Ag university and college students and sponsors come together at AWC!
Two things make the AWC Student program successful:
- 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.
- 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!
Are you a student that would like to apply for Sponsorship?
Applications are now closed for AWC WEST 2023! Thank you to our students—we can’t wait to meet you at the conference!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Applicants WEST 2023
University of British Columbia—Final Year, Masters of Food and Resource Economics
I am an Agricultural and Food Economist, passionate about Agriculture and Food Security. I grew up in a country where most agricultural policies are often not favorable for women, even though they are the most participant in farming activities. My quest to positively represent and lend my voice in favor of women in agriculture as well as my passion for food security has instilled in me a yearn to have a career in Agricultural and Food Economics. I have earned a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. In the fourth year of my undergraduate studies, I worked as an intern at the university’s farm where I got hand-on skills in pre-planting, planting and post-planting operations of staple foods. I was also a volunteer at ROTNED – a non-governmental organization in Nigeria whose aim is targeted towards improving the lives of the less privileged in the rural areas, most especially distributing food to food insecure people.
In addition to my educational background, I possess quality instructional experience as reflected during the compulsory one-year National Youth Service, where I serve as the Agricultural science instructor for about eighty junior secondary school students. I am currently a master’s student of Food and Resource Economics at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver where I am researching on the effect of rental housing on low-income household food accessibility. Also, I recently started a role as Food Security Outreach Coordinator of the Acadia Park Food Hub of the University of British Columbia. My duties include identifying the needs of UBC students and conducting research on the impact of food insecurity on their wellbeing as well as providing them with important information on the food security resources available on campus.
My interest is really piqued about attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference because I am confidence that the gathering will provide me with opportunity to update my personal library of new industry trends that I am currently unaware of. I will also be able to meet and make new connections and most importantly get to hear at first hand from top-notch professionals in the field about their experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly. I am aware that there is a paradigm shift in almost every sector in the world today leaning towards the call for women to occupy various positions. I am thrilled that Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference is also one of these great platforms that provide opportunities to women to occupy great position and I am happy to be part of this important campaign. I strongly believe that the conference will help me to create good network with professionals in the industry which will in turn assist me to achieve my career goals of becoming a researcher and a consultant whose main concern is developing a multidisciplinary approach to solving food insecurity.
Olds College—2nd Year, Agriculture Management
I have been fortunate enough to be immersed in agriculture for my entire life. I was born and raised on a farm just ten minutes southeast of Three Hills, AB. My family has been involved in agriculture for generations. My dad, his siblings, and his parents ran a turkey, grain, and cow/calf operation. Throughout the years our farm has shifted focus and now we are primarily a cow/calf operation. I was an avid member of the Three Hills Ghost Pine 4-H club for seven years. I began my 4-H career raising market lambs, then once I was in junior high I raised both market beef and market lamb projects. By high school, I decided to stick to market beef projects. As a result of raising market lambs in 4-H, I decided to start a flock of sheep. My dad and my brother helped me with this flock for many years and by the time I was in my last two years of high school, I was managing the flock by myself. I currently am involved in the cow/calf operation at home along with my dad and brothers.
I am currently in my second year of studies in the Agricultural Management diploma program at Olds College. In this program, I am majoring in Agricommerce and enjoying every minute of it. While taking this program, I have strived for success and managed to maintain a high GPA throughout the semesters. I have been accepted back to Olds College for the fall of 2023 to take the Bachelor of Applied Science Degree – in Agribusiness. In terms of work experience, I have worked on my farm for many years. I am also a nationally recognized Skate Canada coach, coaching figure skating in both the Three Hills and Carstairs communities. This past summer, I was employed as an agribusiness student for Richardson Pioneer in Three Hills. I thoroughly enjoyed this and the many different experiences I had in this position.
The Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference is such a wonderful opportunity for every woman in the agriculture industry. This is a great chance to listen, learn from, and connect with fellow women who share a passion for agriculture. AWC would be very beneficial to me as a young woman looking to start her journey through the industry. I would like to acquire skills and gain knowledge and insight that will assist me in my career path. As I am looking to become more heavily involved in the ag industry, it would be very beneficial to listen to different perspectives and new ideas that will be shared at this conference. Networking is a large part of being a young student looking to launch themselves into the ag industry. By attending this conference, I would have such a great opportunity to take part in networking. Doing this will help me to create connections with those already making their way in the industry. This will most likely be a factor that contributes to my future career, and meeting the goals that I have set for myself.
Olds College—3rd Year, Bachelor of Applied Science in Agri-Business
I am currently 21 years old and grew up in Blackfalds, Alberta. Coming from a family heavily immersed in the Agriculture Industry, I took a specific interest in horses. I started riding lessons when I was 7 years old, and received my own horse at age 12. I was always interested in rodeo and attended my first rodeo in Rimbey, Alberta where I would later represent them as the 2018 Rimbey Rodeo Princess. My year in Rimbey was very enjoyable, and in 2022 I decided to run for Miss Rodeo Sundre. I was successful in the competition, and am now the current 2022 Miss Rodeo Sundre. This role involves acting as a public figure and role model which includes attending community events, fundraisers, and rodeos.
Growing up I was involved with competitive dance, as well as competitive figure skating and volunteered as an assistant coach with the Blackfalds skating club for almost ten years, as well as served on their committee. Throughout my high school and college years, I worked a variety of retail and customer service jobs to generate income to pay for school expenses and afford to pay for my horse. Some of these jobs included Sobeys in highschool, Mark’s Work WearHouse seasonally over Christmas of 2022, and Lammles Western Wear from 2019 until currently. My passion for agriculture led me to Olds College where I graduated in 2022 with my diploma in Agricultural Management. I am now working towards my Bachelor of Applied Science in Agribusiness. In the future I hope to obtain my accounting designation through CPA Alberta, and specialize in Ag Accounting. I am currently an employee for the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association where I hold the Payout Lead position. In my spare time I enjoy breakaway roping, hiking, camping, and spending time with friends and family.
Advancing Women in Agriculture seems like an amazing opportunity for a number of reasons. The main reason that I am interested in attending the conference is my love and passion for the agriculture industry. The conference seems like a great opportunity to connect with others that are interested in, or involved in the industry. It would not only be great to talk with students that have the same interests, but also those involved in the industry who are able to share their experiences. With my main interest being agriculture accounting, it would be beneficial if I was able to meet someone involved in that industry that can share some insight with me to help me with my future plans. I have heard many great things about the conference, and am hoping I will be able to experience all it has to offer.
Olds College—3rd Year, Bachelor of Applied Science – Agribusiness
Hi, my name is Amy Fossheim. I grew up on a cow-calf operation, where I was active in the everyday operations of the farm. I participated the local 4-H club for 9 years and today I am still active in volunteering within the club and district.
