Young Alum of the Month – June 2022
Kevin Falk’s passion for science, genetics and agriculture has led him to a career rooted in agronomy and plant breeding.
Falk (‘19 PhD plant breeding) is a crop protection field modernization scientist for Corteva in Carman, Manitoba, Canada.
“I recently took a new role in the company focusing on developing innovation. I love developing new technologies and methodologies in how to conduct agricultural science,” Falk says.
With the use of drones, robots, automation, machine learning, image analytics and multispectral imaging, Falk and his team are expanding field scientists’ toolbelts. Falk says his experiences at Iowa State University prepared him to work in multi-disciplinary teams, which has greatly contributed to his success at Corteva.
“What I learned at Iowa State is it is most often the people that make the difference, not the courses, science, research or the learning. Over my four years in Ames, I made some of my best friends and connected with lifelong, impactful mentors such as my Ph.D. advisor and mentor, Dr. Danny Singh, who influenced me to identify and improve my shortcomings and trained me how to think bigger,” Falk says.
He also had many other influential mentors at Iowa State, such as Ken Moore, distinguished professor of agronomy, and Dr. Jianming Yu, professor of agronomy. Falk contributes much of his success, as well as his personal and professional development, to reaching out to veterans in the agriculture industry.
Along with having the ability to build relationships with professors and others at Iowa State, Falk was a member of the Plant Breeding Symposium committee for three years. This opportunity was a highlight of his time at Iowa State, and it provided many networking opportunities in academia and industry, which ultimately helped him secure his current position at Corteva.
Falk has also held positions at Bayer and Monsanto, where he was involved with plant breeding and crop protection. He earned his bachelor’s degree in plant biotechnology and master’s degree in plant breeding from the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences.
When asked what advice he would give to young individuals pursuing a career in agriculture and life sciences, Falk encourages individuals to “get out there, show your passion for what you do, meet new people, network, go to conferences, and most of all, find a few good mentors. I can’t emphasize enough how reaching out to ask veterans in the agriculture industry to be my mentor and meet with me once a month has helped me find success. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 80, having a few mentors has been invaluable to my personal and professional development.”
You can follow Falk’s passion for agronomy research on LinkedIn, where he regularly posts videos of his adventures in the field.