While a college career in agriculture isn’t in the cards for Ballard High School senior Ellie Twedt, her choice to major in pre-pharmacy sparked from her time working in ag.

Twedt, whose family owns a farm near Elkhart, said she had always been interested in chemistry, but she hadn’t thought about pharmacy as a career until working at the Slater Animal Hospital.

“I always thought it was interesting kind of seeing what the vet was prescribing, and seeing for what purpose that served, and listen to her explain it to clients,” Twedt said. “I thought it was kind of fun to try to guess what she was going to prescribe based off of the symptoms of the animal.”

Twedt has supplemented her agriculture experience from the farm with 4-H and FFA, participating and competing in events that she said she otherwise wouldn’t have tried.

“FFA and 4-H have kind of helped me develop my love for agriculture,” she said, adding that she only started showing pigs through the organizations in 8th grade. “So it’s kind of encouraged me to step outside of the comfort zone in that area.”

The lifelong Ballard student is also involved in cross country, track and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Twedt said those activities, specifically cross country, helped her build teamwork and valuable life skills.

“(Cross country” definitely built up my leadership skills, helping you work better as a team and (it) just kind of helped with, like, the positivity aspect because running is no fun if you’re not having fun while you’re doing it,” Twedt said.

After getting a degree in pharmacy from the University of Iowa, Twedt hopes to return to the Huxley area and would like to work as a pharmacist for a hospital. She said she enjoys helping people learn about both of her primary interests—agriculture and medicine.

“I like being around people and helping them, educating them, whether that’s with their pharmaceutical prescriptions or ag,” Twedt said. “Teaching (people) about their food is something I’m also passionate about.”

Looking back on her experience at Ballard from kindergarten to senior year, Twedt said the memories were too many to count. Her last year, she said, has been all about reminiscing with friends and classmates about their last 13 years in the Ballard school system.

“It’s kind of fun, looking back,” she said. “When you’re talking with your classmates, especially senior year when you’re just kind of thinking back to, ‘hey, remember back in elementary school when we’d do this on the playground,’ and just some things like that was just kind of fun.”

For Twedt, going through high school at Ballard helped her grow into the person she is today, helping her build leadership skills and develop an independent personality to prepare her for life after graduation.

She encouraged freshmen at Ballard to embrace the changes that come along, and to enjoy the time they have before senior year comes around.

“Don’t be afraid to try something new. Put yourself out there,” Twedt said. “Don’t wish your life away because it goes fast.”