Avi Karn

Columbia, Missouri, United States

I believe that some traits you are just born with. It was the trait that at times strayed me to trouble when I was a small boy, the very same trait that led me to take apart the television set to see how it worked, to make my own telescope to explore space firsthand, and later on took me on an adventure across the world to America where I could successfully fulfill my thirst for knowledge. Curiosity to know, to learn how, and to make things better has been a driving force in my life. It often led me to the lush backyard garden in the Nepalese house I called home for so many years. As a small child I remember standing crouched over my mother’s plants in the day’s early hours with a toothbrush protruding from one side of my mouth, more concerned about looking at the plants than I ever was about brushing my teeth. Over the years I could not shake my want to learn of those plants. Despite my mother and father’s wishes, as well as the Nepalese culture urging of young intelligent men to enter the medical field, I kept my interest in plants alive; I started taking classes in general agriculture in elementary school, continuing them in high school. I went on to leave Nepal for the United States at the age of 19 where I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science from Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri. It is my Nepalese roots that give birth to my devotion to study Agriculture Science. I was brought up in a sub-urban city of Nepal, the location of most of the country’s agro-based industrial activities. In every monsoon season, my house would become surrounded with green paddy fields. I enjoyed watching farmers plowing their fields with oxen, sowing rice plants with their bare hands in the muddy soil, and harvesting in the fall. But I also witnessed natural disasters in those same fields; floods and droughts came and went, negatively affecting the socio-economic conditions of poor farmers in the region. Eighty percent of the Nepal’s total population is directly involved in agriculture, so these harsh times left me wanting to help the farmers; I knew the most powerful tool was an agriculture education. I have always been inspired by great people in our history, believing that there are great lessons to be learned from their achievements as well as their hardships. My life has been greatly influenced by the livelihoods of Isaac Newton, Nicola Tesla and Thomas Elva Edison. Edison once stated, “There is always a better way. Find it.

  • Work
    • University of Missouri-Columbia
  • Education
    • Plant Biology and Genetics, PhD
    • University of Missouri