Students attending Canadian universities and colleges, studying agriculture and food related programs, can apply for sponsorship to attend AWC EAST 2023.

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 and diploma programs across Canada with companies looking to invest in future leaders!

Would you like to sponsor a student to attend AWC?

Leading associations and agribusiness can take pride in supporting these young women and making this opportunity possible. That is what AWC has in store for you.

Call us at 403-686-8407 or email

Applicants + Sponsors

Gabriella Aroni Santana

Lambton College, Food Safety and Quality Assurance Management

I am currently enrolled in the Food Safety and Quality Assurance Management program at Lambton College, building upon my foundation as a graduate in Chemical Engineering from FEI University in Brazil. My educational background has equipped me with a strong analytical mindset and a solid understanding of the principles underlying food safety and quality management. In terms of practical experience, I have been working as a Food and Beverage Producer at Coffee Culture, where I have actively engaged in quality control analyses and inspections. My responsibilities include conducting regular shelf-life reviews, meticulously monitoring storage parameters to maintain product freshness, and ensuring strict adherence to quality standards. Additionally, I have taken on the role of Class Representative, demonstrating my commitment to program enhancement by actively participating in Program Advisory Committee meetings, where I have contributed valuable insights and fostered collaboration between students and faculty.

During the summer, I had the privilege of participating in the International College Program at Disney World, an experience that greatly enhanced my communication and problem-solving skills. I was dedicated to addressing daily operational challenges to ensure a seamless guest experience. Prior to this, in my role in the Quality Supply Chain department at Suzano Pulp and Paper, I played a pivotal role in a Transport Project aimed at optimizing product transportation processes. Through the implementation of qualitative approaches and the creation of Power BI dashboards, I contributed significantly to improving operational efficiency and overall quality standards.

I am eager to attend the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference because it presents a unique opportunity to connect with women who share my passion for the agriculture and food sectors. As a Chemical Engineering and Food Safety and Quality Assurance student, I recognize the crucial interplay between agriculture and the food industry. The conference’s emphasis on bringing together professionals from both fields is particularly appealing to me. I aim to engage in insightful discussions about the challenges and innovative solutions within these industries.

Participating in the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference holds immense potential for advancing my career objectives. This unique opportunity will enable me to broaden my network by connecting with women from diverse backgrounds and regions, individuals I would not typically have the chance to meet in my daily student routine. My career ambition revolves around developing strong leadership skills and contributing to the future of community development in the agriculture and food sectors. Attending this conference, I anticipate gaining valuable insights into leadership strategies, community-driven initiatives, and innovative ideas for shaping a more sustainable and resilient future. As Wendy McDonald aptly said in her testimonial video, ‘If you want a new life, you have to plant a new seed.’ I believe that by participating in this conference and applying for the sponsorship, I am indeed planting a new seed for my future success.

Uduak Edet

University of Guelph, 2nd Year, Capacity Development & Extension

I am a graduate student in capacity development & extension, specializing in international development at the University of Guelph, Canada. My professional background spans sales, marketing, and business development, primarily in relationship management and client service within the financial sector. My educational journey at the University of Guelph has led me to a new path in agriculture, where I’ve gained hands-on experience as a research assistant intern at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

Currently, I serve as a graduate student research assistant at the Ontario Agricultural College, University of Guelph. In this role, I contribute to research, scientific writing, data reporting, and visualization. My focus lies in agricultural research aimed at mitigating climate change and enhancing resilience. Additionally, I’m passionate about driving the adoption of digital agricultural tools among rural producers, fostering innovation in local communities.

I am extremely interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference due to its relevance to my academic and career pursuits.
The conference’s focus on advancing women in the agriculture sector resonates deeply with me. My current research examines the intersection of information disorder and climate change adaptation practices within the agri-food sector, Exploring the ways in which misinformation may affect agricultural efforts is a crucial area, and I believe the conference’s discussions will provide me with valuable insights into this issue.

Furthermore, my interest extends to the adoption of digital agricultural tools in rural communities, which aligns with the conference’s emphasis on innovation and technology in agriculture. I am keen to learn about successful strategies for integrating digital tools in rural contexts and how these tools can contribute to sustainable agricultural practices and rural development.
With a background in International Business & Management, which I pursued after acquiring some industry experience, I believe the interdisciplinary nature of my education and my research align well with the diverse perspectives and knowledge-sharing opportunities that the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference offers.

Attending the conference would provide me with valuable networking opportunities, exposure to industry trends, and a platform to exchange ideas with fellow professionals and researchers in the field. I hope that participating in this conference will enhance my knowledge of innovative practices and offer insights into effective strategies for addressing climate change and digital transformation challenges within the agri-food sector. Overall, I am confident that the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference will contribute significantly to my career objective of becoming a well-rounded researcher and advocate for sustainable and resilient agricultural practices.

