HCS Alumni Spotlight: Sami Funderburgh, CCA

Nov. 4, 2022
HCS Alumna - Sami Funderburgh, CCA

Meet Sami Funderburgh | OSU HCS Alumna Class of 2012 + 2015

Sami Funderburgh is a Certified Crop Advisor currently working as a Senior Research Agronomist for Buckeye Ag Testing in Troy, OH.

While here at The Ohio State University, she received her bachelors degree (2012) in Sustainable Plant Systems with an Agronomy Specialization; and then went on to pursue her masters degree (2015) here in the Horticulture and Crop Science Department as well. While working on her master’s thesis her research focused on weed science.

Thankfully, Sami had the time to share what working in agronomic research is like, her time here at HCS + some advice for students considering graduate school:

How did you become interested in ag?  

I grew up in a community dominated by agriculture, but I really got my start in high school ag classes and being involved in FFA.  

What’s the rough career path that brought you to your current role?  

After receiving my Master’s degree, I knew I wanted to continue to be in agronomic research. Buckeye Ag Testing has allowed me to do just that.

What’s a normal day look like for you?  

It really depends on the season!  In the winter and early spring, a lot of my time is spent planning (bidding trials, mapping research fields/locations, meeting with customers, making agronomic maintenance plans). 

Once planting starts, our focus is on getting all trials into the ground and making at planting applications. As the crops start to emerge everything is triggered by growth stage (data collection, applications, sampling). A lot of my time during the growing season is managing trial applications, scouting, and doing agronomic ratings (weed control, disease ratings, etc.) while still communicating with customers. 

At harvest, I am involved in compiling and analyzing data and sending that out to our customers. Every day and every season is different!

What is your favorite part of your career?  

It allows me to continue to learn. Things are ever changing in agriculture, and being involved in research allows me to see new ideas and advancements first hand. Looking at the bigger picture, the end goal in agronomic research is to address issues that are affecting growers and the industry as a whole. It’s pretty cool to think that we have a hand in identifying those solutions.

How did your time at HCS help prepare you for your career?  

The coursework was extremely valuable to me. I was also fortunate to gain experience in research throughout my undergraduate and graduate career. The people in the department offer a wealth of information and knowledge.

Any advice for students looking for their first job out of college?  

Keep an open mind and give things a chance! You may learn to love a career path you didn’t expect.

Any advice for students considering graduate school?  

Go for it! Find something that interests you but also don’t be afraid to branch out.

You can keep up with Sami on Instagram!