When Lillian Magidow first visited the agriculture department at the University of Minnesota, it felt like home.
“I love food, plants and the practicality of [agricultural research], of finding solutions for growers,” Lillian says. “I think that’s really what appealed to me.”
Lillian earned an undergraduate degree in applied plant science at the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree in soil and crop sciences, weed science and management at Cornell University. Afterwards she started working at WinField United’s Innovation Center, which she has called her “work home” for the last 12 years.
Lillian has held a variety of positions during her tenure at the Innovation Center, from running the wind tunnel and spray analysis program to partnering with marketing on commercializing products. One project she has recently pursued is about using agronomic knowledge to add value to food, feed, fiber and fuel across the value chain. Another recent project she has worked on falls within the product category around the emerging biologicals market, running a biological testing platform where she can put products side by side and assess how they are working and where they work best. Lillian says that one of the core strengths of WinField United is using its Answer Plot® network to understand the best placement of products and whole-acre management.
Lillian encourages young people who are pursuing careers in STEM and agriculture to take advantage of internships and on-campus work opportunities in research. She also recommends getting involved in different projects and being exposed to different perspectives.
“I found that I was really interested in the commercial side of a product development,” she says, “and I think that's made me better at what I do rather than focusing only on the technical.” In fact, this month she moved to a new role as marketing director for retail services, giving her the opportunity to innovate in services rather than products, and further develop her commercial skillset.
She also encourages folks to learn from the people around them as much as they can.
“Don't feel like you have to solve every problem by yourself. I think one of the cool things about working in the [agriculture research] industry,” she says. “You’re going to be working as part of a team and you all bring different things to the table. Make sure to use those opportunities to learn from folks.”