Staff Spotlight: Tessa Casanova

Tessa Casanova is a South Texas native who has now made her home in Ames, Iowa.  She came to work as a temp through Advance Services Inc. in September 2019 and has now been hired by the Iowa State University Seed Lab at the Seed Science Center, in the Purity Lab and Seed Health Lab.  She says the job fits her personality because of the attention to detail it requires.

“There are MANY different seeds out there and sometimes it can take a lot longer than normal to identify a seed contaminating a sample, but in the end it is always satisfying being able to end the process assured in yourself and your ID,” Tessa said. “Ultimately, I look forward to adding many more seeds to my expanding seed knowledge.”

The Seed Lab Manager, Mike Stahr, says “sky is the limit” for Tess, she picks up things fast, is always thinking about how to do things better, and has become a valuable member of the team in a short time.

“Tessa is a conscientious worker plus she has the ability and stamina to identify seeds of very small and  difficult to identify species” Mike said.  “Tessa is a self-starter who has quickly shown her abilities in both the Dividing room and the Purity lab.” 

Tessa received her bachelor’s degree in geology and a minor in chemistry from Texas A&M University-Kingsville. She was on the Dean's List multiple times, graduated Magna Cum Laude and received a scholarship for field camp from the Corpus Christi Geological Society.  She takes pride in making improvements where she is working, including her college job at her grandparent’s storage unit facility

“I mostly helped at the front desk but was also tasked with some managerial duties,” Tessa said. “Before leaving, I actually created a manual for every aspect of that job, hoping to help out whoever came next.”

Outside of work, Tessa who is engaged to her longtime boyfriend, has a variety of passions including Boxer dogs and rocks.

“I love rocks! I have a sizeable rock collection at home that lovingly sits in my dining room.” Said Tessa.

Tessa and her fiancé, who is originally from Ames, plan to marry in October 2020. The couple moved to Ames from Austin, Texas in March 2019.  

“Before the Seed Lab, I worked in the ISU Soils Lab as a temp helping homogenize their samples for further testing, but I  enjoyed helping further along their science” Tessa said. “It was fairly rigorous and fast paced, and I enjoyed helping further along their science and seeing what went into the process of testing all of their samples.”

As for the future, Tessa says she hopes to attend ISU for grad school.

“I am fairly new to the Midwest and I am so excited to see what this job and the future hold for me!” Tessa said.