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In Profile: AAEC’s Duff selected as a ‘2012 Student of Integrated Scholarship’

In Profile: AAEC’s Duff selected as a ‘2012 Student of Integrated Scholarship’

Texas Tech’s integrated scholars are academicians who distinguish themselves in teaching, research and service. According to Texas Tech leaders, these three functions allow integrated scholars to generate synergy, strengthening their every effort. The univeristy’s leadership believes that the partnership model for student learning — where students work collaboratively with faculty members, other students, and members of society — has tremendous potential for advancement both personally and professionally.

The model for students also embraces modes of active learning, including service learning and internships; undergraduate and graduate research; and study-abroad experiences and learning. Among the 10 outstanding undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate professional students in the newly released The Journal of Higher Education at TTU is the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources’ John Duff, an agribusiness major from Levelland. Duff was hired in May as the new renewables program director for the Sorghum Checkoff in Lubbock.

What got you interested in your major? I’m a senior agribusiness major. Growing up, I planned on farming with my dad. Since a farmer is equal parts agriculturalist and businessman, agribusiness was a natural choice.

What courses are you taking this semester? I’m taking introduction to production and operations management, international finance, and strategic management.

What is the most challenging course you’ve taken? How has it affected you? Spreadsheet analysis is now my greatest strength, and I use the techniques I learned in that class on a daily basis in my job.

Have you completed internships or had other work experience applicable to your field of study? God has blessed me with many professional opportunities, as I’m now on my fifth internship. I’ve had two congressional internships, one internship with an agricultural lobbying firm, a research internship with the economic research arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and I’m currently an intern for a national trade association. These experiences have been infinitely valuable, and the connections I have made will be with me for the rest of my life.

Have you participated in undergraduate/graduate research? I had a research internship with the Economic Research Service, which is the economic research arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. My role was primarily data organization (my spreadsheet skills served me well in that context) and data mapping. Working in a research environment was a great experience, and seeing my name on the completed paper will be, as well.

What service projects (volunteering, community service, etc.) have you been involved in? The South Plains Food Bank operates an organic farm on the South Loop. The farm operates largely on the volunteer efforts of underprivileged and at-risk kids from surrounding neighborhoods.p>

What advice would you give to other students who would like to be a Student of Integrated Scholarship? Students of Integrated Scholarship balance academics with additional activities, such as research, internships, service learning, and study abroad. I would advise them to aim for the margin — that extra hour of study that will earn them a 90 percent in a class, that additional internship that sets them apart from other job candidates, that extra Saturday per month they spend volunteering. If students figure out how to go a little further than their peers, they will be miles ahead at graduation.

What are your plans after graduation? My ultimate professional goal is to do the best job I can advocating on behalf of the American farmer. I do not know yet if that means I must work for a trade association or run for Congress, but I am willing to go wherever the Lord leads me.

What experiences do you value most as a student at Texas Tech? My most valuable experiences, ironically, have come off campus during my internships. My internships were all made possible in some way by Texas Tech, though, so I’ll always be grateful for my time here.

Duff’s agribusiness curriculum provides a common body of knowledge for students in agricultural economics and business administration. This degree program combines core courses from agricultural and applied economics with business courses in accounting, marketing, management, finance, and business law to provide a foundation for careers in management of businesses.

Written by Bob Smith, Rachel Pierce & Scott Irlbeck

CONTACT: Eduardo Segarra, Professor and Chairman, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2821 or

0326NM12 / Photo: Neal Hinkle


Editor’s Note: Bob Smith is Provost of Texas Tech, while Rachel Pierce and Scott Irlbeck are Senior Editors of Research & Academic Communications


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