Patty Kedzierski

University of Guelph, PhD Candidate, Animal Biosciences

Hi! My name is Patty Kedzierski and I am currently a PhD candidate working in the department of Animal Biosciences at the University of Guelph. I completed my BSc in Animal Biology at the University of Guelph, and during my 4th year I gained a keen interest in research and agriculture. This inspired me to pursue a master’s degree and ultimately continue my education by becoming a PhD student. My PhD research focuses on using nutritional modelling to create individual nutrition programs for dairy cattle. Although I don’t come from a farming background, I grew up owning many dogs and riding horses from a young age, I also owned my own horse for 12 years.

I have several years of experience working in the equine industry, in regular maintenance and care, training, competitions and nutrition. Additionally, I have experience working in the pet industry, helping consumers select the best products for their pets based on their individual goals and needs. I have always had a passion for working with animals and solving problems, and my research allows me to do just that. My Master’s research focused on identifying daily variation in dairy cattle using automated data collection. My PhD research is building off of that project, specifically focusing on using real-time automated data collection to create an individual nutrient supplementation model for dairy cattle. My long-term goal is to develop a model that can eventually be adapted to any species and help make tailored diets for all animals. Over the years I have held several Teaching Assistant positions within my department, and also held the position of Sessional Lecturer, where I taught a 4th year undergraduate Animal Metabolism course. I enjoy working in a dynamic environment where I can continue to challenge myself. I believe there is always more to learn, and ways to improve your thought process and overall knowledge.

My goal at the end of my graduate career is to go into industry. Specifically, I would love to find a position where I can connect both academia and research. My ideal position would be related to knowledge mobilization and transfer, somewhere I can help make research easily accessible to the general public.

As not only a graduate student and woman working in agriculture, but also a mom, I feel that the experience and connections I would gain from attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference would be invaluable. Being able to speak to, and learn from industry leaders and other women in agriculture would help me create a successful career path. I would love to explore different areas of agriculture and make relationships that may not otherwise be possible without attending this conference. Hearing from other women about their career paths, and how they balance work and life, would be an empowering experience that will help motivate me and inspire me to continue in this industry. Overall, I believe that attending this conference will help give me the tools I need to plan for a successful future in industry after my PhD.

Kirsten Kouwenberg

Dalhousie University – Faculty of Agriculture, 4th Year, Plant Science

My education at Dalhousie University at the Faculty of Agriculture provided me with a strong foundation in plant science and a passion for the field. Throughout my program, I gained a comprehensive understanding of the scientific principles behind plant growth, development, and management. This included courses in plant physiology, crop production, and soil science, among others. In addition to theoretical coursework, I also had the opportunity to gain practical experience through hands-on lab work and field research projects. This combination of classroom learning and hands-on experience prepared me well for a career in plant science and provided me with a deep appreciation for the role that plants play in our world. My education at the Faculty of Agriculture has been a valuable and formative experience that continues to shape my personal and professional growth.

As the Agrology Club president at Dalhousie University, I have the privilege of leading a passionate group of students who share a common interest in agrology and agriculture. In my role as president, I am responsible for a range of duties, including connecting with potential tour hosts and partner groups, presiding over club meetings, and checking in with executives to ensure that our goals are being met. I also manage the club’s social media presence, ensuring that our message was being effectively communicated to a wide audience. Additionally, I mentor the first-year representative and maintain relationships with the Nova Scotia Institute of Agrologists, ensuring that our club remains a respected and valuable presence within the industry. The Agrology Club’s goal is to connect students to experiences in agrology and agriculture, and it was a privilege to be a part of this important work.

As a research assistant, I had the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a scientific research setting. One of my main responsibilities was preparing fields for planting crops, which involved tasks such as tilling, fertilizing, and irrigating the soil. I also had the opportunity to plant different types of crops and closely monitor them for any signs of disease or environmental stress. Throughout the growing season, I collected data on the growth and development of the crops, and assisted in analyzing the results. At harvest time, I helped with the collection and processing of multiple crops, which provided valuable insights for ongoing research projects. Overall, my experience as a research assistant was both challenging and rewarding, and provided me with a valuable foundation for future work in the field of scientific research.

Working at a greenhouse as a labourer and customer service worker, provided me with valuable experience in the horticulture industry. As a greenhouse labourer, I was responsible for a variety of tasks including planting, transplanting, and pruning a wide range of plants. I also assisted with record-keeping, ensuring that all plants were properly labeled and that inventory was accurately tracked. In my role as a customer service worker, I had the opportunity to interact with customers and provide recommendations for their landscaping and gardening needs. This involved utilizing my knowledge of different plant varieties, soil types, and growing conditions to help customers make informed decisions. Overall, my experience at the greenhouse was a fulfilling one that allowed me to learn new skills and make valuable connections in the horticulture industry.

