Ag students and sponsors come together at AWC!

Two things make the AWC Student program successful:

  1. Students who are excited about starting their career path with a blast of inspiration, some great direction, and a network of leaders at their fingertips.
  2. Industry leaders who will join us in sponsoring and supporting these students and future leaders, giving them the opportunity to attend AWC and reap the benefits.

AWC matches students from agricultural degree programs across Canada with companies looking to invest in future leaders!

Applicants + Sponsors

Kortney Acton:

“I graduated from the University of Guelph in 2018 with a degree in Animal Biology and a minor in Nutrition, with focus on Animal Nutrition.  In September I started my masters degree at the U of Guelph in Runimant Nutrition.  I grew up in a rural Ontario town where I spent most of my time on friends’ farms with their livestock.  During my time as an undergraduate, I worked as a lab research asisstant and have volunteered with cattle, swine and poultry research projects.  This past summer I worked at an AI Stud Farm as a bull handler. I loved being able to work in an area that not many people remember is an essential part of the agricultural animal indsutry.  Being able to attend AWC would allow me to broaden my agricultual industry knowledge and experinece.  I hope to network and create connections with fellow students and industry professionals and to enhance my skills for future employment within the industry.  I believe that attending AWC would be an amazing experience and would foster my passion and love of the Canadian agricultural industry.” Kortney Acton, 1st year, MSc Animal Nutrition, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario

Isabelle Aicklen:

“I am a third year student studying agricultural science at the University of Guelph. I did not grow up on a farm, however, I have come to develop a passion for agriculture since beginning my degree. I have been fortunate enough to have had exposure to agriculture through academics, extracurriculars as well as through work experience. This past summer I had the opportunity to work as a crop input intern for Cargill where I scouted both field and horticultural crops. This was a turning point for me because I actually began to feel connected to agriculture and have a better understanding of some of the things I was learning in school. This coming summer I will be working as a product development technician intern for Syngenta in the fungicide/insecticide division. I am looking forward to the future of agriculture and gaining more work experience in the field. I am interested in attending the Advancing Women Conference as this year I was fortunate enough to start a Women in Agriculture club at the University of Guelph. This club is an important way for students at our university to engage with one another and industry professionals who may have insight into career opportunities and who can provide inspiration through personal growth stories. By attending this conference, I would be able to gain leadership skills and information to bring back to our club and as well as bring those skills to the workplace. As I am interested in working in agronomy or business, forming connections with other like-minded individuals and challenging myself to develop those leadership and communication skills will benefit my future career.” -Isabelle Aicklen, 3rd year, Bachelor of Science Agriculture, Honours Major, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

Melina Audette:

“I was raised in a small town outside Winnipeg, MB, where I worked at my family’s greenhouse nursery from a young age. I have spent previous summers working as a summer assistant in small plot research. My first experience in research was in the Plant Science Department  at the U of M, working on breeding perennial forages, mainly perennial wheat. This past summer I decided to try working for industry and was hired as a Summer Research Assistant for Monsanto, just outside of Winnipeg. I was able to gain valuable agronomic skills throughout the summer, and gained several new lifelong friends as a result. As I graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree this spring I hope to learn from other women about their career paths and where they started out. Also, connecting with other female students from universities across the prairies is a great opportunity to learn about their different views and opinions of being a woman in agriculture and how to encourage more young women into careers in agriculture. I also hope this the Advancing Women Conference will boost my confidence and drive towards reaching my career goals and taking risks in my career. I believe hearing someone elses career experiences and risks they took can push you to take risks in your own career and benefit from the rewards of taking such risks.” Melina Audette, 4th year, Plant Biotechnology, AGricutlure, University of Manitoba, Dufresne, Manitoba

Yuliya Barsukova:

“I am an international student from Belarus. While my specialization helped me to develop strong knowledge of quality assurance and unit operations in food processing and preservation, it was through an internship experience I was able to apply the knowledge from my education. Through my involvement in extracurricular activities, I gained key communication and leadership skills. Being a Co-President of the cooking club called Healthnuts, my goal is to fight food insecurity on campus by teaching students basic cooking skills and promoting a healthier lifestyle while focusing on sustainable practises in purchasing, cooking and consuming food products. During an internship at a food processing company in the summer of 2018, I had an opportunity to see the food industry from within and work on a team of individuals of diverse cultures and backgrounds. The internship experience and campus involvement have made me think about my future role in a food industry, both as a leader and a part of the workforce.

