We asked several CAHNRS Ambassadors, excellent students who love WSU and their college, to name their favorite professors. And now we’re featuring those nominated educators in this weekly series.
Today we’re showcasing Amit Dhingra, associate professor in the Department of Horticulture. Here are his answers to a few questions:
How did you pick this as a career?
Both of my parents were medical doctors in India and I was supposed to become one too. In defiance of the laws of social inheritance, I fell in love with plants in the 8th grade when I first learned about photosynthesis – the reason life exists on this planet. This was the ’80s, when there were food shortages in India and in several other countries. Rather than solving health issues, solving the food shortage seemed to be a bigger challenge. I am grateful for all the right opportunities that came along that led to a research and teaching career at WSU, a land grant university. I get to pursue my passion with my lab group members and address the issue of food shortage, which is now an even bigger challenge as we aim to support a burgeoning population. I particularly treasure the opportunity to work with undergraduate students in the lab and share the latest developments in the field of plant physiology, genomics and biotechnology with a new group of undergraduate and graduate students every year in the class room in two of the classes that I get to teach.
What is your favorite thing about teaching college students?
College students are the immediate future of our nation and each one of them has the potential to solve global problems we face today. I like to share with them the various issues faced by our discipline and how the knowledge they are learning can empower them to excel at their future jobs or advance the scientific field or counter the scientific ignorance rampant today.
Why do you love what you do?
My personal passion is ‘service unto others’ and research, teaching and outreach are a conduit of contributing meaningfully to the society. The concept of service aligns very well with the Land Grant mission. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be able to be a part of these activities. Each day I get to follow my passion and the love part happens naturally.
If you could provide any tips or advice for your students, or WSU students in general, what would they be?
You are the immediate future and the world is getting more complex. Focus on excellence in everything and anything you do and success will follow sooner or later.
Any other words of wisdom you’d like to pass along?
A college education is way more than just grades. Think big, have fun and always remain a student.
“Once you stop learning, you start dying” ~ Albert Einstein