Within my community, I have been a proud member of the Millview Vernon River 4-H club for 11 years. During this time, I have had the opportunity to participate in a wide range of activities and events that have helped to shape my personal and professional growth. In the past, I served as both the secretary and club reporter, taking an active role in helping to promote the club and keep members informed of upcoming events. One particularly memorable experience was completing the Bio-Sciences project, which was put on in collaboration with the PEI BioAlliance and PEI 4-H. I also had the opportunity to participate in a club-to-club interprovincial exchange with Manitoba, which allowed me to learn from and connect with other 4-H members from different regions of Canada.

Beyond these experiences, I have also taken on leadership roles within 4-H, serving as the PEI representative for both the Citizenship Congress in Ottawa and the National Youth Forum in Calgary. These experiences helped me to develop important leadership skills and provided valuable opportunities to learn from other young leaders across Canada.

Outside of my participation in 4-H events, I have also been committed to giving back to my community. I have helped organize multiple fundraisers for those in need, including food drives and clothing donations. Additionally, I have taken on the role of Cloverbuds leader in 4-H, introducing 30 children aged 6-8 to the program and helping to foster their own love for the organization. Overall, my time in 4-H has been a valuable and formative experience that continues to shape my personal and professional growth to this day.

Growing up on my family’s dairy farm provided me with a unique set of experiences and skills that have proven invaluable throughout my life. As a young adult, I was responsible for completing various tractor field work tasks such as tilling, planting and harvesting crops. Additionally, I was tasked with milking cows and completing assigned barn work on a daily basis, helping to ensure the smooth operation of our 280 milking herd operation. Over the years, I developed a deep appreciation for the dedication and hard work required to maintain a successful dairy farm, and I continue to apply the lessons I learned on the farm to my personal and professional endeavors.

I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference as I am a woman that works and has interest in the agricultural industry. This conference will provide me with a unique opportunity to connect with other women in the industry and learn from experienced professionals while gaining valuable insights into industry trends and best practices.

Attending this conference would help me stay up to date with the latest industry development and technologies and give me a chance to explore new career opportunities. Additionally, the conference will provide a supportive and empowering environment that celebrates the achievements of women in agriculture, encourages diversity, and provides opportunities for mentorship and personal growth.

Liberty Lloyd

MacDonald College, 3rd Year, Farm Management and Technology Program

A little bit about me, I do not come from a farm although that has not impacted where I stand in the agricultural field. My dad had a small beef farm and raised my sister and me a lot of values and responsibilities just like the way he was raised. Growing up I had always enjoyed being outside, and being surrounded by nature and animals, and when it came time to apply for a job, I told my dad that I wanted a job on the farm, luckily there were a few farms that were close to home that were searching for help. Summer of 2019, I was 14 years old and I started working on a local dairy farm I also worked at a small vegetable farm for a few hours during the week as well. As the summer progressed I really started to enjoy the work that I was doing. Both of my parents are workaholics and they portrayed that to me.

Since that summer I have worked on 5 different dairy farms and they all have taught me so many different ideas and management perspectives. In the summer of 2022, I went to Alberta to do an internship for school on a dairy, cow-calf, and cash crop farm. This farm really put into perspective that agriculture was a place for a man! and that really did not sit right with me, I shed a lot of tears that summer because I did not feel like I belonged in this industry, up until this past summer. In the summer of 2023, I did another internship on a dairy farm, a local one this time around and this farm really allowed me to feel like I belonged. Dennis Taylor told me, “A woman can do anything that a man can do”, and this is something that allowed me to really think and remember that I do belong in this industry and there is always going to be a spot for me.

I enrolled in the Farm Management and Technology program in 2021, just after graduating high school and I am currently in my 3rd year.

This past year has been a huge learning curve for me. I joined my local 4H club in February of 2023, and the club has really taught me so much about animals and how to wash them, prep them, show them, and lastly to be proud of myself for the hard work that I have dedicated my time to. 4H has put me out of my comfort zone, I went on Ag tour which was an event to tour farms, I went to Rally which is a show that is put on specifically for 4H members to show and learn.

I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference because I had the opportunity to attend last year and it pushed me out of my comfort zone to meet more women who are in the same position as I am and where to find where I belong in the agricultural industry. The Conference taught me more about the industry and allowed me to gain confidence in where I stand because I now know that I am not alone.

The program will benefit my career objective because considering I do not know what I want to do, It will push me to get to know more of which aspect of agriculture I do want to be apart of and it will allow me to realize new things such as new career paths that I did not know of before. It will also allow me to learn more and network more about the agricultural community.

Thank you for this opportunity.