Attending the Advancing Women Conference would give me an opportunity to find and empower my voice to shape the future of the food industry, connect with amazing female professionals in agricultural sector and give me confidence in my skills and abilities. Seeing as my career objective is making a difference in the field I am passionate about and impacting the life of Canadians in a meaningful and positive way, this Conference is a must attend for me.” –Yuliya Barsukova, 4th Year Nutrition and food Science, Food Science and Technology Specialization, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

Emily Bouvier:

“I was born and raised in the town of Stonewall, Manitoba. I am currently in my fourth year of university; I was accepted into the Plant Biotechnology program as a direct-entry student, but throughout the years, discovered that my true passion was for Agronomy. I have gained a lot of valuable experiences through my summer jobs; working for OMEX Agriculture Inc. gave me basic agricultural experience that my resume was lacking. This experience allowed me to be hired at Monsanto Canada Inc, where I gained more hands-on knowledge with machinery, and was able to use, and build, my knowledge of different crops and weeds. I plan to go back to the same job this summer, although I will now be working for Bayer Crop Science. In many of my agricultural experiences, I have been either the only, or one of few women present; I think that interacting and hearing other women’s stories of how they pushed through hardship to reach their successes will be extremely inspirational. Creating a larger network of not only business professionals, but fellow agriculture students from other schools will be a great resource to have as we progress in our careers. I tend to dream big, but not take chances, I think attending this conference will break my out of my comfort zone and allow me to try new things.” –Emily Bouvier, 4th year, Agriculture, Agronomy, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Cara Cargo-Froom:

“I have completed all my current degrees with the University of Guelph including BScH. Animal Biology, February 2016 University of Guelph MSc. (Animal Nutrition), and am currently a PhD candidate focusing on swine nutrition. In my laboratory group I provide guidance to many of our MSc candidates and undergraduate research students in a variety of ways (statistical help, writing help, laboratory work). I am also a teaching assistant for the Bachelor of Bio-resource Management Equine – intro to equine nutrition course this winter and involved in the planning of the Global Nutrition Summit to be held at the University of Guelph in August 2020.  Previously, I worked as an Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) liaison assistant. In that position I hosted many different high schools at the University of Guelph, where students learned about the different agriculture studies we offer and attended a variety of different Ag based programming. I also attended events as a liaison representative for the OAC (e.g. the Royal Winter Fair). During my MSc I also worked as a monogastric research assistant for an agricultural feed company. Outside of academics I volunteer as a service dog raiser and a one to one support for children with disabilities during City of Guelph programs. Having worked in the agriculture industry it can be a very male dominated field. While I have started to feel comfortable in my position as a woman in Ag, I do not think that all women feel the same. I want to be able to bring back the tools not only to advance my sense of self in this industry but to help other young women through their education and feeling confident that they are in the right field. I think  AWC will also teach me how to advocate for myself in a constantly evolving industry. It will also be a wonderful way to network with more women in the agriculture field throughout Canada and to make connections with students at other Universities.” Cara Cargo-Froom, 1st Year , PhD University of Guelph, Guelph ON

Jo Ann Chew:

“I graduated from the University of Alberta with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Health in 2018. Currently, I am a Masters Student at the University of Saskatchewan under the supervision of Dr. Karen Schwean-Lardner. My project focuses on the effects of varying light intensity during pullet rearing on bird’s use of space, behaviour, and health. My previous work experience in the agriculture industry involves volunteering and interning at various farms, especially poultry farms, and working as a summer student during my undergraduate degree. Now that this conference is here, especially in the west where I plan my future career to be, I knew I had to apply. This conference will provide a great platform for me to network with other students, producers, and industry representatives, not to mention continue to build on the skills that I had previously learned.” – Jo Ann Chew, MSc Animal and Poultry Science, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK

Rachel Duesbury:

“I grew up in London Ontario with little to no previous farm experience or background. The most I was exposed to the agriculture community was when my dad worked for a John Deere dealership and I would go to John Deere days. When I was in grade eleven I moved out to Mount Brydges and was so intrigued by the amazing farming community that was vastly growing around me, and feel in love with the idea of being apart of it. That year I made a pretty big decision and instead of applying to school to become a nurse like I had always planned, I applied to the Agriculture Diploma program at Ridgetown College where I started my amazing agriculture career. My first agriculture job was provided to me by Bonduelle Canada who hired me on as a crop scout for the summer of 2018. I mostly scouted peas and edible beans, but also got some experience scouting sweet corn. I am now in my final semester of Ridgetown and have secured a job at Agris, working for Great Lakes Grain doing research regarding Vomitoxin (Deoxyinvalenol), and any other tasks that may need to be done around the elevators. Making the decision to jump into a vast industry that was so unknown to me was terrifying, but yet one of the best decisions I have made in my life. To my friends that let me tag along in planting and harvesting seasons, to helping build chickens barns and doing daily dairy chores I have learned so much in my two years at Ridgetown College and hope to have this opportunity to learn so much more.” Rachel Duesbury, 2nd year, Associate Diploma in Agriculture, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, Mt Brydges, ON

