December 16, 2017

Costas Hatzipavlides, soil sampling/crop scouting intern

When Costas Hatzipavlides was growing up in Pennsylvania, two diverse worlds influenced his life—agriculture and wrestling.

“I always liked being outside,” said Hatzipavlides, 19, who worked on corn, soybean and cattle farms near his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania, which is located an hour west of Philadelphia.

Hatzipavlides also liked being in the gym from the time he started wrestling in third grade. “Wrestling has definitely taught me perseverance, self-respect and teamwork,” said Hatzipavlides, who is a sophomore at Iowa State University (ISU), where he’s majoring in agronomy and also studying ag business. “The team culture is what interested me about MaxYield.”

Q: What inspired you to study agriculture in college?

A: I was always close to agriculture when I was growing up. My family did a lot of gardening, and my grandfather farmed. I like crop production and knew ISU has the best agronomy program around. When I visited the campus, I knew this was the place to be.

Q: What have you enjoyed about your MaxYield soil sampling/crop scouting internship?

A: When I talked to the advisors at ISU’s College of Agriculture, they said MaxYield is a great place for an internship. They were right. What struck me right away about Iowa is that the farms here are so much bigger than at home. This year’s MaxYield soil sampling interns had 42,000 acres of corn to soil sample. I’ve also sampled alfalfa fields.

Sometimes when I’m grid sampling, the growers will stop by and talk to me. It’s always great to meet them. I like to ask them questions, including what kind of weed management program they’re using. I’ve also spent time at some of MaxYield’s chemical facilities to find out more about specific herbicides and how they work. It’s great to have this hands-on learning.

Q: How have you benefited by having Justin Zwiefel as your mentor at MaxYield?

A: Justin is always open to all the questions I ask and has helped me with weed identification. He’s very professional, easy going, clear and to the point.

I’ve also gotten to see how Justin interacts with clients. He and the other MaxYield team members really care about doing things right. They are also very nice, willing to help and take the initiative to help guide me.

Q: What are your career goals after graduation?

A:  I want to have an agronomy-related job where I can work in the field and in the office, too. I’m willing to go where my career takes me, although corn and soybean production interests me the most. I want to thank everyone at MaxYield for the opportunity to intern here and for treating  all of the interns so well. It’s an honor to represent MaxYield.

Editor’s note: Hatzipavlides serves as treasurer of the ISU Wrestling Club and is also a member of ISU’s Soil and Water Conservation Club. In his free time, he exercises and follows an extensive training regimen that includes endurance weight training, sprints and long-distance running—up to an hour and a half at a time. Hatzipavlides also enjoys deer hunting, fishing and spending time with his family.

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