Beatrice Marenghi

Dalhousie University, 3rd Year, Bachelor of Agriculture International Food Business

My name is Beatrice, I am 21 years old and I am originally from Italy. I am following a double degree programme in International Food Business, therefore I attended my first two years of university in the Netherlands and now I am ready to start my third year at Dalhousie University, (Truro, Nova Scotia) where I have the opportunity to expand my knowledge regarding food concepts such as the global food supply chain, logistics, consumer behaviour and product development.
I grew up in a small village in Italy but I also lived one year in Honduras where I had the opportunity to study in a boarding school. Indeed, I love travelling and meeting people from all over the world. I have been always very passionate about food and agriculture and I think it is very important to understand the global food industry from the farm gate to the consumer’s plate. In addition, since I was 16 years old I have been working in different restaurants and other food services where I had the chance to understand people’s behaviour towards food as well as the amount of food that unfortunately has been trough way.

Agriculture and Food are my biggest passions and it would be an honour for me as a young female student to take part in this big event where I would have the opportunity to listen to the voices of food producers, entrepreneurs and representatives of association.

This experience would allow me to gain strong knowledge about agriculture as well as have a better understanding of the current food system in North America. I have already attended a few conferences in Europe regarding food and agriculture, therefore I would like to attend the Advancing Agriculture Conference to understand the differences and similarities between the two continues: America and Europe.

I also would like to create new business contacts for my future career. Indeed, according to my study programme, I must perform a six-month internship in a North American food/agricultural company, therefore this conference could help to get to know new associations or entrepreneurs that are may looking for new interns.

Hannah Mermuys

Dalhousie, 4th Year, Bioveterinary Science

Originally from Prince Edward Island, I grew up on a hobby farm centred around horse training. In my first year at Dalhousie’s Agricultural Campus, I began to learn more about the agricultural industry and developed a greater appreciation for large animal production, particularly dairy. I began working at dairy farms during my summers as well as at equine boarding stables. My interest in animal welfare became a passion as I pursued my degree, and I ultimately decided to pursue a certificate in animal welfare along with an equine science minor.

During my time at university, I had the opportunity to volunteer with many veterinarians. My experience with large animal veterinarians has given me a deep understanding of animal veterinary care. As a result of this experience, my passion for animal welfare and desire to pursue a career in veterinary medicine have been further cemented. I am now in my fourth year of my degree and look forward to graduating from my program and pursuing a career in veterinary medicine.

I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference because I see it as an invaluable opportunity to further immerse myself in the agricultural industry and to expand my knowledge base.

The agricultural sector is dynamic and multifaceted, and I believe that attending this conference will provide me with valuable insights into the current trends, challenges, and innovations within the industry. This knowledge will be instrumental in shaping my career path and allowing me to make informed decisions.
Building a professional network is essential for personal and career growth. I anticipate that the conference will connect me with like-minded individuals, mentors, and industry leaders. These connections can provide guidance, mentorship, and potential opportunities in the field of agriculture, veterinary medicine, and animal welfare.

Hearing from successful women in agriculture can be incredibly motivating. Their stories of overcoming challenges and achieving success can serve as inspiration for my own journey. Learning from their experiences and accomplishments can provide valuable guidance for my career objectives.
The conference may also provide a platform to discuss and advocate for animal welfare, a cause close to my heart. I hope to connect with individuals who share this concern and potentially collaborate on initiatives that promote the humane treatment of animals within the agricultural context.

Fatimatzahra Muhammad

University of Guelph, PhD 1st Year, Animal Breeding and Genetics

My journey is a unique blend of diverse experiences and academic achievements that have shaped my path. In 2015, I made the pivotal decision to return to my homeland, Canada, after spending time in the Middle East in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in behavioral Neuroscience from Laurentian University in Sudbury. Post-graduation I then decided to move south to pursue a master’s in animal Bioscience which led me to the University of Guelph, where I completed a Master’s degree in Equine Physiology. Along the way, I gained practical experience working as a Quality Assurance Technician in a food factory for three years, where my attention to detail and commitment to quality was honed. In addition, for two years, I had the privilege of serving as a tutor and mentor to high school students, contributing to their educational journey. Currently, I am channeling my analytical skills and attention to detail as a Data Entry Specialist at the University of Guelph, a role I have been dedicated to for the past seven months. Concurrently, I am also pursuing my passion for animal science as a Ph.D. student in Animal Breeding and Genetics at the University of Guelph, where I am contributing to cutting-edge research in the field. My history is a testament to my passion for learning and my adaptability, as I continue to evolve and contribute to diverse fields of study and work.

Attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference holds immense potential to inspire and advance my career, especially as a woman in this field. As a dedicated professional in the realm of animal breeding and genetics, this conference provides a unique opportunity to connect with industry leaders, experts, and fellow female trailblazers who have shattered glass ceilings in agriculture. The networking prospects alone can help me establish valuable connections and gain insights into emerging trends and best practices, all while being inspired by the remarkable achievements of women in the industry.

