My Ideas on the Project

My major is Law and Society, and although on the surface this project has very little to do with my major, its applications certainly do.  Law and politics play very crucial roles in regard to the issue of hunger and sustainability.  Throughout the past two semesters I have come to realize that hunger is not just a personal issue; its roots stretch all the way to government policies.  This project is important to me because even though most people are aware that hunger is a major issue on a global scale, many people don’t recognize its impact at the local level.

Joe Koncel

Hi, my name is Joe Koncel and I am majoring in computer science.  I am from Lake Zurich, IL, a suburb of Chicago.  As with most of the group, I have little to no experience growing soybeans.  Closer to no, but this is the time to learn.  As a computer science major, the majority of my classwork involves math or computers, so it is exciting to get to work on a project involving art, woodworking, and agriculture, all fields I would have been unlikely to encounter without this class.  The most rewarding aspect for me, though, is that this project can raise awareness about hunger.  After learning about food insecurity last semester, I am glad we can accomplish something that will energize others about this issue.

Jessica Chang


Hi everyone! My name is Jessica Chang and I am a freshman studying pre-pharmacy. I grew up in Taipei, a big city in Taiwan. Although soy products often appeared on my family’s dinner table (various kinds of tofu, soymilk, soy sauce, tofu pudding…), it wasn’t until my family moved to Indiana that I saw a soybean field for the first time! Indiana is also the place I developed hobbies that relate to art and nature. I love to listen to trees rustle, take photographs of autumn foliage, and write poems about spring flowers. This is why the botanical and artistic aspects of National Security Garden really appeal to me.

My favorite part of the seminar last semester was the interdisciplinary approach we took. After I listened to professionals speak about hunger from eight different perspectives, I realized that world hunger is a scientific issue as much as it is a social or political issue. Discussing with classmates who shared brilliant ideas and stories motivated me to think of creative but concrete ways to solve the problem. Not only does National Security Garden fit both of those criteria, it will also be a wonderful way to share this awareness with the community, to encourage more people to think of even more ideas. I look forward to participating in this effort.

Sarah Garst


Hey Everybody! I’m Sarah Garst and I am a freshman in Animal Science. I hope to eventually become a large animal veterinarian. I grew up on a farm about 45 minutes south of Lafayette. I took care of all of our animals and also helped with the hay, corn and Soybeans. I hope to be able to share some of my knowledge that I have gained from living on the farm with this project. Hunger is an interesting topic to me and I enjoyed learning about the different aspects of it last semester. I am excited to be a part of this class and help out with our project.

William Van Buskirk

William Van Buskirk

Hello everyone!

My name is William Van Buskirk, and I’m a freshman in engineering and currently planning on majoring in Mechanical Engineering.  I am really excited to be part of this interdisciplinary team to make a difference on the issue of hunger.  I enjoyed the lecture series from last semester regarding the topic of hunger, and from this, I want to bring a practical application to the lessons I learned.  The lectures showed me the incredible extent of how solving the problem of hunger crosses all disciplines.  I am eager to contribute to the project and create awareness for a problem that requires everyone’s attention.

Despite the fact that my grandparents are farmers, I don’t know too much about soybeans or agriculture in general.  However, the way I see it is that we’re not only creating a garden, but we’re also making a lasting impression. I am really excited to delve into the unknown and learn new skills, ponder innovative ideas, and truly make an impact on the community.


Lindsay Harris

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My name is Lindsay Harris and I’m a freshman here at Purdue University. I am studying Prepharmacy and have a busy schedule, but I am so excited that I had time this semester to be a part of the Honors Seminar class. As I’m used to huge science lecture classes, I’m really enjoying this small discussion based class in which we can work together to make a difference through this project.

I don’t have much experience with farming or soybeans although I am very accustomed to seeing fields of corn or soybean crops when driving around at home. College has proved to be full of learning experiences and opportunities to grow and share newfound knowledge. This project provides a perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the issue of hunger faced by our world. I’m grateful to have a chance to be a part of this project and am looking forward to working with everyone in the hope of making an impact on those here at Purdue and in the surrounding community.

Amber Furrer


Hello! I am Amber Furrer- one of your mentors.  I am a senior in Food Science, which means I’m graduating in May. Wild. I know everyone says this, but enjoy every minute of college (even the classes) because it goes so fast.  I am hoping to go to graduate school next fall to get a Masters in Food Science with a concentration in “foods for health”.  I have yet to figure out what exactly I will do when I get my masters, but I know I want to use my knowledge and passion for food to benefit the lives of others.  This class and others like it give an excellent glimpse of the kinds of bigger opportunities that are out there for all of us if we choose to pursue them.

I’m excited to be a part of this project with all of you and discover what impact we can make on Purdue (and the world- you just never know who you’re affecting).  I don’t pretend to be an expert in anything, but I’m here if you need any assistance or advice.  And that goes for anything, not just the project.  I look forward to getting to know you all better!

email (if you need it for any reason):

Happy Groundhog Day (:



Delaney Garrett

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Hey everyone!  My name is Delaney Garrett and I am currently a freshman in the College of Liberal Arts here at Purdue.  I’m a law and society major and I’m also pursuing minors in forensic science, psychology, and communications.  Last semester the hunger seminar really inspired me to take action; week after week we learned about all the different issues surrounding global hunger, and this semester we have the opportunity to do something about it.

I’m from southeast Michigan, and the only farms I ever come across are small-scale apple orchards and strawberry fields.  It’s safe to say that I know next to nothing about soybeans, and agriculture in general, but I can’t wait to get started on this project.


Robyn Wilson

R, X and W

My name is Robyn Wilson and I am a freshman here at Purdue University. I started in the Undergraduate Studies Program and have explored majors from architectural engineering to movement and sports sciences. I am finally this semester settling in on biology and I plan to switch into that major this coming fall! I actually grew up in West Lafayette, so I have seen many soybeans and there will be no surprise to me to see a couple more!
Even though I grew up in a neighborhood across from a corn field, I don’t have an immense amount of expertise in agriculture. That being said, learning is what we’re in college to do, so I’m excited to get started! I have worked in team settings many times, from being the coordinator to just a collaborator. If I have learned anything from spending time with my two nephews, it is to love and nurture the young, to not be afraid of dirt, and, of course, be ready for the unexpected. Young boys may not be synonymous with soybeans but I would love to make a difference in any small way I can in this world, and sprouting soybeans seems to be the place to start!

Jien Nee Tai









Hello, NSG @ Purdue! I’m Jien Nee (pronounced kind of like ‘Jenny’, but not really, but close enough), a freshman in Chemistry. I grew up in Singapore where the only agriculture is small-scale high-tech farming, so you can imagine my shock (and just a bit of horror) upon coming to the corn state of Indiana. However, this past semester of learning about the local and global food crises has opened my eyes to the huge issues surrounding food, agriculture, and hunger. This semester, through NSG, I am so excited to be able to take concrete action with regard to these issues.

I have to admit, I don’t know much at all about agriculture, farming, art, construction, or aesthetics. I’m not sure I even fully understand the whole workings of this project yet. But that’s the fun in undertaking a project such as this – you laugh at how much you don’t know, learn new things completely unrelated to your field, do things you never thought you would have the chance to do, meet people you would never have met otherwise, and ultimately hope to share this newfound knowledge with others.