• YEAR: Senior
  • MAJOR: Agricultural Communication
  • HOMETOWN: Bargersville, Indiana

Abby Maurer

When it came time for this home-schooled young woman to choose a college and major, Abby headed into agricultural communication, joking that she was following her mother's wisdom: Everyone has to eat. In truth, she loves words and people and hopes to become a freelance writer, crafting articles on, well, food and people. Last summer, she attended an intensive writing course at the World Journalism Institute in New York City. "I believe stories change us," she says. With her passion, they no doubt will.

Life is a story

Paraphrasing British author G.K. Chesterton, Abby's philosophy is that life is a story and, if there is a story, there must be a storyteller. "I think journalism matters because it is important to tell the story that is happening right now," she says. "We don't know how the larger story is going to end, but the various plots involved in the story must be understood. Journalism is all about telling the smaller parts of the larger story."

Words that inspire

This aspiring writer knows what she likes: "writers who think critically and humbly while applying wisdom to their stories." Among those who have caught her eye and fancy are Jane Austen — "her brevity, wit and ability to look beyond the surface to the human condition always makes me laugh and/or provokes thought." Tim Keller — "his willingness to humbly wrestle with difficult questions of faith and religion in his books has shown me how to handle difficult issues in writing," Abby says. And, again, G.K. Chesterton — "he delivers his perspective on sociology and theology in a manner that uses language as a tool to communicate important issues."

On food and friendship

Abby has her own blog, "The Suburb Girl," She also contributes to others. Guest posting on a friend's blog, Abby extols the virtues of a good meal and good company:

18th-century French foodie Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin once wrote: "Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you who you are."
Our food isn't merely what we must consume to remain alive. What we eat commentates on our views of life and the world.
When I think of how I like to enjoy food, several instances come to mind. I think of October evenings when my family would sit down together, enjoy roasted chicken, red cabbage and sweet potatoes, and discuss our day. I think of the mornings, afternoons and evenings that I spend at the local coffee shop (where I'm also employed) drinking tea whilst studying. I think of Thursday nights at my apartment when my roommate and I make an inordinate amount of food and invite folks from our campus to join us.
Community. Quality. Beauty. Three things that I value. Three things that are expressed through my food.

"Some people feel alive when they are writing novels and others feel alive when they are working out a complex math problem," Abby says. "When I'm doing things that involve food, people and words, I feel the pleasure of God in my life. These passions shape how I make big and little choices."

On and off the beat

In addition to contributing articles on agriculture to the World Journalism Institute's Times Observer and World Magazine, Abby has been published in World on Campus and the Journal and Courier (Lafayette, Ind.). In her free time, she is busy on the leadership team of Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), a Christian ministry on campus. She is an officer for Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow, and the media chair of the Purdue Ag Task Force. And she can also be found working in the Agricultural Communications office, at Greyhouse Coffee or playing the piano at church.