Moreover, the conference’s workshops and sessions on leadership, innovation, and empowerment are not only relevant but also deeply motivating for me as a female professional. By participating in these sessions, I aspire to strengthen my leadership skills and foster innovation within my field, driven by the empowering stories and experiences shared by successful women who have overcome challenges and achieved greatness in agriculture. By attending, I aim to broaden my knowledge, enhance my skill set, and gain the confidence and inspiration needed to make a lasting impact in agriculture, ultimately bolstering my career prospects in a field where women continue to thrive and excel.

Carla Navarro Molina

University of Manitoba, 1st Year, Food Science

I did my Food Science and Technology Bachelor degree in the University of Valencia (Spain) and a Master degree in Food Quality and Safety at the same university. At the same time, I worked in a supermarket on the weekends for 4 years to have some financial independence and be able to pay for my studies. After that, I did an internship at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology in Valencia, in the Food Innovation department. In addition, last year I was working as a Food Technologist in the Food Science Department where I did from sensory analysis with consumers to the study of the rheology and improvement of gels to help people who suffer from dysphagia.

I am interested in attending the Conference because I think it is the best way to make connections with people from different countries and from different fields. Moreover, I want to know how a women can achieve higher positions at a company or in the research field, as we live in a world with gender inequalities. In addition, I want to learn about the experts’ experience and to know how to success and be heard. In my opinion, by attending this conference I will become more confident and empower, as my goal is to become the head of the Food Product Development department in a company.

Ujomonigho Omoregie

University of Guelph, 3rd Year, PhD Plant Agriculture

I am a mother of three and Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph. Prior to my studies at the University of Guelph, I obtained an Undergraduate Diploma in Applied Microbiology (2004), a Bachelor of Science in Botany (2008), and a Master of Science in Genetics (2012), all from the University of Benin, Nigeria. After I graduated with my Bachelor’s in the First-Class Honours Category, I was employed as a Graduate Assistant at the University of Benin, Nigeria, and rose through the ranks to become a Lecturer before immigrating to Canada in 2018. As an Academic at the University of Benin, I taught and supervised undergraduates for their final-year projects and seminar presentations.

Currently, my Ph.D. research at the University of Guelph is on resistance to bacteria brown spot in adzuki beans. The goal of my research is to elucidate the genetic control of resistance/susceptibility to bacteria brown spot in adzuki bean. The knowledge gained from my research will accelerate the development of adzuki bean cultivars that are resistant to bacterial brown spot.

There are often a lot of uncertainties in the mind of a graduate student pertaining to life after studies and career opportunities. Graduate students are often in dire need of mentorship and creating a network with senior colleagues. Moreso when mentors and networks have a clear understanding of the challenge of balancing family and career. I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference to consolidate my confidence in pursuing a career in Agriculture as a woman, and to meet other women who have gone ahead of me in the field of Agriculture, who have shattered the glass ceiling in their profession and to be inspired by them.

As a woman in the Agri sector, it can feel somewhat lonely and intimidating to be in a field dominated by males. Attending a conference where I will have the opportunity to see women with astounding accomplishments in Agriculture, congregating in large numbers will be very motivating.

Christiana Onyinoyi Obari

University of Guelph, PhD student/2nd year, Animal Breeding and Genetics

My name is Christiana Onyinoyi Obari, I am from Nigeria. In 2017, I earned a Bachelor of Technology in Agriculture (Animal Production) from the Federal University of Technology Minna, Nigeria. The program equipped me with skills and knowledge in sustainable livestock production such as nutrition, health, breeding, and genetics. I further had a one-year internship at Massohi Farms and Livestock Development Company in Minna, Nigeria, where I gained hands-on experience in ruminant and fish breeding, and agribusiness. This internship experience propelled my passion for pursuing a career in the specialty of animal breeding and genetics. I also worked as a teaching and research assistant at the Ekiti State University in Nigeria for one year. In this role, I supervised student research work at the farm, helped with teaching, and graded their assignments.

In 2019, I won a European Union (Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters) scholarship, allowing me to pursue a European Master’s in Animal Breeding and Genetics (EMABG) at Georg-August Universität Göttingen, Germany, and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway. I gained skills in population genetics, quantitative genetics, statistical genetics, breeding program design, programming, and data analysis using R Studio. As part of my studies, I conducted a summer project at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria, focusing on the role of animal breeding in global food security. This program highlighted the role of women in animal breeding in achieving sustainable development goals. Additionally, I had a three-month internship at Nu3Gen in Slovakia, where I acquired bioinformatics skills using MATLAB and GALAXY Tools. Currently, I’m a PhD student at the Animal Biosciences Department at the University of Guelph, under the supervision of Prof. Christine Baes. My research focuses on “Developing Genetic Relationship Values to Monitor Genetic Diversity in Canadian Dairy Cattle.” I aim to use novel approaches to manage inbreeding levels in Canadian dairy cattle herds, thereby contributing to the industry’s long-term sustainability.

