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Cornell University

Dylan Rodgers

Meet Dylan Rodgers

Hometown: Boulder, Colorado
College: Agriculture and Life Sciences
Major: Environmental Sustainability
Year: 2023

“Just stay curious.” This was the suggestion that Rawlings Senior Dylan Rodgers gave when he was asked what students should do during their time at Cornell. Dylan (CALS, Environmental Sustainability) was selected into RCPRS as a rising junior for the 21-22 academic year. Dylan’s research has a focus on food security testing methods in aquaponics, which combines aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (soil-less plant cultivation). Despite being a Rawlings Scholar for a short time, Dylan has made sure to capitalize on all the benefits the program has to offer. The Rawlings research support account (RSA) helped to fund his summer experience in Nepal where he participated in an internship with a non-profit organization, volunteered at farms, and taught at a school in Nepal. The outcome of Dylan’s experience has inspired him to start his own organic farm one day and to possibly return to Nepal to continue his research.   Outside of undergraduate research, Dylan is the Collaboration and Education Coordinator for Anabel’s Grocery, a small student run non-profit grocery store on campus.  In addition, Dylan is a pole vaulter (and captain) on the track team and teaches rock climbing classes for Cornell Outdoor Education.

Dylan grew up in Colorado, and his decision to come to Cornell was mainly due to the university’s environmental and sustainability program, and offerings in Nepalese coursework. He shared that he was drawn to being a part of a larger research institution, as well as appreciating Cornell’s scenic campus. Initially, agriculture wasn’t an area he was interested in, but he knew it would provide him with opportunities. "A freshman class in sustainable agriculture changed my whole entire path at Cornell. I grew up in the mountains, so it was amazing to come to upstate New York and see how much agricultural diversity and heritage there is. Visiting farms in the area sparked my interest in agriculture and food as my niche in sustainability." He further added that the experience has motivated him to find ways to effect change within the scope of food and agriculture beyond just the act of studying the subjects.

Like other Cornell students, Dylan shares that it’s easy to get “pigeonholed” into a little corner of Cornell due to studying and focusing on academic demands. He stresses the importance of reaching out and making connections, making friends and to not just stay in the books. He also believes in the value of learning beyond the academics by simply getting outside or getting involved in community service. Dylan acknowledges that Cornell students have to balance a lot of responsibilities and that it’s easy to feel the stress of the demands. His advice when things feel overwhelming is to take a deep breath, take care of your health, and to remember that it’s not a competition, there is a community of support available. “I'm very grateful for Cornell and for the Rawlings program. It's a special place that has incredible opportunities and I can't think of a better place for myself to be than here.”