After graduating high school I attended Olds College where I took the Agricultural Management, majoring in Agricommerce. There I was a part of the Aggies club and attended conferences like Ag-Tech. During the summers in between my school years, I worked at Richardson Pioneer and stayed at home and worked on the farm.
Once I graduated from Olds College I made the decision to attend the University of Lethbridge. For two years, I worked on getting my Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Studies. During the two summers in between the school years, I worked for my county as a Weed Inspector.
After some hard hard discussions, I made the decision to go back to Olds College for their Bachelor of Applied Science in Agribusiness. During this year I have had many opportunities like attending Agribition to represent Olds College as a Student Delegate.
I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference because I would love to hear from and meet other women in the agricultural industry, who also has similar interests as me. I want to learn from those who have been in similar areas and how they overcome their challenges to succeed in their areas. I believe that this conference will help introduce me to other careers that I may not have thought of before and be a great opportunity to network with industry professionals.
University of Alberta—PhD Student, 3rd Year, MSc Poultry Nutrition
I am an animal scientist, passionate about agriculture and animal nutrition. I grew up in the city and did not have much contact with farm animals; however, I always wanted to work with them. When I discovered the animal science course, I finally found myself. I completed my bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Brazil, both in the Department of Animal Science at the Federal University of Parana. During my undergrad, I interned in the Department of Poultry Science at North Carolina State University. During that time, I was involved in conducting nutrition experiments with broilers and laying hens and in the daily routine of the lab (animal handling and lab analysis). In my master’s, I worked as a research assistant and supervised the university’s experimental hatchery. I conducted 4 commercial trials for feed additive companies developing and testing new products for poultry. For all these experiments, I had to formulate the diets, collect & analyze data, interpret results and provide feedback to the companies. Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Alberta, Canada. My thesis research focuses on evaluating potential feed additives to replace antibiotic growth promoters in broiler chicken diets. I also have been a teaching assistant for 3 consecutive years at UofA, teaching undergrad students the principles of animal nutrition, poultry nutrition and feed formulation.
I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference because I believe women can do extraordinary things for our industry when given the opportunity to connect with and support each other. Although women have always played an incredibly important role in agriculture (directly and indirectly), we are not recognized as we deserve. Gradually, this scenario has been changing, and we are conquering our space by proving that we can lead, solve, create opportunities, and share the labour force with excellence, passion, and empathy. Thus, this event will be an opportunity to help us make connections inspire and be inspired by other women in our field. Together we can be the change we want to see.
After completing my Ph.D., I intend to work with research & development in the poultry industry. Thus, attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference could help me to enhance my confidence as a woman working in an area where men are still the majority. It will also be an opportunity to create new professional connections and find opportunities to achieve my career goals.
Olds College of Agriculture and Technology—3rd Year, Agribusiness
A pleasure to meet you! I am Akara Goldson- Deacon. I am an international student from Jamaica. I am 3rd a student at the Olds College of Agriculture and Technology. pursuing a Bachelor of Applied Science Degree in Agribusiness. I have studied internationally in Jamaica and China majoring in General Agriculture and Agricultural Engineering respectfully. I have a number of work experiences being a Resident Assistant at the college as the most current. I have worked as an Independent Project Contractor at MLR Technology, Financial Analyst Intern at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) in Jamaica.
I am enthusiastic about attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference 2023, as I believe it is a good avenue to reiterate women’s leadership needed for young people in the agricultural industry like myself. I would love to embrace and invest in the exposure of knowledge and invaluable exposure that the AWC will provide. I would also love the opportunities to build relationships, lead, and network.
Olds College, 2nd Year, Agriculture Production
I am a farm girl from a mixed operation (grain and cow-calf) in east central Alberta. I’ve spent most of my life mainly involved with my family’s commercial angus herd but will help out wherever I can on the farm. Through my high school’s off-campus program I completed the Green Certificate cow-calf beef production technical program. Participating in this gave me an opportunity to broaden my cattle knowledge and improve my skills hand on. I am currently in the 2nd year of the Agriculture Management Diploma, majoring in production. I plan to continue my education by taking the college’s Bachelor Of Applied Science – Agribusiness program next year.
I would like to attend and be involved in the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference because I believe that it would be a fantastic opportunity to network with like minded people and learn from other industry women. I hope to gain tools to grow both personally and professionally.
After I finish my schooling I plan to have a career in the agriculture industry and in the future become an industry leader whether it’s through research, finance, sales and marketing or production. Ideally, I would love a job in the livestock or forage sector because I am passionate about these sectors and find them very interesting. I believe that interacting with and listening to leading women in the agriculture industry will give me a wonderful insight into how to achieve my career goals.
Olds College, 1st Year, Agricultural Management, Production Major
Hello, my name is Faye Hecktor. I have worked in the agriculture sector for the last six years. My father has a consulting business called Y Not Goats Agro Services. It is a business that focuses on soil and plant health and getting the most out of your crops. I have been involved in all aspects of the business. Last year I had the opportunity to attend college and gain more education in this area. I learned many things in my first semester and will continue to in the next year. When I am finished, I will take the Certified Crop Advisor exam and continue to be involved in my father’s business.
I am interested in attending The Advancing Woman in Agriculture conference because, I think there would be many opportunities to meet some fantastic and encouraging woman with advice that would pertain to me. I believe starting a business can be a challenging and rewarding experience for anyone, and this is especially true for woman in Agriculture. In a male dominated industry, woman face unique challenges and obstacles, but with determination, challenging work and the right skills and knowledge, woman can succeed as business owners in Agriculture. At the conference I would put myself in direct contact with woman who have proven and successfully established themselves in this career sector. It is important to have role models and mentors, someone to talk to about their trials and tribulations. After graduation at Olds College, I plan to have my own Agriculture Consulting Business. I have the potential to bring unique perspective and service skills to the industry. With the knowledge I have gained from both College and the Advancing Woman in Agriculture conference I will be able to provide valuable services to farmers and other stakeholders. By leveraging my expertise and my network I can help my clients grow their business and succeed in an increasingly competitive and complex industry. However, starting a consulting business in Agriculture requires more than just expertise. It requires a strong work ethic, good business sense and a willingness to take risks. I need to be able to identify opportunities, make strategic decisions and navigate the challenges and obstacles that arise along the way. The potential rewards of starting a consulting business in Agriculture are significant. With my own business, I have more control over my career and financial future. I can work on my own terms, and on projects that are more meaningful and fulfilling to me. I can also use my business as a platform to advocate for woman in Agriculture and promote gender equality in the industry.
In conclusion, starting my own business in Agriculture is a challenging, but rewarding experience. With the right skills, knowledge, and determination, I can succeed as a business owner in this important industry. By leveraging my expertise, networks, and passion for agriculture, I can make a positive impact and create a brighter future for myself, my daughters, my granddaughters, and our communities.
