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Amy Gwinn
I really liked my agricultural finance classes, and at first that was my career goal.

Profile: Amy Gwinn

Global Business Leader; Canola, Sunflowers and Healthy Oils; Dow AgroSciences

“I grew up the child of a dad who was a farmer and a mother in textile design,” Amy Gwinn, an agricultural finance graduate, says. “I was either going to be a fashion designer or a farmer when I grew up. At one point I was asked what I wanted to be, and I said a farmer—and that’s what I picked.”

Now a global business leader for canola, sunflowers and healthy oils with Dow AgroSciences, Amy loves the people she works with and the opportunity to be involved with the business side of agriculture.

During her years at the University of Illinois, Amy had a love for numbers, finance, and business.

“I really liked my agricultural finance classes, and at first that was my career goal,” Amy says. “But I also took a couple of commerce classes, which gave me a perspective on corporate finance. Together, the two blended very well with my agricultural background and gave me a strong foundation for the job I’m in today.”

Amy says that it also helped to have her professors push her to reach outside her comfort zone.

“They challenged me to think above and beyond,” Amy says. “I have to admit, when I thought I was going to get an ag finance degree, I was planning to go back and work for a local bank and be a farm loan officer. But my professors continued to challenge me and say, ‘There’s still a lot more you could do and be in agriculture.’ I really give them a lot of credit—they helped expand this farm girl’s perspective and spurred me to achieve much more than I could even comprehend when I graduated from high school.”

Asked what she thinks sets U of I apart, Amy cites a wholistic perspective on agriculture and unparalleled academics.

“I think in my mind what sets U of I apart from other academic institutions, first, is the focus on agriculture,” Amy says. “It’s one of the best ag campuses I’ve ever been on globally. Second, I think at least from my vantage point, is the level of instruction. At so many institutions, when you think of ag, you think of production ag—which is a very important component, but U of I covers not only production, but corporate aspects. We don’t just do farm ag, we do corporate ag. Illinois treats agriculture as a business, and I think that is kind of what sets us apart, as well as the science and technology that go along with it.”