Go behind the scenes with science and plants to discover gene development, cellular functions, plant growth, and plant interactions in the environment.
Questions about this concentration can be directed to
Dr. Fred Kolb
Undergraduate Teaching Coordinator
AE-120 B Turner Hall
General Job Description: Sydney manages efficient seeds product delivery programs and projects for North American Corn in Syngenta. Her responsibilities in a given week can range from writing a business case for new technology for their breeding pipeline, working on project teams to deliver new enterprise solutions to the company, managing marker implementation projects, to developing compelling stories that link the technology used to growers in the field.
Sydney Jarrett Williams, a North America corn project and technololgy lead for Syngenta enjoys interacting with a wide swath of the company, learning about cutting edge science and what growers want, helping turn the dream of scientists and customers into a reality and clearing obstacles to innovation.
“I have a very broad set of stakeholders, from proof of concept researchers to field agronomists, which allows me to develop a global network,” Sydney says. “Even though I’m not a field or lab scientist anymore, I get to draw from my experiences in both environments to develop justifications to explore new avenues of innovation. Finally, I have the flexibility to explore projects that might not be part of my official job description, but are key strategic pillars and support the overall business goals.”
Sydney says that her College of ACES experience has positively impacted her career in multiple ways.
“My current job relies on skills and experiences I had at U of I in a multitide of ways,” she says.
First, supporting North American corn demands that I have a hands-on familiarity with Midwestern agriculture, a skill I learned not from my family’s farm, but through crop sciences courses that let you walk into the Morrow Plots, jobs with professors and researchers in the College of ACES, internships with major seed companies, and rubbing shoulders with farm kids, whose advice and insight is invaluble.”
When asked what sets U of I apart from other academic institutions, Sydney doesn’t hesitate to say the alumni network and Illini spirit.
“Every time I travel, I wear something orange and blue, and I get at least one ‘I-L-L.’ When the new president of Syngenta Seeds toured our building, he interrupted the guided walk through to come track down who had a U of I hat at their desk,” she says. “Alumni throughout the company, agriculture industry, and even ones you meet at Home Depot on a Saturday 800 miles away from campus are an instant ally.”