We asked several CAHNRS Ambassadors, excellent students who love WSU and their college, to name their favorite or most influential professors. And now we’re featuring those nominated educators in this weekly series, which runs through the summer.
Today we’re showcasing Kevin Murphy, assistant professor in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences and head of WSU’s barley and alternative crop breeding program. Here are his answers to a few questions:
Where are you from?
I was born and mostly raised in the Philippines. My dad worked at the International Rice Research Institute.
Where did you go to school?
I earned a B.A. in Biology from Colorado College, an M.S. in Crop Science from WSU, and a Ph.D. in Plant Breeding and Genetics from WSU.
How did you become interested in your field?
After college I farmed for 7 years and we grew a some crops for seed. I started working with plant breeders as a part of this process and fell in love with the work. I wanted to learn as much as I could about plant breeding, so I started graduate school at WSU when I was 30 years old.
Why did you want to become a professor?
So I could share my passion about plant breeding specifically and sustainable agriculture in general with students and hopefully motivate them to pursue careers in agriculture
What is your favorite thing about working with college students?
Grading their essays. Ha! Just kidding. Two things here. First, I really enjoy talking to college students person to person about their ideas, motivation, personal stories and plans for the future. I’d encourage undergraduates to spend more time engaging in conversations with the faculty and graduate students they find interesting.
Second, I appreciate the opportunity CAHNRS has provided for undergraduate student research internships. Through this program, I’ve worked with several students over the years, some of whom have published their undergraduate research in peer reviewed journals and gone on to get a graduate degree, and others who have gone on to exciting work and entrepreneurial opportunities in the agricultural field.
What advice would you pass along to students?
When deciding what to do with your life, find and pursue your passion, follow your heart, and be willing to work extremely hard to reach your life goals.