University of British Columbia, 2nd Year, Applied Animal Biology/transitioning to Global Resource Systems
I am an ecology enthusiast and am the president of a rooftop garden at the University of British Columbia. My passion for ecological interactions, food security and urban agriculture intersect at Roots on the Roof, as well as the experience gained throughout creating an urban farm in central Indiana in high school.
As someone passionate about veterinary science, it is often thought to be a weird interest to be so involved in urban agriculture, but it is my firm belief that urban agriculture and animal ecology are not separate, and nor should they be considered that way. As such, I work to connect my seemingly diverse interests in animals, plants and ecology, and holistically teach new cohorts of urban farmers.
I hope that I can further develop my skills in agriculture with an emphasis on mentoring others and other ways of knowing at this conference. Agriculture is an essential part of how I view the world, and viewing ecology through an agricultural lens was career-changing for me. Being able to connect with other women who understand the value of using an agriculture-informed lens to view the world and shape policy is critical for tomorrow’s society.
University of British Columbia, Bachelors of Science in Applied Biology; Majoring in Sustainable Agriculture and Environment
For as long as I can remember, agriculture and farming have been the center of my being. When my maternal family came from India in 1914 they made a living and survived by becoming dairy farmers. I come from a long history of farmers and grew up on a raspberry and blueberry farm myself. Living on a farm and producing food for the globe is an absolute honor and privilege that I do not take for granted. It has taught me that hard work, dedication and perseverance are key factors to success. After being immersed in the agriculture industry for so long, I decided to follow my passion and am currently pursuing a degree in Applied Biology (Majoring in Sustainable Agriculture and Environment. Throughout my education I have studied and learned much about the current issues farmers are facing in regards to the sustainability and longevity of farming systems. Issues based around soil science (infertility, contamination, degradation) and crop production fuel my desire for further knowledge in the area as I know first hand how these issues affect farmers. My schooling has taught me developed ideas which researchers know successfully combat these issues, but it has also introduced phenomena which are less understood yet have the potential to be even more successful. These less developed ideas are what drive my passion to create change and make a more positive future for next generation farmers. The change that research brings to the agriculture industry is so important, which is why I applied for and recently completed my research practicum position at the UBC Dairy Education and Research Center (D.E.R.C).
Working with the Health and Reproduction team at the UBC D.E.R.C was the greatest experience I have ever had. During my time here, my main responsibility was collecting blood samples from two automated milking system commercial farms. These data samples were used to determine how automated milking systems affect Ketosis and Glucose levels in cows after calving. However, in the grand scheme of my practicum, this was only a small aspect of the overall research. In addition to blood samples, I also had the opportunity to learn how to palpate and ultrasound cows in order to check for pregnancies and confirm heat signs. Checking for heat signs using the diary softwares (ie. Afi, BouMatic, Dairy Comp) was also a daily task I performed at the farm. It was fascinating to understand all the different complexities that go into deciding if a cow should be bred or if their heat signs were real. Alongside my research, daily chores were also a large part of my time here. Chores included nightly calving checks and chasing for daily milking. I also took it upon myself to learn how actual milking works as well simply because I was so intrigued by the system. The whole operation of dairy farms was astonishing to me. Every morning I woke up excited and eager to find out what I was going to learn that day. It was at the UBC dairy that I found my new passion for animal agriculture. Even now, after I have completed my practicum, the experience consumes me; I find myself constantly thinking about problems with no solutions and wanting to return to the farm and continue researching. As the dairy industry progresses there are so many unknowns that the farmers are experiencing. Now that I have a better understanding of issues and operations I want to help find the answers to the unknowns that farmers desperately require.
A difficult thought I often find myself having is, “Where do I belong in agriculture?” I never truly understood why I always thought this as afterall, I grew up a farm child and always just wanted to get my hands dirty; doesn’t that mean I’d fit in agriculture anywhere? However, I have recently come to realize that the reason I have such trouble imaging and seeing myself in certain positions is because they have never been seen as positions fit for a female. I truly admit that my drive and passion for agriculture is like no other; still, I feel as if I have no direction. I often picture myself in an office position or lab position when I know in my soul I was meant to be out in the field. The Agriculture Womens conference would definitely help give me guidance about where in this industry I belong. It would give me the confidence to truly believe I can thrive and succeed in any part of agriculture because I am beyond capable instead of settling for a career because it seems fitting for my gender.
It would be such an honour to meet women in the agriculture industry who are already confident in their careers and pathways. To hear their stories, advice and wisdom would definitely affect the trajectory of my thoughts (for the better). In order for myself to feel like I belong where I am, I know I need someone to tell me I am in the right place. I believe that hearing it from these women would be truly inspiring for myself.While at the UBC farm, I had many farmers and colleagues suggest I pursue a career in animal/ dairy herd nutrition. This made me want to discuss the option with those working in the nutrition field. I took the initiative to talk to some of the commercial dairy farm nutritionists. Miranda (a female) was the head nutritionist at Hoek Holsteins and she chatted with me about the idea of me becoming a nutritionist. Her words and her knowledge were so inspiring to me. I felt like a little kid star struck by a celebrity; I remember thinking, “I want to be just like Miranda”. I did not want our conversation to end and I can’t help but wonder, if that’s what one woman in agriculture can do for me, a whole conference filled with these women could very well help me shatter every glass ceiling above me.
Olds College, 2nd Year, Production/Agricultural Management
My name is Susana Johnson, I am 30 years old. I come from an organic grain farm near Francis Saskatchewan., My family has owned and operated a grain farm for over 100 yrs. My dad has been an organic grain farmer for over 35 years. Beside growing up on a farm, I have no personal experience working on a farm, but I do have a similar passion and drive as my father does. We both love the idea of growing our food, and helping feed our communities with good whole nutritious food. We both want to be part of a solution and not the problem. I had worked 8 years working as an insurance broker, During those years I fell in love working with farmers specifically when making sure I am there and helping them to find the right solutions in any way towards their needs when it comes to insuring items on their farms. I enjoy problem solving, and I am very good in communicating effectively with individuals in the ag industry, I enjoy being part of the solution. I am currently enrolled in the Ag Management program here at Olds College, taking production courses to further advance my knowledge about agriculture.
The AWC conference is a way to social network with other women to just like me and want to be part of a solution, and make their mark in the ag industry. This is a way for me to learn more about what other opportunities are out there and that I can pursue. I will hear many success stories about other women and what challenges they were faced with and how they were able to overcome them. I am hoping that this conference can provide helpful insights so I can apply them to my own success. I will like to become an agronomist one day just so I can help farmers overcome their challenges they face in their field each year.