My career goal is to contribute to sustainable livestock production by applying my knowledge of animal breeding and genetics. I aim to become a reputable researcher, utilizing my expertise in academia, government, and non-government organizations. By leveraging modern technologies and skills, I intend to design and enhance breeding programs, thereby improving livestock health and welfare. Also, I plan to collaborate with farmers and agricultural agencies during my career.

I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference because it offers a great opportunity to connect with female professionals in agricultural research and industry. Networking with women from diverse backgrounds and experiences will help me create partnerships and open career opportunities. These experts will provide guidance on overcoming challenges that women often face in this traditionally male-dominated sector. Additionally, the conference will offer me opportunities to gain valuable insights into the latest trends, technologies, research, and strategies in agriculture. Attending this conference will expand my knowledge base, helping me stay at the forefront of these developments and adapt my career accordingly.

Furthermore, I believe that attending this conference will not only empower me as an individual but also contribute to the broader goal of advancing my role as a woman in agriculture. Thereby, enabling me to be a positive force for change and a passionate advocate for gender equality in this field. In conclusion, the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference presents an ideal platform for me to learn, network, and gain insights into the challenges and opportunities faced by women in agriculture, and grow my career in agriculture. I am confident that the knowledge and connections I will gain from this conference will be instrumental in achieving my career objectives and making a meaningful contribution to the agricultural industry.

Myra Raja

University of Alberta, 5th Year, BSc. Nutrition and Food Science

I am a 5th year student at the University of Alberta, pursuing a BSc. in Nutrition & Food Science with a minor in Global Health. I am the gracious recipient of the Women in STEM scholarship, Dr. Catherine Field Scholarship in Nutrition, Kim Le Scholarship in Nutrition and Food Science, and the Household Economics Class of 1949 Scholarship. Volunteering is a passion I found myself exploring since I was 16 years old. I have held various positions such as a Nursing Ambassador at Misericordia Hospital, raising funds for Doctors without borders (DWB), volunteering and then eventually working at a community pharmacy, and a Wish Granting Assistant at Make-A-Wish (MAW). Due to my previous experience with DWB, I applied to be a director of events for the DWB club on campus and organized online, interactive events during the peak of COVID (March ’20-’21). I was also a part of other campus clubs like Plan International, WiSER (Women in Science, Engineering, and Research), and NUFSSA (Nutrition and Food Science Student’s Association) as a general member. In 2022, I had the opportunity to integrate community service learning into my degree and worked with Edmonton Catholic Schools as a Student Nutrition Educator in a low-income part of town for a grade 4 class to increase their nutrition knowledge and promote healthy eating habits. I also worked with a non-profit, Converse and Cook, to create “Quizines”, which are interactive presentations about food and culture to support newcomers and English language learners to strengthen their speaking skills and make new connections. This year, I am continuing to volunteer with MAW and I volunteer with “Dietitian Directory” to help make a database with private practice dietitians in Canada and United States to make the accessibility for patients to find dietitians in specific practices easier. Through volunteering, I have developed strong leadership, communication, and problem-solving skills and have gained a greater understanding of the importance of giving back. This degree in Nutrition has combined my love of health, well-being, food, community work, gender equity, and public health with science.

I believe the AWC East conference is an amazing opportunity for me, for several compelling reasons. Though I am not an agriculture major, my academic background aligns closely with the conference’s mission to empower women in agribusiness, showcasing the vital role women play in various sectors, including food production and nutrition. I have taken classes about land resource economics and sustainable agriculture, which have given me a solid understanding of the broader agricultural landscape. I have a deep appreciation for the entire food supply chain, from production to consumption and I am excited to explore the intersections between my field and the agricultural industry at AWC East 2023. My passion for health, well-being, and food, combined with my commitment to gender equity, makes me an enthusiastic advocate for women’s contributions in agriculture. Additionally, my diverse volunteer experiences have equipped me with strong communication and leadership skills, making me well-prepared to engage with the AWC East community, share insights, and learn from fellow attendees. Moreover, as someone who has actively participated in community-based nutrition education and worked with diverse populations, I appreciate the conference’s focus on promoting healthy habits and its potential to offer valuable insights and connections that can benefit both my academic pursuits and future career in nutrition. Lastly, my interest in global health and community engagement resonates with the conference’s emphasis on networking, sharing experiences, and exploring innovative ideas to build a stronger future—qualities that I believe will greatly enrich my educational and professional journey in Nutrition and Food Science.

