‘Agriculture is our foundation:’ Graduate student Anna Kobza thankful for CASNR education
Anna Kobza spent her summers growing up taking care of horses and cattle in David City, Nebraska.
Kobza’s interest in agriculture was a departure from the norm in her family. They didn’t own farmland or livestock and her parents and siblings had mostly pursued careers in health care. Even so, Kobza was drawn to the field from a young age.
Kobza’s interest in agriculture flourished thanks to her participation in 4-H as a high school student. With each summer she spent caring for the cattle that had been loaned to her by a family friend, Kobza fell more in love with the field.
“I showed cattle throughout my high school career, and that’s what really sparked my interest in the beef industry and in pursuing a career in agriculture,” Kobza said. “It just really solidified that that was the industry I wanted to be in.”
Kobza has seen that dream come to fruition thanks to the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She is currently pursuing her doctorate degree in animal science and works as a graduate research assistant for the college.
As the first in her family to pursue a profession in agriculture, Kobza was eager to learn as much as possible when she began her undergraduate career at UNL. That passion only grew the more involved she became within the college.
“I just remember being really excited that I could finally learn about all the things that I wanted to learn about, but didn’t have access to in the past,” she said. “As I got further into my undergraduate career, I met so many friends and like-minded people that cared about the things I cared about and enjoyed the same things I did.”
The hunger to learn that Kobza experienced as a freshman has only grown during her studies as a graduate student. She pointed to the engaging research her department conducts, such as feedlot and digestibility studies, which puts her in the field daily.
“They’re very intensive, and so the day-to-day can look very different depending on the season,” Kobza said. “We definitely get the opportunity to be very hands on, which I would say is different than some other graduate programs.”
Kobza hopes to use her degree to become a feedlot nutritionist, giving her the opportunity to work directly with cattle feeders. Eventually, she hopes to manage her fiancé’s family’s ranch in western Nebraska.
CASNR has provided Kobza with the resources to fulfill her goals of pursuing a career in agriculture. The spark that was ignited inside Kobza as a teenager raising cattle in David City has only grown thanks to the support of the college’s community.
“Having professors that were willing to interact with students was so beneficial to me,” Kobza said. “It felt easy picking back up where I left off as an undergraduate student because I felt so comfortable with my advisers and the rest of the faculty and staff.”
The support Kobza has experienced as a student also spreads to the college’s generous donors. She pointed to scholarships she received from the college as an undergraduate student as an example of how impactful supporting the school can be.
“One of the biggest things I would like to say is thank you for continuing to invest in CASNR,” she said. “This is a land-grant university and agriculture is our foundation, so helping ensure our futures in agriculture continue to exist is really important to us and helping us afford our education is not something we take for granted.”