The University of British Columbia—Master’s Student, 1st Year, Land and Water Systems
I am an agriculture scientist, passionate about researching on sustainable agriculture, waste management and urban farming. I grew up in a small village in Punjab where most families work in the agriculture sector. Over the years, in my community, the unregulated use of fertilizers/ pesticides in farms has caused immense economic loss, depleted soil health and deteriorated groundwater quality. Therefore, with a mindset of bringing change and using science as a tool to spread awareness, I decided to take Agriculture Sciences for my Undergraduate studies. Throughout my academic journey, I have tried to spend most of my time gaining hands-on experience in farms or engaging with the community by organizing agriculture extension programs that focused on educating the rural community about sustainable farming practices.
Consequently, for my undergraduate project, I researched on comparing the organic and chemical-based farming systems, using intercropping of pulses and cereals to examine the effect on soil health. This research project embarked my interest to know more about ecosystem connectivity and micro-scale soil processes. As a result, I decided to pursue my Master’s in Land and Water Systems at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver where I am researching the potential of designing Urban farms in densified developing cities. Additionally, I am working as an Administration and Farm Assistant with Fresh roots Urban Farm Society, Vancouver where my duty is to manage and establish urban farms in thriving communities of Vancouver.
I keenly want to participate in the Advancing women in agriculture conference because I believe it will be an empowering experience as all the passionate women in agriculture, will unite to exchange ideas and perspectives about the future of agriculture and the food industry. Also, it will be a great opportunity for me to meet and hear impactful personalities and get inspired by their journey. Most importantly, AWC is a huge networking platform that can help me to build new connections with industry professionals, entrepreneurs and future leaders in green business who can further guide me toward vast possibilities of advancing my career into agriculture research and environmental consultancy and can take me one step closer to achieving my goal of helping the agriculture community back home.
University of Alberta—Masters Student, 1st Year, Animal Science
Being raised by poultry farmers in a rural community in Nigeria, my passion for making a difference in the prevailing global issue of food insecurity, inspired me to pursue a career in agriculture. This is a passion that has informed all my academic decisions. I enrolled in a 2-year diploma program in Agricultural Technology at Kabba College of Agriculture, Nigeria, as soon as I graduated from high school. Right in the middle of my Diploma program, I got an internship placement at the Livestock Research Farm, Kabba College of Agriculture, in the Poultry Department where I reared broiler chickens for commercial production. Also, I had the opportunity to work under the supervision of a veterinarian in conducting ante-mortem and post-mortem examinations of farm animals at the city’s abattoir. I proceeded to further my educational path in Agriculture, by completing my bachelor’s degree in Animal Science in the University of Ilorin, Nigeria. I worked at the University Farm as an intern while pursuing my undergraduate degree, where I reared laying hens from hatching to the point of lay.
Just before I moved to Canada, I took a teaching job as an agricultural instructor in a high school where I taught agricultural science to high school students. I assisted in the construction of the school farm and promoted agricultural involvement amongst the students.
Currently, I am a master’s student of Animal Science in the University of Alberta. My research focuses on the response of broiler chickens to different maternal growth patterns.
The Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference has a culture of bringing together women in agriculture and food. This is to ensure a lasting alliance and build a platform where crucial information is shared to support each other and enhance the proficiency of the industry, and I would love to be a part of it. I strongly believe that the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference will be a great opportunity for me to network with influential stakeholders and meet other professionals and young agricultural enthusiasts like me, to advance my career goals. My career goal is to become an early career researcher in poultry production and nutrition. Despite having been in Canada for less than a year, I believe that Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference will provide me with a valuable opportunity to learn from leaders, business experts and industry representatives to advance my career here.
Olds College, 3rd Year, BAS in Agribusiness
I am from a small cow/calf farm in the Fraser valley of British Columbia. I have been around cattle, horses and farming for the majority of my life and am extremely passionate about the agriculture industry. This is why I decided to move to Alberta to go to Olds College to expand my knowledge on agriculture and make more connections with those in the industry. I am currently in my third year at Olds College taking the Bachelor of Applied Science Degree for Agribusiness. Last year I completed the Agricultural Management Diploma majoring in production at Olds College. My previous work experience includes working at AFSC as a summer student in client care which was an amazing experience and furthered my interest in finance. I also worked a summer conducting crop research which was very interesting. When I am at home, I help take care of the farm by managing cattle nutrition, helping with calving, exercising horses and all that entails running a farm. I hope to gain more experience in the agricultural finance industry and to one day have my own farm in Alberta.
I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference as I am passionate about the industry and I would like to network with others who have the same interests. I am interested in working in the Agricultural Finance industry so I would like to talk to other people in this industry to gain advice and possibly find some interesting career opportunities. I am also passionate on the beef sector so it would be great to connect with other beef producers and discuss the industry and their management practices. I have heard from others who have attended this conference in the past that it was an incredible experience which also adds to my desire to attend. Overall, I believe this conference will greatly help me with my future career objectives and allow me to develop some amazing connections with other women in ag.
Olds College, 1st Year, Agriculture Management Diploma Production Major
My name is Tonisha, talking about my background as a born and raised Albertan in the Agriculture industry is so empowering!
Growing up I lived the small town life, with multiple grandparents in the Agriculture industry. Going to their farms was always so much fun for me, I loved being around livestock and helping as much as I could as a young child. Both operations were very different; one mutton with hay crop and the other being swine and largely cereal crops, I knew from the age of 5 that being in the Agriculture sector is exactly how I would spend my life no matter when or how I got there, being that my family members sold out of agriculture when I was a teenager. I love the outdoors and animals/livestock; two of my favourite things in life, as a career and lifestyle? How perfect!
Into my adult life I then lived and worked on a mixed operation of a commercial cattle herd and cereal crops, for 3+ years. I fell for agriculture even more. I have seen the highs and lows of this industry, it is an amazing experience no matter what. This industry is that of one big community. I have also worked at two feedlots learning about cattle and crop from another perspective.
I graduated high school with my diploma in Calgary, Alberta in 2012. I am currently attending Olds College in my first year of the Agriculture Management Diploma with a major in production. I have learned so much in this program and I am eager to learn more to then pursue my career in the Livestock Nutrition sector.
I am extremely interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference because I have heard great things about the experience and knowledge that is given. There are a few female influencers that I follow on social media that have attended this conference and shared all about their experiences.
I think that being a woman in agriculture is an amazing concept in itself, solely because it is male dominant. Changing the world of agriculture is something that I hope to be a part of and constantly learn in.
I believe attending this conference will benefit my career as I hope to own an agribusiness for Livestock Nutrition. I want to learn more about the industry, communication, operations and of course, being a woman through all of it! I believe this conference is a way for women to be more involved and looked up to one another and growing! Equality is important, therefore I believe this conference will help me be more confident in that and teach me some valuable lessons in becoming a leader and future business owner.
I am looking forward to attending and learning from strong-minded women!
