University of Kentucky College of Agriculture
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Alumni-Careers

 

Careers - Research

Jennifer Ralston, Product Management Lead

photo of Jennifer Ralston“I consider both of my advisors at UK to be close personal friends.  I was actually accepted to graduate school at several other universities, but chose to attend UK after visiting the school and meeting my future advisors. After that meeting, I knew that it would be a great environment for learning and personal development.”

Degrees

  • 1990 - B.S. Plant Science, University of Callifornia, Davis
  • 1996 - M.S. in Crop Science, University of Kentucky
  • 2001- Ph.D. in Crop Science, University of Kentucky

Position

As the Oilseeds Product Management Lead for the Monsanto Company, I lead a team of people that are responsible for the U.S. business strategy for soybean, canola, sugar beets and alfalfa. This includes: creating the long range plan for income and profitability for each crop, setting the annual pricing for traits and germplasm, and developing the go-to-market strategies for future traits and other product offerings within the category.

Preparation at UK

My studies at UK did an excellent job of preparing me for a career in the agricultural industry. In fact, I have utilized my technical graduate school training more in the last few years, than I ever imagined I would. As a graduate student, I had many opportunities to develop my communication skills through teaching, presenting at field days, scientific meetings and departmental seminars. The ability to communicate with diverse audiences, whether it is farmers, the scientific community, board members or investors has been a necessary asset in my work. In addition to the coursework and speaking opportunities, my research program at UK involved considerable field research and interaction with farmers and industry representatives, giving me a background that was technical, yet very applied. This broad diversity of experience has been critical to my career success.

Jennifer worked with Dr. William Witt and Dr. Michael Barrett while completing her two degrees at UK. I consider both of my advisors at UK to be close personal friends.  I was actually accepted to graduate school at several other universities, but chose to attend UK after visiting the school and meeting my future advisors. After that meeting, I knew that it would be a great environment for learning and personal development. They were both very interested in my individual success and provided invaluable advice on educational and career opportunities

Best Experiences

In addition to the learning, my best experiences at UK involved the relationships created with the fellow students and faculty. I continue to interact with many of them as colleagues at Monsanto, professionals in the industry and academia and as personal friends. It was a great environment to learn, work and develop friendships to last a lifetime.

Supplementary Information

Awards
2008 - YWCA of St. Louis, Monsanto Leader in the Workplace