it’s a great way to network with people she wouldn’t otherwise encounter in her major. In fact, the Cyclone Aide program is where she met most of her friends.

Malchow sees every day as a new adventure. “Every day is the best day ever,” she exclaims. Whether she’s going over math problems with a student, conducting a campus tour or taking a calculus test, she looks forward to something new and exciting each day.