Olds College, 3rd Year, AgriBusiness
My name is Kelsey Ratzlaff. I grew up in a tight nit farming community in Alberta on a small dairy farm that transitioned into a commercial beef operation. This community fostered an appreciation for the agriculture industry. I love helping my friends and neighbours and learning something new about each sector. In my own time, I garden, forage, preserve, bake, travel and fish.
I am a graduate of the Agricultural Business Management diploma at Olds College(class of 2020). This course gave me the tools to start my pursuit of agronomy. I was able to learn hands-on about crop science and pest management. It also gave me a better understanding of the agriculture industry and where my career could grow. Currently, I am completing my 3rd year in the Bachelor of Applied Science for AgriBusiness program at Olds College. I will be graduating from this program in 2024.
I started my professional career in finance where I honed my customer service skills as CSR (customer service representative). I moved on to a different style of career and started to pursue agronomy in the last few years. I did crop and pest scouting specializing in clubroot in canola, a spore disease that affects growth and yields. Within the same company, I moved into an operator position focusing on herbicide application. This position showcased my comfort with running equipment but I also gained knowledge in chemical handling and application.
Attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference would be an amazing opportunity to learn and connect with women in the industry. I believe that I have a lot of avenues that my career could take me. As someone with both social and tangible skills, I am seeking advice on how to translate this into a career.
Being able to discuss with attendees how they navigated a male-dominated industry would be very beneficial to me. It would also be a great opportunity to network with like-minded people. I, and the rest of the world, was unable to attend this conference, in person, in 2020. I was very disappointed that I missed the experience and am excited to get a second chance to be involved.
University of Manitoba—4th Year, Human Nutritional Sciences
I am a fourth year undergraduate student studying Human nutritional sciences from the faculty of Agriculture and Food Science. I am also pursuing a minors in Management.
I am currently employed with Winnipeg Regional Health Authority as a Dietetic Aide in Grace Hospital, Winnipeg. I worked at Walmart as a Customer service desk associate for about 2 years.
I would like to hear from agriculture and food experts at AWC about their background, experiences and take professional recommendations. I became passionate about food choices and health and helping people choose better food choices at a young age, and this ignited my ambition to work in nutrition, food safety and health. My goal is to obtain a career as a food safety specialist with an emphasis on food production and safety.
I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference as I want to learn more about my career and seek some important and valuable advice from experts in the industry. This will also offer me the platform to interact with incredible female experts in the food industry sector, highlight and strengthen my personality to shape the future of the food industry, as well as sharpen my skills. It would be an exciting and memorable experience as I would get a chance to hear from Agriculture and Food experts which would not only help me succeed in the future but also develop my personality. Moreover, there were not many opportunities to meet new people in the past two years because of the pandemic, this conference would be an amazing way to make new connections and deepen my understanding about sustainable agriculture and food practices. This program will also brush up my expertise, experience, and background knowledge of agricultural and food science.
Camila Rodrigues de Freitas
University of Alberta—Faculty of Agricultural, Life & Environmental Sciences, 1st Year, Animal Science
My passion for agriculture started when I was a little kid. I grew up on a dairy farm in the south of Brazil. Over the years, my love for agriculture persisted, and I pursued a degree in Veterinary Medicine. During my BSc. I was a volunteer speaker, talking to the Women Farmers Associations about Zoonosis and public health concerns. After that, I completed a Master’s degree in Animal Reproduction. The life changer in my life was working in the Poultry industry. I evolved professionally and personally during this time. My first official job was as a Poultry Veterinarian in a Brazilian food company, mainly working directly with farmers and discussing broiler production, management, and flock health. With this experience, I acquired/improved essential skills such as leading, being patient with different personalities, being emphatic, and flexibilization of my communication according to the audience. I also volunteered in philanthropic fundraising events at the Cancer Women’s Foundation.
In 2021, I moved to Canada and initially got part-time jobs in a pizzeria, graphic and house cleaning. Then, I got the opportunity at the University of Alberta, where I worked for one year as an Animal Technician in animal research with rodents and four months at the Poultry Research Center. After that, I met Dr. Martin Zuidhof. In September of this year (2022), I started my Master’s degree in Animal Science, specifically in poultry. My research project is about how different body weight curves applied in broiler breeders can affect the performance of offspring (broilers).
My background in agriculture shaped how I see and want to contribute to the world’s future. I am still a young woman, just started my professional career. But so far, I have learned that the world’s population will increase substantially, and agriculture will be a sector even more essential in the future. I want to be part of this future, contributing to agriculture’s development and food production and helping to find solutions for more sustainable production.
I firmly believe that the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference will be an excellent opportunity to meet other women, build networking, share experiences and consequently learn about their work and life experiences. With my experience as a woman farmer and veterinarian, I observed a significant lack of women leaders in agriculture. I believe the conference will be an empowering event, encouraging women (including me) to become leaders and be more active and participative in the Canadian agriculture sector. Also, it will help me develop and enhance my leadership skills, boosting my confidence to keep moving forward in my research with poultry and my future as an agriculture professional.
University of Manitoba—4th Year, Food and Human Nutritional Sciences
I am a Human Nutritional sciences student, interested in health, metabolism and nutrition. In addition, I am also very interested in agriculture, especially sustainable agriculture. I think it is very crucial to change the agriculture system and food production, so that it would ideally have no detrimental impact on our environment.
My previous work experience includes multiple food service experiences, which gave me an opportunity to look on the food chain system from the inside. Another experience is related to being a sale associate in a health food and supplement store. This job allowed me to practice my nutrition skills and have a better understanding of what is available nowadays in the food market. The current job that I have is in the area of social work. I work with newcomers and help them settle in Winnipeg. This job involves a lot of direct interaction with people, which I love, and allows me to better understand what obstacles people can face, when arriving to Canada. Therefore, this knowledge helps me better understand what needs t be worked on.
The Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference will provide me a scope of understanding of the careers that are available in the agriculture industry, Also, I hope to gain a lot of knowledge that will help me build an incredible career that will leave an impact on the future of agriculture in Canada and worldwide.
Natalia Ruiz Cuartas
University of Guelph, 1st Year, Ph.D. Sociology International Development Studies
I was born and raised in Medellin, Colombia, and immigrated to Canada 3.5 years ago looking for academic opportunities. I’m currently in my first year of the Ph.D. in Sociology International Development Studies and researching women in agricultural science at the University of Guelph. My education includes a degree in social communication and a postgraduate degree in communication and journalism.
My work and academic experience have been focused on themes surrounding gender equity and social justice with different populations, including the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, rural women, and victims of forced displacement.
I am the co-founder and executive director of Fundación Poderosas [Powerful Women Foundation], a grassroots organization that creates opportunities for women and girls and seeks to eradicate gender-based violence in Colombia. Furthermore, I have previous experience as a lecturer in various universities and as a community facilitator and educator interested in using communication tools for social change and the democratization of knowledge.
