ACRS Members making care packages for PSM undergraduate students

President:  Christina Chiu 
Vice President: N/A 
Secretary: Megan Gendjar 
Treasurer: Faisal Sherif 
Events Coordinator: Carly Claucherty 
Recruitment:  Harkirat Kaur 
Public Relations: Hannah Jeffery 
Student Senate & DEI Rep: Thilani Jayokody 
Advisor: Lisa Tiemann 

(Association for Crop and Soil)

The Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences graduate student organization Association for Crop and Soil (ACRS) works to provide crop and soil graduate students with social and professional support.  

Created in October 2015 by graduate student Mike Swoish, the organization began as an opportunity for graduate students in crop and soil sciences to connect with other graduate students, faculty and future employers.

ACRS hosting the 2nd annual Hawk Island Trip.

With the intention of increasing social involvement within the graduate programs, the organization holds happy hours, meetups, new student welcoming parties, a booth at Plant Science Recruitment Week and after-school socials, and currently meets once a week. 

“We are trying to take all of the good energy and excellence in the community and focus it and get more people involved,” Kyle McCarthy, ACRS officer and wheat breeding graduate student, said.

In 2015, an ACRS social meeting averaged three to four students, but increased to an average of 15-20 students in 2016.

Currently, ACRS is exploring more professional development in addition to social development.

“Our role is not only to get people out and engaged, but we want to try and facilitate things that aren’t emphasized in graduate school, such as becoming a leader,” McCarthy said. “Because we are going to graduate with an advanced degree, we are going to be in a managerial position, so having competency in that is really underemphasized.”

With the priority to mobilize the crop and soil graduate community, another main focus of the organization is to get new graduate students involved in the PSM community.

“We made a concerted effort to contact those students multiple times personally to invite them to activities or to find people in the department that might have similar interests,” Natalie Kirkwyland, ACRS officer and potato and breeding genetics graduate student, said.

ACRS was heavily involved in the Plant Science Recruitment Weekend. The organization provided students with a comprehensive guide to graduate students’ social lives and professional development opportunities.

Within PSM, there are multiple graduate student organizations. ACRS is currently working with those other organizations to utilize some of their resources.