Carley Frerichs:

“In my master’s program I have currently completed a course in Welfare of Domestic Livestock and Statistics for Animal Experimentation. This term I will be completing my final course of study, Advanced Animal Ethology. Along with my own studies I have been a teaching assistant for the following courses: Equine Science, Poultry Production and Aquaculture, and an Introductory class to Agriculture. My work experience pertaining to agriculture includes working at a petstore as an animal care associate, a vet clinic as a receptionist and tech assistant, and as an animal technician at our poultry facility on campus. Volunteer experience includes vet clinics and work at the Prairie Swine Centre research facility. I’m eager to partake in such a great initiative this year in hopes that I can further foster the connections I have made and continue to connect with established and emerging women in agriculture. As I near the end of my academic program I’m eagerly seeking potential employment opportunities.” -Carley Frerichs, Masters in Animal Science, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK

Chantele Gouliquer:

“I grew up in a small town in Northwestern Ontario where I raised horses to compete on the open and quarter horse circuits.From a young age I always knew I had a passion for animal health, so when the opportunity arose, I moved to Edmonton to attend the U of A in hopes of one day becoming a veterinarian. I had the chance to work for Cargill Protein in High River Alberta this past summer which gave me the opportunity to expand my knowledge in project management and Leadership. Upon returning to school. I worked on undergraduate research in two different areas. I worked with the meat science team here at the university over the past semester looking at the effect of production factors on muscle fiber types and size in cross bred steers. Then most recently, I am working with the poultry science team to look at the effect of different body weight trajectories on feed disappearance rate and behavior in poultry on precision feeding systems. Additionally, I was granted the opportunity to be a team member representing the U of A for the National Intercollegiate Dairy Challenge. All of these academic opportunities are giving me the chance to develop skills and meet such amazing people in all corners of the industry.

With attending AWC, I would be given the chance to network and learn from both new and established leading women in the industry. I am eager to make life long connections and learn. As I near the end of my schooling, I am also seeking employment and the connections made at the conference may provide me with the networking platform to assist me in achieving employment. I cannot wait for the opportunity to be inspired and motivated to do great things in this wonderful industry!” -Chantele Gouliquer, 4th year, BSC animal Health, Major Food Animals, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta

Gudrun Haas:

“On our farm in western Germany we had a mix of Iivestock and cash crop and horticultural crops specifically broilers, laying hens, finishing hogs, approximately 60 hectares of cash crop, a vineyard where we grew grapes and we had a small assembly of Persian Walnut trees. Three times a week we sold our product at a local farmers market. But by the time I was in high school my parents realized that our business was too diverse and too small to be competitive in the long run and provide a viable business to pass on to their children. So after a family meeting we decided to move to Canada where we bought a broiler breeder farm. I graduated from University of Windsor with an Honours Degree in Business Commerce with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Communication Studies. However, after graduation I realized that I should have specialized in Agribusiness instead of Marketing if I wanted to work in the agricultural industry. So after working at a company for 5 years I decided to go back to school and include a second degree in my portfolio. This iswhere I am right now attending University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus working on my Associate Diploma in Agriculture. I am genuinely interested in attending the leadership conference because after graduation I will be taking over my family’s home farm. I will be a single woman owning a large livestock farm in an environment dominated by male farm owners. I want to attend the conference to meet other female farm owners and learn from their experience.” -Gudrun Haas, 2nd year, Associate Diploma in Agriculture, University of Guelph Ridgetown Campus, Waterloo, ON

Karmyn Hamrlik:

“I grew up on a mixed farm of cattle and grain near Fisher Branch, MB. We have approximately 100 head of cattle, and 3000 acres of wheat, canola and soybeans. I grew up learning and appreciating where my food comes from. After all, food comes from  agriculture, and with no farmers to drive agriculture, we would not exist.  My past work experience includes a lot of vcolunteering in my hometown, such as helping serve at pancake breakfasts, cleaning and painting the local rec centre, working at the community bingo, property upkeep and maintenance in and around Fisher Branch, and volunteering in the arena canteen. I also worked full-time during summer and part time during the school year at the local Co-op grocery store in Fisher Branch from July 2015 to August 2018. I feel that attending AWC would allow me to learn what it means to be a woman in the agriculture industry, learn the challenges that these women faced and how they became who they are today. I also feel that it would leave me feeling confident, inspired and empowered. It would be great to meet and network with individuals and learn about their backgrounds, interests and journey’s. It would be great to learn about the different career oppurtunities out there, as I feel that there is a lot more than what we think. I also love meeting new people from different places and making new friends, and I feel that attending this conference would be a wonderful way to do that!” Karmyn Hamrlik, 1st year, Agribusiness, Assiniboine Community College, Brandon, Manitoba