I’m interested in participating in the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference because it aligns directly with my Ph.D. research topic, which is the participation and recognition of women in agricultural science. While my fieldwork will be focused on Cuba, my study is part of a consortium between Cuba, Haiti, and Canada that seeks to share experiences, knowledge, and collaboration between the three countries.
This conference will benefit my career objectives by allowing me to create collaborative networks with women and other organizations working in the agricultural sciences. These connections will allow me to learn about their experiences, create academic and professional links to benefit the inclusion and visibility of our contributions in this field, and strengthen interdisciplinary work for the inclusion and leadership of women. As an international student, I also consider participating in these spaces beneficial to help me create community and understand the different contexts present in my field of work.
Dalhousie University – Agricultural Campus—Graduating Student, BSc in Agricultural Business
I grew up on a large dairy farm in Northern New Brunswick, run by my father and grandfather. Growing up I did not have much interest in taking over the farm for my career, although I did help out during the busy seasons and milked cows as my first job. Even though I didn’t enjoy the work at the time, I still recognized how important primary production was and learned the value of working hard and working smarter. When I graduated high school, I attended the Bachelor of Business Administration program at UNB, but I never found my true passion there. After trying different co-op positions in accounting, non-profit, and government work, I found my way back to my roots at the NB Department of Agriculture. When I wasn’t working, I spent hours researching as much as possible about regenerative cropping practices, soil health, and precision agriculture. During this position, I moved home to manage our heifer herd into the summer. I transferred to Dalhousie’s Agricultural Campus into the BSc in Agricultural Business program in September 2021, and have spent the past year catching up with zeal.
At school, I’ve found a special interest in building soil health and fertility, leading me to my latest summer position with a nutrient management consulting agency. I met with farmers around the Atlantic provinces, testing their soils and manures, mapping their fields and helping my team conduct research for different foliar fertilizers. Although cows and tractors might not be my specialty, I have found my niche and will graduate with a Certificate in Soil Management in the spring of 2023.
I have gone to several agriculture-focused trade shows and conferences in the past year and after each one, I leave with new ideas and new connections. If I’ve learned anything since coming into the industry, it’s that there’s always more to learn! As a young girl, I certainly considered farming to be a “boys club”, based on the visitors we had on the farm. Since going to school, my mind has changed. Not only are the majority of Dal AC students women, but many of our professors, instructors, and researchers are brilliant women who are leaders in their fields. In my position in the summer of 2022, I was lucky enough to work at an agricultural firm managed by an all-women team, and it was this group of professionals who inspired me to pursue my Professional Agrologist designation after graduation. I hope that AWC 2023 will connect me with even more inspiring women in agriculture who will be able to help guide me as I begin my career with their experiences.
I believe the Advancing Women in Agriculture conference would allow me to meet and learn from established experts, as well as young women like myself that are just kicking off their careers. I would also like to gain perspective on issues facing Western producers, and the similarities and differences between East and West. As a director on the New Brunswick Young Farmers board, I’m excited to continue to be involved in the farming community after graduation, and being aware of current events plays a key role in accurate representation.
University of Calgary—MSc Student, 3rd Year, Veterinary Medical Sciences
I’m an international student pursuing masters at the University of Calgary. I completed my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) in 2017 that prepared me for a veterinarian job at a non-governmental organization named Kodaikanal Society for the Protection and Care for Animals (KSPCA). During my tenure, I performed mass anti-rabies vaccination, animal birth control surgeries, diagnosed and offered treatment to a wide variety of owned/stray animals. Later in 2018, I enrolled in Master of veterinary public health at the All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, India. During this time, I developed a heat-killed vaccine against a food borne pathogen; Salmonella Enteritidis and studied its protective efficacy in mice and zebrafish animal models. I’m currently pursuing my second masters at the University of Calgary and my research project is to understand the potential virulence factors of Erysipelothrix rhusiopathiae that caused widespread mortalities in muskoxen in the Canadian Arctic. I’m using the DNA of this bacteria to identify the unique genes that might be responsible for causing increased deaths in muskoxen in the Arctic.
This is my second time attending the advancing women in agriculture conference. At the AWC west-2022, I got an opportunity to network with industry partners, government officials and women entrepreneurs. Apart from this, I also connected with student participants from other Canadian universities. As a past participant, I know that advancing women in agriculture conference is all about inspiration, motivation and uplifting of women in agriculture. It has been a wonderful journey since AWC west-2022 and I’m looking forward to more of this. I’m currently working towards completing my masters and also in the process of becoming a board certified veterinarian in Canada. As an International student, I feel this platform is a one stop for networking and learning from one another. I’m hoping to connect with industry partners and build my network during the AWC west 2023.
Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture—4th Year, Agricultural Business
I am a third generation farmer from the Annapolis valley of Nova Scotia, I am currently in my fourth year of study at Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture perusing a degree in Agriculture business. My agriculture background primarily comes from the poultry and horticulture sectors in Nova Scotia. I spend my summers working on our family farm and plan on returning home after school to continue to grow our business and eventually take over.
I am interested in attending the advancing women in agriculture conference because I feel it will boost my professional identity in the agriculture industry and help me to gain confidence as a producer. I would love to grow my knowledge around career planning and financial management to enhance my goals for the future. I would also like to attend the west conference to gain a new perspective of the industry from women that are involved in the sectors of the industry that are not as common in eastern Canada.
Chloe Smith Lopez
University of Saskatchewan, 3rd Year Masters, Agricultural and Resource Economics
I am a 3rd year Masters student at the University of Saskatchewan studying Agricultural and Resource Economics. I attended undergraduate at the University of Florida where I graduated with a Bachelor of Sciences Cum Laude in Food and Resource Economics with a specialization in international Food and Resource Economics in 2019. I have worked for a new opening plant nursery, a sod farm, and one of the two big political parties as an intern during my time at the University of Florida. In my time in Saskatchewan, I have worked as research technician for my thesis supervisor and as a graduate teaching assistant in 7 different classes from entry level to senior capstone classes. I also am currently working part time as the operations leader for Saskatoon’s branch of Indigo where I manage all back-of-store operations and act in a supervisory role for the tasking and sales teams.
I am interested in attending AWC West as I look forward to learning from people more experienced in the field and being able to see all the different pathways open to me as a woman in agriculture. As I am finishing my thesis this semester, I want to have the opportunity to see and explore all the different career options available to me in agriculture that also fit my interest in logistics and operations. I also cannot wait to be able to learn from people more experienced in the field about how they became successful and happy with their career as I come from a family with no agricultural background. I also look forward to the opportunity to make connections with my peers and with my seniors to hopefully build a network that can support and guide me through my career in this ever-evolving world and to be that support and guidance to others.