Caroline Reisiger

University of Guelph, 1st Year, PhD/Plant Agriculture

I grew up in a rural community on a Christmas tree farm along the Grand River in Ontario. I have always been interested in plants and agriculture and decided early I wanted to go to the University of Guelph (UG) to study because of their excellent agriculture programming. I received my BSc in Plant Science with a minor in Nutrition and Nutraceutical Science in 2020, as well as my MSc in Plant Biology in 2022 at UG. In January of 2023 I began a PhD program with Dr. Kim Schneider working on a project involving optimizing polymer coated urea rates for desired economic and environmental outcomes, including an investigation into how nitrogen influences root biomass and soil organic carbon sequestration in a pasture setting. As an additional component to my PhD, I have been assisting in the coordination of a grazing focus group which is part of an OMAFRA project and includes 18 farmers from across Ontario who graze dairy, beef, or sheep on their pastures. One of the goals of this project is to gather grass growth and pasture utilization data, which is lacking in our region.

In addition to my formal education in a variety of plant sciences, I have held several positions related to my studies, and currently work as a field technician (in addition to my own PhD project) at the Elora research station, assisting in the planting, fertilizing, and harvesting of other forage crop trials. Additionally, I am a teaching assistant for a botany course, one of several which I have been helping with since I started grad school in 2020. I also held a work-study position in the UG Phytotron from 2018-2022, calibrating growth chambers, cleaning greenhouses and assisting researchers with their greenhouse trials. Outside of UG, I worked for rare Charitable Research Reserve in Cambridge, Ontario as a vegetation ecologist (2020 field season), for the UG Integrative Biology Department as a plant ecology field technician (2019 field season) and for Green Venture in Hamilton, ON, as a gardener for their organic community garden and grounds (2018 field season).

When I saw this conference advertised online, I became very interested in attending. I feel that women have a lot to contribute to the field, and I want to participate in an event that captures that feeling. I love teaching and research, and am hoping to combine the two in a traditional academic role such as professor. Although I have a broad range of plant science experience, it is very concentrated at UG and I would like to attend this conference to make connections outside my bubble and expand my network. This will help me to gain a better perspective on the field of agriculture in Canada. I hope to learn from some of the more experienced members of the agriculture community and practice my elevator pitch skills in a conference setting. Due to pandemic restrictions, I haven’t had many opportunities to attend conferences and am looking for every chance to take part in and enjoy these unique experiences.

McKenna Richardson

McGill University (MacDonald Campus), 3rd Year, Farm Management and Technology

My name is McKenna Richardson from a small town called Shawville, Quebec. I come from a small cow-calf farm that I plan to take over and expand with my brother upon my graduation of the Farm Management and Technology program I am currently studying. I am in my third and final year of post secondary education. Before attending McGill I studied “Community and Justice Services” at Algonquin College in Ottawa, Ontario with the dream of becoming a psychologist in a jail. I quickly realized it was not for me and that I needed to study something that would allow me to immerse myself in agriculture for the rest of my life. Throughout high school I baby sat, catered, and then worked at our local Giant Tiger. Then after high school I worked alongside my sister at her home daycare, then went to work at the Ministry of Agriculture for a summer before starting school at McGill. I now work part-time on a family run dairy farm in my area when I am home from school.

I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference because it is a wonderful way to build connections with women in the agriculture industry. I was lucky enough to attend last year through the student program and I regularly think back to things discussed throughout last years conference and reflect on them in my day to day life. I think building connections and relationships with women in the industry is so important because it provides a group to lean into when you have questions, need someone to bounce ideas off of, learn from, and for so many more reasons. The program will benefit my career objective because it will allow me to meet people and create a network that I can continue to grow.

Darya Sadat Tabatabaei

University of Guelph, Graduate Research Assistant, 2nd Year, Master of Science/Plant Agriculture

In 2019, I moved to Canada from Iran. Before this, I had completed my bachelor’s degree in Agriculture and Industrial Food Science Technology, which provided me with fundamental knowledge in agriculture, food safety, quality assurance, and basic laboratory skills. Following that, in 2021, I successfully completed the Cannabis Regulation and Quality Assurance Graduate Certificate Program at Seneca College. My primary aim was to contribute to addressing the challenges within the cannabis industry. After nearly a century of restrictions and prohibitions on cannabis, this program was valuable as it shifted my perspective on the current issues faced by the cannabis sector. Throughout this program, I gained comprehensive insights into various aspects of the cannabis industry, including relevant acts and regulations, cannabis horticulture, and production in accordance with GMP and GDP standards.

Through my internship in this program, I developed a keen interest in plant propagation and micropropagation, particularly in the context of cannabis. Countless hours were dedicated to learning about cannabis propagation in the tissue culture lab. Recognizing the growing demand for experts in this field and the limited existing research, I pursued admission to the Plant Agriculture Graduate program at the University of Guelph, under the supervision of Professor Max Jones, to expand my knowledge and passion, aiming to address today’s challenges confronting the cannabis industry.

I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference due to its reputation for fostering empowerment, networking, and growth within the agricultural sector. As a woman in cannabis agriculture, I am enthusiastic about seizing opportunities to enhance my skills, expand my knowledge, and connect with professionals with similar experiences and aspirations.

