"Don't rush through college!" An interview and advice from Dr. Joleen Hadrich
Dr. Joleen Hadrich was born and raised in Minnesota, she obtained her B.A. at UMN Morris and her M.S. and Ph.D. at Michigan State University. Currently, Dr. Hadrich is an extension professor and teaches seminars to farmers rather than lectures to undergrad students.
Why University? And why the U? For Dr. Hadrich coming to work at the U was like coming home. It made perfect sense and allowed her to return to where her passion started originally. After she finished school, she worked outside of the Midwest and had to learn an entirely different farming model. She spent time in North Dakota learning about cropping systems and Colorado working with a dairy industry that had to overcome water constraint limitations. Western dairy farms are larger and operate 24 hours a day while Midwest dairy farms tend to be smaller and only milk 4 hours a day. These experiences allowed her to appreciate both dairy models-each have their own benefits and it is up to the producer to decide which model works best for them.
Current projects/research: Her research focuses on agricultural finance and production economics with an emphasis on farm-level profitability. Recent research has examined changes in wealth and income variation on U.S. dairy farms across time and applying human health concepts to dairy cows to determine the economic cost of common animal diseases at a farm-level.
Advice for ApEc students:
“Get to know your professors, that’s how you get research projects and internships past just the experiences you can apply for on your own.”
“Don’t rush through college!” On this piece of advice, she delved further by also saying that once you graduate college a major safety net is taken away and you work for the next 40-some odd years. Enjoy the “relaxing” times while you still can.
Never start a question with “I might be wrong, but…” it gives the wrong impression and sets you up to have a habit of negative thinking.
What do you like to do in your free time? Baking (cut out sugar cookies) like traditional Christmas cookies but for everything. Dr. Hadrich has even been asked to make her famous cookies for weddings, birthday parties, and baby showers within her family.
What is your passion that has driven you to who you are today? “My desire to learn” mixed with growing up on a farm in central Minnesota taught her that you’re not done until the job is done. With this mindset, she believes that in life you will encounter obstacles and it is about learning how to build a bridge to get over them while simultaneously being a life-long learner.
What is something you wish you would have known as an undergrad? “I wish I would have known that I wouldn’t even remember my GPA. There is more to learning than memorizing.”
Dr. Hadrich strongly believes that concepts should be about learning, not memorizing.
What is something you wish your students knew? Embrace being more open-minded, just one industry isn’t the only thing that matters (not just dairy, not just corn, it's about the system…).
What do you see yourself doing in the next 5, 10, 15 years? The University of Minnesota is her dream job. In the next 5-15 years, she wants to make the U the go-to farm management extension program for MN and the nation. She would also love to make the U the focal point for farm management information within the industry.
What is one myth you think undergrads have about professors that you believe is false? That all we do is teach and get ready to teach.
What do you think is the most important part of education? Taking the time to learn and understand the material, college is more about learning how to learn than the exact thing that you are learning. Pay attention to how a concept is taught and why it is being taught that way. Try to understand the presentation of information and how it relates to what the goals of the class are. Don’t just memorize lists at face value, make learning an experience and care about what you are listening to.