Melanie Heupel:

“I am from a grain farm, and have worked on the farm since I can remember. Last year I began working full time during my break between semesters. In 2017 I worked for Cargill as an agronomy scout. I have also been an assistant volleyball coach in my local community. I have graduated both from an English high school and received a DSD 11 certificate from my German school. After graduating German school, I have been teaching as a substitute for levels from pre-kindergarten up to grade 10. I am currently in my 3rd year at the University of Alberta, Bachelor of Science with a focus in Crop Science. My first  year of university was spent at Augustana in Camrose where I played for the university volleyball team as well as the local club team. After completing my degree, I hope to continue the profession of my father and grandfather, becoming our third generation farmer in Canada. I hope to connect with women like me, how are passionate in the ag field and will help motivate me to become what I have always wanted to be. As such, this conference will greatly benefit me in my future career of becoming a farmer.” -Melanie Heupel, 3rd year, Bachelor of Science in Agriculture with Crop Science Major, University of Alberta, Stony Plain, AB.

Leila Kamino:

“I am a Ph.D. student in my fifth year at the University of Manitoba under the supervision of Dr. Rob Gulden. I graduated with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from Egerton University, Kenya in 2008. Following graduation, I worked as a research support for the cereal breeding and chemistry departments at the Kenya Agricultural & Livestock Research Organization, Njoro. I then completed a master’s degree in Agricultural and environmental technologies at The University of Sydney, Australia with my research topic focusing on Genetics of resistance to stripe rust in barley. Having an open mind to learn, I enrolled into a Ph.D. program in plant science and my current research is geared towards understanding the dynamics of extracellular DNA (eDNA) in the environment and the influence of agronomic practices to soil microbes.  The conference provides an excellent Networking opportunity to establish new professional connections with other great women in the agriculture industry. This conference presents a great platform to get acquainted and connected with potential mentors with similar passions who can provide me with opportunities and necessary life skills for my career growth. I am convinced this conference will fan my passion for agriculture and motivate me to continue in pursuit of a career within the industry and more specifically the use of biotechnology and new technologies to increasing food security. My desire is to see more women pursue careers in Science and agriculture and especially in Sub – Saharan Africa where they are limited by little access to benefits of research and innovation.” -Leila Kamino, Plant Science, 5th year PhD program, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB

Laura Leclerc:

“At Concordia University, I earned a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology, a programming and a web development certificate, and an MSc in Biology at its Centre for Applied Synthetic Biology. Now at Mohamed Hijiri’s lab at the Montreal Biodiversity Centre, I will be a 1st year PhD student this April. My work will be part of a larger agronomic project aiming to develop microbial bioinoculants which would increase crop yields and promote sustainable agriculture. During the course of my graduate studies, I had the opportunity to work as a teaching assistant for four of the courses offered by the Biology department: Lab Studies in Biodiversity, General Biology, Advanced Lab in Genetics, and Biostatistics.

I also volunteered on a few occasions; particularly memorable was Science Literacy Week, an event organized by Partners in Research. At that time, I worked as part of a team that developed and lead educational activities for primary school children to foster interest in biotechnology. A long childhood vegetable gardening experience with my mother has partially inspired my interest in the science of agriculture, as well as most excellent courses in plant molecular genetics and agricultural biotechnology. An intense curiosity and passion for the arts, science and technology has granted me a multidisciplinary skillset, including comic illustration, writing and programming, all of which I employ toward my research alongside causes such as scientific communication and positive lgbt+ representation.

My wish is to develop sustainable biotechnologies to tackle the challenges of our era. For the years to come, I will be working on a project to develop bioinoculants for agriculture to optimize fertilizer usage and crop yield. I believe that to design and implement good vehicles of change, scientists, farmers and industry will need to walk together and understand each other’s needs and challenges. As such, I wish to attend AWC, where I can deepen my understanding of the intricacies and demands of this field of work, gain valuable insight into how innovation and regulation intertwine within it, and forge lasting partnerships with individuals who wish to collaborate with researchers and invest in new biotechnology.” -Laura Leclerc, MSc Biology graduate, Starting 1st year of PhD studies April 2019, University of Montreal, Laval, Quebec

Zhuoya Liu:

“I am a second-year master student in University of Guelph. I was born and raised in China and came to Canada in 2013 for studying agriculture. I completed my bachelor’s degree in Honours Agriculture at University of Guelph in 2017. Shortly after graduation, I joined The Gosling Research Institute for Plant Preservation to continue pursue my master’s degree in University of Guelph. My master project is focus on micropropagation of American chestnut, which is an endangered species limited to eastern north American. My study aims to find an optimized protocol for micropropagating American chestnut to support long-term conservation and reintroduce American chestnut in its habitat. I had volunteered as a summer student assistant in Bovey greenhouse on campus and Guelph Turfgrass Institute throughout the growing season in 2016. I have watched several videos about AWC and I think it is a great opportunity to learn and improve myself. More importantly, I hope this conference could help me with my career plans. I am going to graduate in 2019, but I am still in a period of confusion for my career path. I have many questions regarding to what kind of job I can apply for, which area should I focus on etc.. Therefore, I hope this conference can inspire me and give me some directions to my future career planning.” -Zhuoya Liu, Master Degree in Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Guelph ON

Jessie Lungal:

“I grew up on a farm just outside of Russell Manitoba. We raise Speckle Prak cattle and have some grain. Last summer I previously work at Mosaic mine in Esterhazy SK. While I was working there, I was working In the lab to test potash for multiple elements. I am hoping to return to Mosaic in the summer! I feel attending AWC is a great opportunity to meet new people that have the same interest as me and extend my knowledge of agriculture.” -Jessie Lungal, 2nd Year, Diploma in Agribusiness, Assiniboine Community College, Brandon, MB

Julia McCrae:

“I was raised on  a mixed farming operation north of Vermillion, I joined the local 4-H sheep club and was a member for 9 years, competing sheep, goat and photography projects.  I received a diploma in agricultural management with a major in  marketing from Olds College in 2018.  In my 2nd year at Olds was the communication VP of the Students’ Association.  It was in this role that I discovered my passion for connecting and working with people and realized that I could combine my passion for agriculture and my passion for communicating. This past summer I worked for Olds College as a Recruitment and Events assistant. Through this role I interacted with many people from different backgrounds of ag and found that the more I learned, the more I realized there is more to learn.  It was then that I decided to pursue my education further at the U of L. in Ag Studies to broaden my understanding of ag industry especially in relation to economics.

I am interested in attending AWC as I believe that it would give me valuable skills that I will utilize in my career.  I would like to work in the education/marketing sector of agriculture and believe that this conference would be educational and deepen my understanding of the industry.  I also believe that networking is a key factor in the ag industry as each individual has different experiences and knowledge to learn from.  AWC will give me the opportunity to interact with some incredible women in the ag industry and build my network.” -Julia McCrae, 3rd Year, BA Agricultural Studies, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB

Shania Miralda:

“I am an international student from Indonesia. I do not have any work experience yet but I always like to do volunteering activities as I think it helps me to grow to be a better community member. I volunteered at the Museum of Manitoba, Winnipeg Humane Shelter, events hosted by Canadian such as the Fringe Festival, and many more. Through all of those activities, I learned many different skills, from communication, teamwork, understanding different culture, and even leadership. I do believe those skills are actually crucial for me to be successful in career life. We learn how things go from the field into the fork, but as the world constantly changing, so does the process in between. How will we respond to the increase of populations? How will social media and robot can have an impact on the agricultural industry? AWC will give me an opportunity to network with people that are directly involved in the agricultural world. To gain leadership skills and to be inspired for my future agricultural career. Then in the future, I also hope to give back to the community by inspiring other women that wish to pursue their dream in agriculture.” Shania Miralda, 3rd year, Agribusiness, University of Manitoba, Winniepg, Manitoba

Marion Mogire:

“I am a masters student from Kenya in my first year of graduate school with a major in animal science.  I have a bachelor’s degree in microbiotechnology from the university of Nairobi.  I have been fortunate to intern at the Kenya Agricultural and Livestock Institute and the Institute of Primate Research where I was involved in the animal science and immunology departments.  The AWC is an excellent opportunity to meet and learn from different women in different agricultural fields.  I believe this opportunity will allow me the chance to explore the wide agricultural field, it’s career opportunities and meet mentors who can give me a better direction on my own path.” –Marion Mogire, 1st year, Animal Science, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba

Tracy Niggli:

“I’m from southern Alberta, southeast of Lethbridge. I grew up on a small, dryland grain farm where we farm 2200 acres durum, peas, and mustard. My major is agronomy and my minor is agribusiness.  It is my second year on university Rangeland Team. We learn about different range regions, rangeland management, and ecology. Each year we compete in the Society for Range Management’s annual conference against other universities from across North America. After high school, I did a six-month agricultural exchange to Australia, where I worked on a cropping and sheep farm. This was an amazing opportunity to learn about a different aspect of agriculture, since I’ve never really been around livestock. I came back and started university, and now for the last 2 summers I’ve worked for an independent agronomist from Foremost for her consulting business. This past August I also worked for her husband’s harvest crew driving combine. I also drove truck as well because I have my Class 1 license. For the upcoming summer, I’ll be staying in Saskatoon working for FMC in a summer sales position.   I am hoping to develop my leadership skills, and work on learning how to have open clear conversations with consumers. As someone who’s going to be working in the ag industry in the future, this is a very important skill to have. My career objectives are to work in the industry after university and obtain my P.Ag designation. I plan to continue doing agronomy work, and help farmers produce their crops as sustainably and economically as possible. Perhaps someday I’ll start my own ag consulting company. However, my major long-term career goal is to take over the family farm. It’s what I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember, and it is very important to me that it stays in the family.” -Tracy Niggli, 3rd year, BSc in Agricutlure – Major in Agronomy, Univesity of Sasktachewan, SK

Jaime Nylen:

“I am a second year agribusiness student attending Assiniboine Community College. I grew up on a small beef operation north of Erickson, Mb. I have always enjoyed helping my father on the farm and spending as much time possible with the cows. This previous summer I worked at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada as a research technician. By attending AWC I would gain leadership skills along with being able to network with other women in the industry that are passionate about the same thing as I am.” Jaime Nylen, 2nd year, Agribusiness, Assiniboine Community College, Erickson, Manitoba

Najmeh Samadi:

“My major is soil science with long term (13 years) research experiences on soil, water, plant, and human relationships, greenhouse culture, waste water reuse in irrigation, environmental pollutions. I was graduated from my first soil science master degree on 2005, from my home country, Iran. Afterwards, I worked as a researcher in one of universities in Iran. From 2005-2013, I had defined more than 10 projects that the most recent and more interesting ones for myself are including:

  • The reuse of treated industrial wastewater using pitcher irrigation in agriculture
  • The usage of ozonated water in greenhouse culture
  •  The effect of light wavelengths on the seed growth
  • The indirect effect of polluted soil, water, and plants on the development of Multiple Schlorosis in human.

My achievement from 8 years effort is including:

  • 12 journal and conference publications in English
  • Published “Plant nutrition and soilless culture” book in Persian
  • The patent of “The application of Ozone generator in greenhouse culture” in Iran

From 2013, I moved to Canada to develop my knowledge and connections with highly knowledgeable people. Based on my observations from arid and semi arid countries such as my home country,  I believed that we will have water shortage in the close future and we have to use of wastewater in irrigation and even for the drinking. I decided to learn more about the organic and inorganic pollutions in soil, water and their movement. So, I started my second master degree in UOA about the distinguish of organic and inorganic pollutions in artificial lake sediments and the movement of pollutions to the surface water. My achievements during graduate career in UOA are 5 journal and conference publications in English. Now, I am more familiar with the soil and water pollutions, and so after my graduation from UOA,  I want to put my job focus on the subjects that cover the soil, water, plant, and human health relationships.

I am close to my graduation but I still have lots of ideas in my mind that I decide to develop them during my life career. I really want to work as a entrepreneur in my major but I am new in Canada and my connections needs to be developed. I really want to attend AWC to get familiar and exchange my ideas with the women leaders that their activities are close to my work interests and passions such as greenhouse cultures, particularly in the application of new technologies in reducing herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers that cause to the production of organic products,  the culture of herbal plants and finally find the relationships between pollutions and human health.” Najmeh Samadi, 5th Year, Master, soil science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB

Sara Shaw:

“I grew up on a farm just outside Alexander, MB and went to school in a small farming community of Souris, MB.  I have worked as a farrowing technician in a local farrowing barn. After my first year at Assiniboine Community College I got a job at Ag-Quest working as a research technician. As my final year is coming to an end I am continuously looking for a full time job. I am not your typical farm girl. I did not grow up on a cattle operation, mixed farm or a grain farm. Our family farm was a hobby farm, but from living in a farming community and helping out with my relatives cattle operation I fell in love with Agriculture. After having kids early in life and going back to school in my 30s I have been told I am an inspiration to others. I want to take that inspiration I have and keep improving it. If I can inspire others by going back to school and raising three kids I want to be a voice for agriculture. By going to this conference I would love to learn how other women take that inspiration and be confident in what they say or do. Seeing other women speak about agriculture would give me the confidence to do it too. This inspiration and confidence would be so beneficial to my future career. I am an intelligent woman but without that confidence I may come off to employers as shy and unsure. I want to inspire myself to inspire others and to take my knowledge to feel confident in everything I do especially in my career in agriculture.” -Sara Shaw, 2nd Year, Agribusiness, Assiniboine Community College, Brandon, MB

Tina Simonton:

“I completed my BSc with in Microbiology (honours Co-op) with a minor in Business Administration in 2017 and immediately transitioned into my MSc. I am currently working on bacterial spot of tomatoes. I have worked in Dr Trueman’s lab for a total of 11 semesters. My work has revolved around experiments with various bacterial pathogens and their hosts ( tomatoes, sugar beets, cucumber) in both field and controlled environments. I co-oped for a semester in a genetics lab at the Ridgetown Campus working on tomato genetics. My undergraduate co-op semester was spent with AG Canada as a general lab assistant working on mycotoxin contamination in grain.