Olds College of Agriculture & Technology, 2nd Year, Horticulture Technology
I grew up in Surrey, British Columbia as the youngest in a family of seven children. I had a hard time in high school, struggling with my identity and to make social connections with my peers, so I always thought I was a bad student and that traditional pathways through post-secondary wouldn’t be a viable option for me. After graduation, I enrolled in a diploma program at Vancouver Film School, majoring in Acting for Film & Television. If you google my name, you won’t find any blockbuster films that I’ve starred in recently, so you can imagine how that worked out.
I’ve lived in Vancouver, Montreal, and Calgary, working in tattoo & piercing studios and in restaurants as a line cook and sous chef. I never felt like I was achieving my full potential in these service industries, and so I decided to take a few online courses in accounting. With a little bit of bookkeeping knowledge under my belt, I found work as a receptionist in a healthcare clinic. Bookkeeping didn’t strike a chord with me, but I felt like I was ready to take on more.
I am currently a full-time student at Olds College of Agriculture & Technology, finishing the last semester of the Horticulture Technologist diploma program. I’ll be laddering into the Bachelor of Applied Science majoring in horticulture in fall 2023. Ten years after graduating high school, I have finally found the path that sparks joy in my heart.
I always thought that finding a job that you loved was a pipe dream for most people, and I would eventually just settle for something that would get me through to retirement. Regardless, I enrolled in a horticulture program because I went on a campus tour and fell in love with the greenhouse facilities. I love gardening and thought I might as well explore opportunities to make a career out of that. Now that I’m a leader among the Olds College student body, my ambition has been absolutely ignited. I want to be a leader in agriculture.
Since April 2022, I have been the President of the Students’ Association of Olds College, and it is my passion. I’m running for re-election for the 2023-2024 academic year. I have also taken a position in provincial student advocacy as the Vice-Chair of the Alberta Students’ Executive Council. I’ve completely fallen in love with the work that I do with my fellow students, and as a bonus, I also still get to enjoy my education in horticulture and spend time in those greenhouses. With my newfound ambition, I hope one day to move into an MBA program to blend these two passions and become a leader in agriculture myself.
I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference so that I can meet some industry leaders and find out what it is that keeps the fire burning in their belly. I would love the opportunity to network with other women who have found success in this industry, and learn from them. I hope that these connections might be ones that I can continue to foster in my career for years to come.
University of Lethbridge—1st Year, M.Sc. Agricultural Biotechnology
I found my passion for agricultural research late in life. I was 35 when I chose to attend university and obtained my B.Sc. in biology in June of 2021. Throughout my undergraduate degree, I chose courses that focused on microbiology, plants and genetics, and molecular biology. By combining all of these, I was able to obtain several co-op work placements with both the CFIA and AAFC in Lethbridge, AB. I first worked with attenuated anthrax spores, then prion protein for two years, and finally moved onto plant pathology for the remaining three years. I am pleased to be a co-author on the anthrax research that was published in 2021 in Applied Biosafety.
Within plant pathology, I worked on several projects as both a student and a lab technician after graduation that were all related to Fusarium head blight of wheat in western Canada. I was able to accelerate my skills acquisition and increase my plant and molecular biology knowledge. As a result, I was offered and accepted co-authorship on two posters, and a manuscript that was published in 2022 in the journal Phytopathology. I am now in pursuit of my M.Sc. in Agricultural Biotechnology through the University of Lethbridge with placement at a lab at AAFC. My university supervisor is a potato pathogenic fungi and tissue culture expert, while my AAFC supervisor is a soil microbial ecology expert. I am excited to be working on a project to fill some important knowledge gaps in agricultural research.
Although I am probably one of the older applicants, I still believe that I have a lot to offer agriculture and scientific research for the next 22 years! This is the first time I have heard about the AWC and was immediately interested in attending. Obviously, to attend the workshops and plenary sessions, but also to network and engage with the conference attendees on a deeper level. Sharing knowledge and listening to others has the potential to provide future opportunities for collaboration, employment, and/or friendships. My career objective is to obtain a permanent position within agricultural research. Being able to conduct experiments and obtain answers that provide applied, real-world solutions is important to me.
I believe there are many valuable questions in this uncertain time of change in agriculture, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. I am excited for the future of agriculture and working with industry, producers, and researchers would be a perfect career. Being able to glean as much information from a diverse array of strong, experienced men and women in the agriculture field at this conference will be inspiring and helps one feel less alone in this journey. One day, I hope to be in a position of mentorship for another who is on their agricultural journey, too.
Olds College of Agriculture and Technology—3rd Year, Bachelor of Applied Science – Horticulture
My name is Jessie Thielen, and I grew up in Southern Alberta on a small family farm. My family produced goats and a small herd of cattle from my brothers and my 4-H projects. Growing up, I was deeply influenced by the women around me. The leaders of my 4-H club, my teachers, my friends’ mothers and the women in my family all showed me the immense power behind supporting each other and fostering community growth. As I grew older, I gained an interest in horticulture and began working in the landscape industry. One of the projects I worked on was the restoration of a large backyard waterfall surrounded by native plants to replicate the natural areas in Southern Alberta. Inspired by the project, I began looking for more ways to create a career focused on sustainability and unconventional landscapes. My research in career paths led me to the Olds College Horticulture Technologist diploma program. After a short time in the program, I knew I would stay for the applied degree to build a deeper foundation of knowledge before starting my career. I am now in the third year of the Bachelor of Applied Science – Horticulture degree at Olds College.
I am interested in attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference to make connections in the agriculture industry. Through the horticulture degree program, I have learned more about naturalized landscapes and using unconventional areas for food production. I believe there is an intersection between horticultural production crops and traditional agricultural practices. Due to the increased population size and growing urban infrastructure, there is a crucial need for local food production in urban areas. I believe that utilizing innovative agricultural practices can help bridge the gap in urban agriculture sustainability and food security. I look forward to the opportunity to connect with other women entering their careers and discovering ways to help each other achieve our goals. I believe there is power in collaboration and shared ideas and that the best way to move forward is through working together. Attending this conference will allow me to share ideas and be inspired by women that share similar values and career goals and those that have paved the way for my generation to succeed.
Ellen Van Noordenburg
Olds College—3rd Year, Bachelor of Applied Science of Agribusiness
I am a dedicated advocate for all things agriculture related. With over ten years of active involvement in various agricultural operations. I have had the pleasure to have worked alongside the following industries; Dairy, Poultry, Sheep, Beef, and a little in the crop sector. My family and I live on a sheep farm east of Didsbury, Alberta, where we raise Suffolk and Dorset sheep. Agriculture has played a huge role in shaping me into the person I am today. Naturally I knew that this was what I wanted to follow moving forward with my post secondary education. Olds College is most known for its incredible agriculture courses and programs. For this reason it was the first post secondary institution that stood out to me when it came to choosing what institution I wanted to go to. Recently I completed my Agricultural Management diploma program at Olds College, where I majored in Agricommerce. From this diploma program I was able to gain a multitude of skills in finance, local and global markets, agri-business analysis, communication, and project management. Once I completed the diploma program I was then able to apply for the Bachelor of Applied Science of Agribusiness which is another program that Olds College offers. I decided to work towards obtaining a degree in Agribusiness as it would allow for a wider variety of future career choices within the agriculture industry.
