Ewing Balances Research and Leadership Skills Between
Lab and FarmHouse
By Amanda Cairo
University of Idaho opened a lot of doors for agricultural systems management graduate Pedee Ewing. But it was the doorway into the FarmHouse Fraternity that may have made the biggest impact on the Meridian, Idaho native.
Now, as a graduate, Ewing has the necessary academic tools to start a master’s degree in plant science here and to continue his research with oilseed breeder and University of Idaho researcher Jack Brown.
“I really liked agriculture, and the agricultural systems management program at the University of Idaho was a really good fit,” says Ewing. “There’s so much you can do with it.”
“There are a lot of different leadership opportunities in the fraternity. It helped me further myself morally, academically, physically and spiritually.”
Academics took the forefront for Ewing as a student, but it was his time at FarmHouse where he developed strong leadership and character. After earning pledge of the year at FarmHouse, Ewing was named vice president of recruitment before becoming president.
“There are a lot of different leadership opportunities in the fraternity,” he says. “It helped me further myself morally, academically, physically and spiritually.”
Ewing wasn’t just getting ahead in the classroom; he was on the road seeing his future in action. He joined the Agriculture Student Affairs Council and took advantage of its Spring Into Idaho Careers Tour, where he visited agriculture-related businesses around the state over spring break.
“It was a good opportunity to see how important agriculture is in the state,” says Ewing. “There’s a long list of potential opportunities to network with Fortune 500 companies and top executives that came out of that tour.”
One of his most rewarding experiences as an undergraduate was being involved in breeding new cultivars in Brown’s laboratory. Ewing was able to help firsthand in boosting crop production and heighten disease resistance in canola, rapeseed and mustard plants.
“It was really inspiring to be able to see a way we can potentially help people by growing better yields and be more sustainable,” says Ewing.
That research germinated into a master’s degree in plant science and plant breeding.
Ewing will return to Moscow in the fall to continue his research.
Ewing is putting other skills to use. He has continued his welding expertise by building deep furrow seed drills for the lab and saw agriculture technology in action during the student-run corn maze, where he helped plot routes with GPS, connect communities and student groups together, and fine-tune a pumpkin cannon to be more efficient.
“That’s what I really love about getting an agriculture systems management degree,” says Ewing. “There’s such a wide set of skills in agriculture that feed into it. There are a number of career directions you can go into.”
Ewing says it was the critical hands-on experience he received that will serve him best after graduation.
“I have been exposed and educated about so many different areas that have led me to be an all-around better person,” says Ewing.
With this firm and diverse foundation, Ewing is looking to return this fall to start his new academic chapter.