How I Found my Family and Actual Family at Bayer
By Jillian Millikin, Production Associate, Bayer Crop Science
Growing up in the St. Louis area Bayer/Monsanto had a big presence in the area. I knew people who worked with the company who always talked about how they loved it. So, when a family friend encouraged me to pursue a career in agriculture, I had my heart set on working for Bayer. I was already very active in showing draft horses which made me believe animal science would be my best fit. But that changed when I became the Missouri Mule and Draft horse queen. This experience introduced me to the American farmer by joining in events such as the Missouri State fair.
After that, I quickly found a passion for farmers and helping tell their stories to non-agricultural communities. This led me to attend the University of Missouri to pursue an Agricultural degree. While at “Mizzou” I learned about all the internships at the fall career fair. When looking to the companies that would be at the fair, I was instantly excited when I saw Bayer Crop Science. I then set a goal my sophomore year of school to get an internship with Bayer no matter where I had to go or what they needed to me do. I wanted to experience all the great things I had heard about the company for myself.
When career fair day arrived, I felt excited, ready and nervous all at once. When I walked into the fair, I quickly scouted out the Bayer booth and then ran to the other side of the gym because I was so nervous. I didn’t know what I was going to even say. Then I recalled a professor’s advice to practice my pitch to other booths before going to the company I was most interested in. This worked well and gave me time to relax before I made my way over to the Bayer booth. I walked up to the first person I saw at the Bayer table and confidently introduced myself. Next thing I know, I am getting an interview followed by an offer for my first internship with the company in Williamsburg, IA. I was ecstatic! I had no idea where Williamsburg was nor had I ever been to Iowa before, but I had an internship with Bayer!
In Williamsburg I worked with the pre-foundation team, leading crews for tissue sampling, and hand pollinations. Pre-foundation is a branch of the product supply chain within Bayer that is responsible for supporting the development and advancement of new corn in-breds through the product pipeline. One Saturday I volunteered to help with planting. Apparently, it was clear I was the excited intern because of the hundreds of pictures I was taking to capture this experience. The seed tech sitting on my left named Adam casually asked if I would send him some of the pictures I was taking. I didn’t think anything of it and shared my many photos.
Then as time passed Adam and I started to chit-chat after work sharing about our backgrounds, finding we had a lot of similar interests. He later introduced me to some of his friends and we started hanging out at the lake on the weekend. This helped blossom our relationship into dating long distance after my time in Williamsburg ended and I finished college. Then the summer before my second internship with the company Adam proposed. Today we are newlyweds who both work for Bayer. I am a Production Associate in Grinnell, IA and Adam is an ASR in Williamsburg.
It’s crazy that by working hard, I was able to accomplish my goal of working at Bayer and gained an amazing husband along the way. Often you hear Bayer is like a family, but to me that statement is even more true. The team I work with is like a family and I found my actual family with Adam through Bayer.