Dr. Scott Haley joined Colorado State University in 1999 as the project leader of the Wheat Breeding and Genetics Program.
In the 22 years that Dr. Haley has been breeding wheat at CSU, he has created multiple new varieties of wheat with better disease and insect resistance, milling and baking quality, drought tolerance, and adaptability.
Throughout his tenure at CSU, Dr. Haley has mentored countless undergraduate and graduate students and has been a long-standing advocate for professional development in the agricultural industry.
Dr. Haley’s former graduate students have gone on to do amazing things in the realm of plant breeding. One of his former students is the current head of barley breeding research at Busch Agriculture and another is the North America manager of wheat breeding at Bayer Crop Science.
In addition to CSU-based graduate training, Dr. Haley has also been involved in training at the international level. He served as a US Peace Corps volunteer in the 1980s, where he worked in training mid-level researchers in basic agricultural research procedures.
For the last several years, Dr. Haley has served as a board member of the Borlaug Training Foundation. In this capacity, he has had several opportunities to travel to the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) in Mexico to participate in training with the basic wheat improvement course in Ciudad, Obregón.
“That has been tremendously eye-opening to me, to get to know the trainees, to learn about the impediments to training that they experience in their own countries and the hunger that they display to try to better themselves and their situation.” Dr. Haley said.
Two trainees Dr. Haley met at CIMMYT, one from Afghanistan and the other from Ethiopia, contacted him expressing interest in graduate studies at CSU. Dr. Haley was able to find funds to bring them to work in the wheat breeding program at CSU.
“They have been amazing students and I think I have learned more from them than they have learned from me.”
“To have the ability to mentor somebody is extremely important for me because mentors were such a big part of my success. Then to have those people come back and tell me how important my mentorship was to them; it’s been pretty cool!”
Whether Dr. Haley is inviting students to the table or the field, there’s always an open spot for enthusiastic individuals.
“Mentorship is what we’re obliged to do. To have the privilege that we do working as university professors – it’s a tremendous responsibility. If you don’t look at it like that, then maybe you need to find a different job.”