PU agriculture grad puts experience to use in Peace Corps

Malcolm Barber
Malcolm Barber

Malcolm Barber, 24, hopes to change his worldview as a member of the Peace Corps in Zambia, Africa. The Hammond resident arrived Feb. 3 after graduating from Purdue University with a degree in animal science and a concentration in biological science.

“After realizing I no longer wanted to become a veterinarian, I changed my concentration from pre-vet to biological science and embarked on a quest to find what I wanted for a career,” Barber said. “Attending career fairs and interacting with others, I realized there were limitless opportunities to pursue in the field of agriculture.”

Barber is working in Zambia as a rural aquaculture extension agent, assisting with site selection, pond design and construction, and management and harvesting of fish for the marketplace.

“I hope to make an improvement in the quality of life of my designated community by equipping them with the necessary skills and expertise to sustain a business,” he said. “I would like to have an open exchange of culture to help us better understand one another.”

The son of Malcolm and Alexius Barber, he graduated from Hammond High School in 2007 and was awarded a full scholarship through the city of Hammond College Bound Program. Before leaving for Africa, Barber volunteered with the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Griffith and at Scheeringa Farms in Highland.

“At the farm I planted seedlings in the field, helped fill produce orders and maintain greenhouses, among other basic farm duties,” he said. “This opportunity allowed me to gain more horticulture experience, since the majority of my education focused on livestock.”

Barber hopes to learn from each of his endeavors and build a solid foundation for a future career. “My ideal career would be an international product management position in the agricultural industry that would allow me to travel periodically out of the country to conduct business,” he said.

“I am intrigued by the trading, trends and the branding, primarily of agricultural products. This avenue would assist me in furthering my career while also continuing to broaden my horizons.”