Kyle Richards

I grew up in a rural community in southern New Jersey. I graduated from Eastern University in 2011 with a BS in Biological Sciences, and a minor in Environmental Studies. During my summers home from college I worked at a local agricultural airport. We serviced local farmers maintain their crops with aerial applications of various pesticides, assisted the state of New Jersey’s mosquito and gypsy moth programs, and aided in sand dune restoration. Upon graduating from college, I was fortunate enough to be hired by DuPont Pioneer in their trait discovery program. I was responsible for screening for Lepidopteran efficacy against traits in soybeans. A year and a half later, I transitioned to a position with DuPont Crop Protection in their Seed Treatment Enterprise. In my current role, I support current commercial products, design and implement discovery assays screening for key target pests with new chemistry, and conduct seed safety. Due to the recent merger between DOW and DuPont, I am in the process of relocating from Wilmington, Delaware to Indianapolis, Indiana.

Obtaining a degree from the University of Florida has always been a dream of mine. I have always felt a connection with the University, dating back to watching football games on television as a young boy. The academics at the University of Florida are exceptional, and achieving my MS will help my career trajectory along with fulfilling a personal desire. I was attracted to the MS in Agroecology due to the well rounded curriculum focusing on crop systems, and the abiotic and biotic interactions within the systems. Understanding the physiology of crops will help provide insight in my current role as I look with the interactions between seeds, insects, environment, and chemistry.

My experience has been phenomenal. Working through the distance education program allows me the flexibility to work in my current role during normal business hours, and complete coursework at night. All of my professors have been very engaging throughout the semesters, and provide clarity on certain material if needed. Sometimes it can be a challenge to juggle having a full time job and taking coursework; but it is also a great lesson in time management and prioritization. My current non-thesis project centers around seed treatments and their beneficial role in crop protection.

Once I graduate (Spring 2019) from UF, I hope to transition from my position in discovery biology to a field representative biologist responsible for performing field trials of commercialized or soon to be commercialized products. I also have interest in agricultural/environmental management and policy moving from the private to federal sector.