WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — If there’s anyone who wants to make a
difference in the lives of others, it’s Quinton Nannet.
Nannet, a sophomore from New Richmond, is a hardworking
student studying biochemistry at Purdue University. His involvement with the
College of Agriculture, research and grades earned him the title of this year’s
College of Agriculture Outstanding Sophomore.
He shared his Purdue experience, including plans for the
future and his drive to help others, with AgriNews:
Q: Why did you want to go to
A: At first, it was pretty hard. I had it narrowed down to
eight universities. I had always wanted to get out of the state, so most were in
California, Colorado, Florida, one in Texas and one in Tennessee. I wanted to
get out of my comfort zone.
But then when I realized I wanted to go to med school,
in-state tuition caught my eye, being able to graduate without a lot of debt. I
didn’t realize the College of Agriculture had such a strong science department.
My family had always been involved with Purdue Ag, and I had
wanted to break the trend and go somewhere else. But during tours in the
Department of Agriculture, I realized this university in my backyard was making
a big difference in the world.
Q: How has it been so far?
A: It’s been great. Adjusting first semester went pretty
well. Second semester, I really started to get involved on campus. I started a
Med Life chapter here, which stands for medicine education development for
low-income families everywhere.
That focuses on mobile clinics in South America, India and
Africa. It gets new students involved in global aid. That’s what I’m passionate
about. I want to do a lot with international medicine in developing
Q: What other activities are you
A: I got involved with Purdue Student Government. Sophomore
year, I joined a fraternity, and I’m the social chair. I’m a supervisor for
Boiler Gold Rush. I’m an Ag Ambassador also. With that I talk about how
agriculture encompasses everything. I’ll talk with perspective students,
returning alumni and industry representatives as well.
Q: Have you studied abroad?
A: Last summer, I spent five weeks in Venezuela on a mission
trip. This summer, I’ll go to Dominican Republic with a study-abroad program
about public health and Spanish.
Q: Have you participated in
A: I currently do research in Dr. Ogas’s lab. It’s
epigenetics — which means “on top of the genome.” It’s the study of what changes
phenotypes without altering genotypes. Learning what turns genes on or off.
Currently, we’re looking at specific genes present in
plants. Plants don’t get cancer, but the symptoms are as close to cancer as you
can imagine. I’m looking to see what interacts with that gene. What genes, when
they’re absent, make the plants sicker?
Q: What do you do for fun?
A: Boiler Gold Rush is a lot of fun and takes a lot of time.
I like to hang out with the other supervisors. Our fraternity has a lot of
philanthropies, and hanging out with my brothers there is fun.
Interacting with people — at all the events and with ag
ambassadors — that’s some of the most fun I have. It’s a good fit for me at the
College of Agriculture, at a university and college based on relationships. It’s
seen by faculty and students on a daily basis.
Q: What do you want to do after
A: I plan to go to medical school. I don’t know what I want
to specialize in yet. I think emergency room medicine or infectious disease are
more interesting to me. I’d like to work in the U.S. and travel to developing
countries where inadequate healthcare situations are present.
One of my main goals involves public health — implementing
agriculture in those areas. In places that suffer from epidemics, the leading
issue is now nutrition. As a doctor with a background in agriculture, I can
hopefully attack diseases and issues from both angles — better ag techniques, as
well as combating infections directly.
Q: Are you excited to be named
Outstanding Sophomore in the College of Ag?
A: I consider it a huge privilege. To be recognized for the
things I do means a lot, especially when you consider how many great students go
to this university and the College of Agriculture. It means a lot.