UK's Carrie Butts on Her Way to Bright Future in Ag

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 4, 2012) — A 4.0 grade point average and member of the Dean's List, service as a College of Agriculture Ambassador, a tutor in the Center for Academic and Tutorial Services — and that is just for starters when you talk about Carrie Butts, who will receive her bachelor's degree in Plant and Soil Sciences during Commencement ceremonies at the University of Kentucky on Sunday, May 6.

The Caldwell County native is the daughter of David and Dixie Butts, of Princeton.  While a student at Caldwell County High School, she was accepted into the Institute for Future Agricultural Leaders (IFAL), a summer program sponsored by Kentucky Farm Bureau.  This experience served to heighten her interest in the science of agriculture, and more specifically, to explore the fascinating world of plants and what makes them grow.

Described as a "superstar undergraduate" by many of her mentors and peers in the UK College of Agriculture, Butts said, "UK has provided a wealth of opportunities for me to  gain hands-on experience doing research in a variety of areas, including plant breeding and plant pathology. This experience really has helped me to define what I want to do in my career."

The next step for the outstanding senior in the UK Chapter of Gamma Sigma Delta, the honor society of agriculture, is the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she has accepted a fellowship in its plant-breeding program.  Carrie plans to pursue a Ph.D. in quantitative genetics.  Much of the pioneering research into the modes of inheritance of agricultural traits, such as those traits which impact crop yield, has been performed by agricultural geneticists.

"Last summer, I had the chance to work at Monsanto Company in Thomasboro, Illinois, as an intern working on corn trait integration. My eventual goal is to be able to conduct research and development activities at one of the major private seed companies."

Butts was quick to note the role UK's faculty members had in helping prepare her for such a career path.  "I am very fortunate to have been a student in the College of

Agriculture. My academic advisor, my major professors, and the faculty advisors for the extracurricular activities in which I was involved all played instrumental roles in my education."

When asked if she might someday like to return to the University of Kentucky to teach in the College of Agriculture, Butts replied, "That would be pretty neat, to have the chance to come full circle and help develop the next generation of agricultural scientists."

As the world's population continues to expand and the demand for high-quality food grows right along with it, bright young scholars like Carrie Butts will play a vital role in helping the essential field of agriculture to meet the challenge.


MEDIA CONTACT:  Carl Nathe, (859) 257-3200;