I wish to attend AWC because I see a new industry still just getting on tis feet and I want to be a woman with a leading role in shaping that. I believe women have the unique opportunity to build a fair work culture rather than argue for one. I want to attend AWC so I can have examples and ideas for what a female industry leader looks like so I can apply that understanding when I enter the industry.” -Tina Simonton, 2nd year, MSc Plant Pathology, University of Guelph, Chatham, Ontario

W. Anderson

Courtney Soloway:

“I’ve always had a love and passion for farming as I grew up on a small cattle and pig farm.  Upon high school graduation, I was pushed in a very different direction.  It led me to graduate with a Bachelor’s Degree majoring in psychology.  Even though I found work that I loved, something was always missing. When I was at work, all I could think about was being home on the farm.  My co-worker used to tell me that my eyes would light up when I talked about the farm but not about work stuff. After being out of high school for 10 years, I made the “crazy” decision to follow my dreams and go back to school.  I am currently completing my first year of Agribusiness while being 6 hours away from my home in Naicam, SK. My goal from this Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference is to learn from other successful women in the agriculture industry and incorporate their advice, skills, and life lessons to my career path so I can successfully help others.  As I’m unsure of my exact career at this time, I wish to use this conference to open my eyes to all opportunities and help me select an avenue that can leverage my skills, experience, education, and background so I can accomplish my goals and thrive in an industry I love.” -Courtney Soloway, 1st year, Agribusiness, Assiniboine Community College, Naicam, SK

Christine Suominen:

“I grew up on a mixed cow-calf and grain operation near Red Deer, Alberta.  We have had up to 300 commercial cow-calf pairs and farm around 1 000 acres of grain land, typically growing canola, wheat, and barley crops. Growing up in agriculture, I gained a deep sense of responsibility to food production and the land we grow it on. I was a 4-H member for 12 years in beef, multi and gardening projects which lead to discovering my passion for youth and agriculture.

My involvement in agriculture has continued into my post-secondary degree, a B.Sc. in Agricultural Biotechnology with a Concentration in Agricultural Business. In my time at the University of Lethbridge I have received my Co-op Designation, meaning I completed 12 months of co-operative education, all of which was completed with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Working in agriculture research has helped me gain a better understanding of the gap in information between producers and researchers. I have also worked at a veterinary clinic and will be working with a crop production company this summer. My degree has allowed me to develop a multi-disciplinary look at the agriculture industry, from biology, geography and economic perspectives.

I have also been extensively involved in 4-H Alberta and the University of Lethbridge Agricultural Students’ Society, always encouraging further education for youth in the industry they are passionate about. I am a firm believer in the creation of leadership roles and community involvement and hope to take this forward into my career in agriculture.

I have been very eager to attend AWC for my whole university career and as it comes to a close, I think I would like to enhance my passion for the agriculture. I am very excited to continue to expand my network of women in the agriculture industry to further understand the career opportunities out there. I really value growing my interpersonal skills to help be a stronger agvocate to the public who is well informed and confident in my agricultural knowledge. Through attending this conference, I will be engaging with more like-minded individuals and encouraging my personal growth in many areas.” -Christine Suominen, 4th year, B.Sc. Agricultural Biotechnology with a Concentration in Agricultural Business, University of Lethbridge, Lethbridge, AB

Emily Unger:

“I grew up in Belmont Ontario, on a swine farm. We had 100 sow farrow to finish operation that we ran until 2011-2012. My family and I also ran a Pioneer Seed dealership, and 350 acres of cash crop. My work experience consists of milking dairy cows and caring for calves on many local dairy farms. I am interested to attend the Advancing Women Conference because I love to network with other women who share the same passion as me. I love hearing other people stories and their farm backgrounds. This program would benefit my career objective because I am not sure what I want to do as a career. I think talking to others and hearing their work experiences, would help guide me to my dream job.” -Emily Unger, 2nd year, Associate Diploma in Agriculture, University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus, Malahide, ON

Esmee van der Woude:

“I am a Dutch International Food Business student. This year I am studying in Canada to broaden my perspective and further develop my academic skills. Before I started this bachelor program I followed pre-university education focused on economics and society. I knew I wanted to study business and preferably logistics, but I was also concerned about the developing danger of food shortage, this led me to the study of International Food Business. Although I do not come from an agricultural background, I have been studying at an agricultural university for the past three years. In these three years I have learned to appreciate the agriculture for more than just the food that lands on my plate, I have been blown away by the passion of the people of this sector. I come from a hard working family, who have also taught me the power of networking. Using my networking skills I have managed to gain international work experience; last year I have done a double internship in the city of Gothenburg, Sweden. Having a chance to meet women who advanced in a man’s world, and learn from them will give me confidence for my own future and further build my network of strong women through attending AWC.” -Esmee van der Woude, 3rd year, International Food Business, Dalhousie University, Truro, Nova Scotia

Nicole Wensman:

“I grew up on a family grain farm in Southern Alberta , spent 11 years in 4-H, and was a very active member of our small rural community throughout high school. I am on the University’s Range team where we attend the annual Society for Range Management conference and compete in the Undergraduate Range Management Exam. I have worked at the Lethbridge Research Station in a Ruminant Nutrition laboratory which was a great learning experience. Last year, I worked at Western Beef Development Center (soon to be LFCE) doing more of the hands-on data collection side of beef cattle research.  I think AWC will be a great opportunity to network with other women in the industry and learn about how they have created opportunities for themselves. I think the program will benefit my career objective by introducing me to new ideas and helping to open up new opportunities in places I wouldn’t have thought to look before. I believe that attending this conference would be a great experience to meet new people, make new connections, and develop my skills for future employment.” -Nicole Wensman, BSC Agriculture Animal Science, 3rd year, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK

Kelsey Woytkiewicz:

“I was born and raised in Ethelbert, Manitoba. Growing up, I helped my parents on our small, mixed farm, where I spent a lot of my time. In 2017, I graduated from Ethelbert School and from Assiniboine Community College in Dauphin, Manitoba, where I received my Certified Health Care Aide Certificate and graduated with distinction. After completing the CHCA course, I decided I wanted to pursue a career in agriculture. In September of 2017, I made the move to Brandon, Manitoba, where I began my journey in Agribusiness. After the completion of year one, I got a job as a summer student at Crop Production Services in Fork River, Manitoba, now known as Nutrien Ag Solutions. While working full time as a summer student at CPS, I also worked part-time at the local restaurant. Any spare time that I had was spent at the farm helping my parents with anything that they needed. Attending AWC is a wonderful opportunity to expand my knowledge about the agriculture industry and the roles that women play in this industry. Hearing success stories about how women can succeed in this complex and diverse field will be rewarding and encouraging to me personally. This conference will help me improve my communication skills and help me set career goals for the near future. Hearing these stories will help inspire me to become the best me that I can be.” -Kelsey Woytkiewicz, 2nd Year, Agribusiness, Assiniboine Community College, Ethelbert, Manitoba

Kaiqi Zhang:

“I have got my Bachelor degree in Science of Agriculture major organic agriculture at University of Guelph. During the bachelor study time, I used to work at local organic vegetable farm and the University urban organic farm. I also did the summer jobs like university research assistant, the open house assistant of Landscape Ontario. I just graduated from my Master study on September of 2018. My master project was about nematode control in dry bean production. During my graduate study, I was involved in a rice project between University of Guelph and Chinese local government as a liaison and translator. Agriculture is one of the most important industries that people can not ignore. It is excited to know that more and more females involve in this. I believe it is important to hear what other female aggies think about this industry and their experiences and stories will be so helpful for young people like me to clarify our future expectation.” -Kaiqi Zhang, masters of Science in Plant Agriculture, University of Guelph, Chatham, ON

Hear what some of our past attending AWC students told us:

“Thank you for organizing such a fantastic conference! I am so happy that I was able to attend, it truly was inspiring and I have a whole notebook full of highlights to share with my peers! I’ve been encouraging all my girlfriends to mark AWC on their calendars!”
~Fiona J., St-Francois Xavier, MB

“Very interesting, uplifting and motivating conference that is amazing for young women who often question their decision to enter this industry. This conference smashed all doubts.”
~Melissa D., Olds, AB

“The greatest benefit of the conference? To be inspired – and I am fully! So many areas of agriculture to become involved in.”
~Brianna C., Dapp, AB

“This is a great conference, but the sponsorship for students was what allowed me to attend. Amazing! Good stories and speakers. I feel inspired to be a part of this industry.”
~Briane C., Garafraxa, ON

If you have any questions call 403-686-8407 or email