The Conference aligns perfectly with my career objective of contributing meaningfully to the agricultural industry. Through participation, I hope to gain valuable insights into the latest trends, innovations, and best practices especially in biotechnology companies. The diverse range of workshops, sessions, and panels offered by the Conference promises to provide me with a broader perspective on the challenges and opportunities facing today’s agriculture sector and not limited to the cannabis industry. Furthermore, attending this Conference would enable me to establish meaningful connections with professionals, mentors, and peers to open doors to collaborations, partnerships, and mentorship that would be beneficial for advancing my career.

Lorraine Vandermyden

University of Guelph, 2nd Year, MSc Environmental Science

I am a Guelph native, and being from the city I was not exposed to agriculture growing up. Despite this, from a young age I was passionate about environmental science, conservation, and food security. These passions inspired me to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph. I graduated with this degree in 2022. Following this degree, I decided to pursue a Master of Science in Environmental Science also at the University of Guelph. I am currently in my second year of this degree working under Drs John Lauzon and Claudia Wagner Riddle. My research is looking at the impacts of nitrification inhibitors and cover crops on nitrous oxide emission in winter wheat production in Southern Ontario. Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture is imperative to building a more sustainable and resilient food system, and I am extremely excited that my research will be able to contribute to reaching these goals.
Since my Bachelor’s degree, my passion for agriculture has done nothing but grow. I have worked in the industry, on several dairy farms as well as through an internship with OSCIA and as a research technician at the university. I am currently working part time at the Arrell Food Institute assisting on a project looking at implementing agriculture technology to work towards net zero emissions. I have also been actively involved in agriculture related extracurriculars, some of which include the Women in Agriculture Club at the U of G, as well as currently serving as the President for the Ontario Agriculture College Graduate Student Council. I hope to continue to stay involved in the industry as my career progresses!

Attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference would provide me with an amazing opportunity to continue to develop my professional network and connect with like minded individuals. I have been so lucky thus far to have worked with so many amazing women who have inspired me to continue to pursue my education and passion in the industry. Being able to connect with more women like this would be an enriching experience, allowing me to continue to build confidence as I look to enter the workforce in the coming months.

Hannah Woodhouse

University of Guelph, 3rd Year, PhD Population Medicine

I grew up on a family-operated dairy farm in rural Grey County with my 3 younger sisters and parents. Although dairy is our main farm operation, we have many other livestock animals including sheep, chickens, pigs, and honeybees. I decided to go to Guelph for post-secondary education because of its strong academic and athletic programs (I was a varsity distance runner). I aspired to become a physician at the time, so I enrolled in Guelph’s Biomedical Sciences undergraduate program in 2016. However, shortly after I moved away from my farm, I realized how much I missed agriculture in my life, and how important it was to me to stay connected in that field. I decided to declare a minor in Nutritional and Nutraceutical Sciences which allowed me to take more animal-focussed courses while still completing my Biomedical Sciences degree. As part of my University of Guelph President’s Scholarship, I was granted a paid summer research position in a field of my choice and chose to work with a dairy professor in the Population Medicine Department at the University of Guelph to study an emerging milk quality concern of free fatty acids in milk. I was passionate about this research, so I decided to continue this work by enrolling in a master’s degree after graduating in 2020. In 2021, my project expanded, and I transferred to a PhD. Throughout my degrees, I have published scientific articles and have attended and presented my agricultural research at local, regional, and international conferences.

Throughout my lifetime I have been involved in many agricultural activities and community clubs. I completed 11 years in the 4-H program and finished over 35 clubs holding various executive positions. I have been a member of Gay Lea Foods for my lifetime and have worked as a member relations student, attended their Cooperative Young Leaders camps, and am currently a selected member of their Co-operative Leadership Program group. I have served as a fair ambassador for two agricultural societies and competed at the Canadian National Exhibition ambassadors of the fair competition. I have previous work experience at multiple farms, veterinary clinics, a hospital, and a pharmacy. I also lifeguard and teach aquatic fitness classes and participate in university clubs and organizations on campus. My additional hobbies include outdoor activities and long-distance running, and I was a past member of Team Canada competing at the Pan-American and World Cross Country Championships.

I attended the AWC East in 2019 when I was in my undergraduate degree and had such an amazing experience. However, I was not enrolled in an agricultural program at the time and had little conference experience. Now that I have been through grad school for an agricultural degree, I believe that I could further benefit from the experience of attending the AWC East. I would love the opportunity to connect with fellow students and attendees to share my agriculture and academic journey and hear theirs. The speaker line-up for this event looks amazing, and I believe that I will benefit significantly from listening and interacting with these inspirational women. I am nearing the end of my Ph.D., and networking at conferences like AWC East is so helpful in making connections that may lead me to my future career path. I love learning more about agriculture, and the strong and influential presence that women are making in this field. I would be absolutely honoured to be a recipient of this scholarship and attend this year’s conference.