- Interested in sustainable agriculture.
- An Americorps volunteer.
- An international studies graduate.
- Thankful for my diverse WU experiences.
A Fulbright Researcher
Randall Cass ’08 takes his agriculture research to Chile through a prestigious Fulbright grant.
Agriculture was not something Randall Cass '08 expected to choose for his career. He grew up in a farming family — his father is an agronomist for an agriculture corporation — but his summers spent pulling weeds and managing fertilization in canola seed fields left him thinking the work was "dull, dirty and tiresome."
At Willamette, Cass discovered a new way to combine his farming experience with his passions for civic engagement and the environment — through sustainable agriculture.
"As I participated in various research projects at Willamette, I realized how important food and agriculture are to communities around the world," Cass says.
Cass, who majored in international studies, went on to observe these effects firsthand as he studied and researched in Chile through a prestigious Fulbright Grant for U.S. Students.
Cass first examined international agricultural development initiatives for his senior thesis, which focused on Africa. It was a topic he developed after spending a semester studying environmental theology and international relations at Yale Divinity School, an opportunity he found through Willamette's Lilly Project.
Cass also studied for a semester in Granada, Spain. Outside of class, he competed on the rowing team and worked for the Residence Life, Admission and Community Service Learning offices.
"What I value most about Willamette is the fact that I got to do everything I wanted. I got to be an athlete, a tour guide and an RA. I got to act in plays, do the semester at divinity school and study abroad. Willamette gave me a bundle of experiences that have shaped who I am and where I want to go."
After his Fulbright ends, Cass plans to enter the master's program in international agricultural development at University of California, Davis.
He credits his Willamette experiences with helping him find his career path and supporting his interest in service.
"Willamette cultivates in its students the idea to engage civically," he says. "All my friends from Willamette are off doing amazing things. They're becoming nurse practitioners; serving in Teach for America, Peace Corps and AmeriCorps; or traveling the world through the Watson Fellowship. We all graduated with a sense of purpose."
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