YOU NEED TO KNOW: Dr. David Weaver
BY Tyler Miller, Junior in Agronomy and Soils
Dr. David Weaver, a native of Georgia, attended the University of Georgia and earned a bachelor’s (1974) and master’s (1976) degrees in agronomy. He went on to complete a Ph.D. in agronomy at Purdue University (1981). His main research interests during his tenure as an Auburn University professor have been focused on plant breeding and genetics, primarily in soybeans. He is a Ralph “Shug” Jordan Professor in the Department of Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences and teaches classes on basic crop science, plant genetics and crop improvement.
What drew you to Auburn University and the College of Agriculture?
As soon as I finished my Ph.D., I was instantly attracted to plant breeding, specifically soybeans because it was the blooming industry. I initially planned to stay in the North and go into industry simply because that was what everyone was doing. But I got an opportunity to come down south and interview, and the rest is history. I never thought I would be able to come back to the South, work at an SEC school and be next to my home state.
Some people view the College of Agriculture as a college that produces farmers and farmers only. What is the range of opportunities present in the College of Agriculture for a wide variety of interests?
There are so many opportunities right now. The job market is simply exploding in agriculture for any degree. Agriculture has opportunities for whatever you are wanting to do. Precision agriculture is a booming and promising field with the incorporation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and tractors that can drive themselves to plant perfectly straight rows. There is so much going on in the scientific field with genomics, medical sciences and breeding that simply doesn’t make the headlines. If you’ve got an interest in something, anything, the College of Agriculture has something to accommodate you. The real question is what are you interested in?
With your experiences conducting study abroad trips, what would you tell a student who is unsure about study abroad and its benefits?
The best advice I can give is to do things that make you nervous. If nothing else, you have something to talk about when you might need something to talk about. I love taking students to China because it opens their eyes to diversity, and they wind up learning more about America than they do about China. In America, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is viewed as some huge monster that makes rules that make life harder for everyone here, but once you take a trip to China and see their rivers and air quality, you are really exposed to the benefits that agencies like EPA allow Americans to have. Learning about different cultures and getting out of your comfort zone are the most important parts of studying abroad.
What advice do you have for students looking at Auburn University and the College of Agriculture? What sets us apart?
It’s the family atmosphere. The fact is that in this college you will find someone who genuinely cares about you, and I don’t think that is true in other colleges and universities around here. It may take you a while, but you will connect with someone. People will care about you and be interested in your welfare and performance here at Auburn. To me, it’s the easiest sell in the world, and I’m no salesman. But I can sell Auburn University. It sells itself. I just think we have a great thing here.
What is your favorite Auburn tradition? What has been your most exciting moment here at Auburn?
Well, I can tell you my most exciting moment. It has to be the 2010 Iron Bowl that took place in Tuscaloosa. We were behind 24-0, and Alabama fans were so happy that they were beating the number one team in the country. There was such satisfaction that came from taking all that joy away from them. The 2013 Iron Bowl was also pretty exciting, but to me, 2010 was more exciting. I think my favorite tradition is just the gameday atmosphere on a football Saturday, if that counts. There is just nothing like it. I love being at the game.
Tyler Miller is a junior at studying agronomy and soils. He is an Ag Ambassador, a member of the Crop, Soils and Environmental Science Club, an undergraduate research fellow and works with Study Partners. After graduation, Tyler hopes to go to medical school or graduate school at Auburn.