An area within the agriculture industry that interests me is Bovine Artificial Insemination. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to take part in a basic AI training course during my second year at Olds College, this is what sparked my interest in this particular field. During the summer I interned at PEAK Genetics, this allowed me to further my knowledge in Artificial Insemination practices. Starting the day by collecting semen from the bulls and then completing initial evaluation in the lab. I was responsible for checking the motility of the sperm cells and then to extend it into its allocated vial of milk extender. This internship was such a great learning experience and is why I hope to continue within the bovine semen production industry after completing the BAS degree program at Olds College. During the weekend I spend most of my time working on an Angus and polled Hereford cattle operation, east of Didsbury. While working here I have been responsible for completing many different tasks some of which include; feeding cattle, tagging and treating, loading and hauling, handling bulls, and working with online software such as Herdtrax, Angus Now, and Canadian Hereford Association. Working at Redline Livestock has allowed me to demonstrate responsibility, time management, project management, teamwork, and independence.
I have a huge passion for teaching others about the agriculture industry. It is my goal in the near future to continue sharing my love and passion for the industry with others around me. Growing up within the agriculture industry I had many influential women surrounding me. From a young age I knew that I would find myself within the agriculture industry. In the near future I hope to operate my own cow/calf operation. Attending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference would be an amazing opportunity. This opportunity would allow me to branch out and build relationships with other women who share the same passion and love for the industry as me. After reviewing the agenda for the conference there are some really interesting topics that are going to be discussed. Being able to listen to the stories and experiences that are presented at the conference from others who have been within the industry will be such an eye opening experience. Women play such an important role within agriculture and it is our job to continue working together to help forge the future in the best way possible. As a student this is such a valuable time to integrate myself within the industry and what better way to do it than attending a conference that will have many influential individuals.
University of Calgary—2nd Year, Veterinary Medicine
I am a Veterinary Medicine Master’s student at the University of Calgary, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Bioengineering from Huazhong Agricultural University in China. When I was in university, the research progress on a recombinant rabies virus brought me great pleasure and satisfaction. The microbes are indeed fascinating, but what attracts me most is that the study on them can contribute to a healthier world. However, I went to work instead of pursuing a higher education after I finished my undergraduate program because of money. I worked as a Medical Editor at Preintell Biomedical Technology Co., LTD, where I developed consumer health content across multiple medical topics and specialties. Before that, I taught Physics, Chemistry, and Biology to over 100 students of 7th grade at New Oriental School, where I prepared comprehensive lesson plans and implemented lab activities based on scientific methodology and real-life science application.
Then, the COVID-19 broke out. I witnessed the great damage that virus can cause and the efforts of researchers against it, which rekindled my passion for microbial research. I cannot stop thinking if we had monitored the Huanan Seafood Market under strict supervision, we could have avoided such a disaster. That’s when I decided to go back to school and work on One Health. Currently, I am studying on the surveillance of avian colibacillosis on chicken farms in Alberta, which focus on factors that drive the development of colibacillosis and would facilitate the prevention and treatment of colibacillosis. I regard it as the stepping stone to my career aspiration, which is to monitor and prevent potential outbreaks.
I am excited to apply to attend the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference because I want to connect with other women in the industry and gain knowledge that will benefit my career. I have read comments from past attendees and their experiences at the conference were inspiring. Networking with other women in the industry, hearing their stories, and learning from their experiences will be valuable to me. I hope to build strong connections with other women who are passionate about contributing to the agriculture industry.
As a Veterinary Medicine Master’s student, I have a strong interest in microbial research, specifically in One Health. The COVID-19 pandemic reignited my passion for research and led me to pursue higher education. Currently, I am conducting research on avian colibacillosis on chicken farms in Alberta. This research will serve as a stepping stone for my career aspiration of monitoring and preventing potential outbreaks. Attending the AWAC will help me build my social network and hopefully land a job after graduation in September. I am eager to learn from the conference’s topics and gain greater confidence in my career objectives.
University of British Columbia, 4th Year, Masters of Food Science
I have been interested in food and agriculture since I first started high school, and I am currently a graduate student in food science at UBC. I decided to major in food quality and safety during my undergraduate studies because food safety is a global issue in agriculture. I discovered that agri-food safety and the agri-food industry are intricately intertwined as I thoroughly studied the major courses. During my junior and senior years of undergraduate studies, I worked as an intern at a dairy company’s R&D department and at a yeast company’s Yeast and Strain Resource Technology Center. Through these internships, I was able to better understand the fundamentals of food R&D and the safety control procedures associated with yeast production. I also took part in a number of international volunteer initiatives during my undergraduate years because I am a big proponent of issues relating to women and education. One of them was spending my second summer as a teacher in Cambodia, where I assisted local children in improving their knowledge of science, math, language, and other subjects. I also participated in women’s rights activism. When I was an undergraduate student, I helped to start the school’s English debate team and captained it while actively encouraging STEM students and females from various majors to participate in English debates. I learned about various topics in science and technology, agriculture, and the environment through the debates. During my undergraduate years, I was also actively encouraging students to get involved in consumer advocacy, rights protection, and food safety problems.
I am extremely excited to attend the Advancing Women in Agriculture conference because I think it will give me the chance to update my knowledge and discover fresh trends in the food and agriculture industry that I am currently unaware of or unknown to me. Additionally, I will be able to network with seasoned members of the agricultural industry and, most importantly, learn firsthand from top experts and experts in this field about the vast array of singular experiences they have encountered. I am cognizant that there are significant changes taking place in practically every industry in the globe today, with more and more areas starting to encourage hiring women for a range of professions. The Women in Agriculture Conference is one of the best platforms for giving women options and guidance for future jobs and inspiring them to take an active role in the agriculture industry. I would sincerely appreciate the opportunity to take part in this significant occasion. Additionally, I’m devoted to sharing my own experiences in the future and assisting more women in establishing their own personal development objectives.
I’m convinced that this conference will help me build relationships with business leaders in the field, which will ultimately help me realize my professional ambition of working in the food industry as a product developer and founding my own food business. In order to eventually become a woman entrepreneur who cares about food safety and inspires more women to participate in developing food agriculture jobs, I hope to shatter the stereotypical perception of women by attempting to gain extensive practical experience in food agriculture and combine multidisciplinary fields with food agriculture.
University of British Columbia, 2nd Year, Bachlor of Science in Food Nutrition Health
I come from a Chinese family in the middle part of China that growing up, most people wouldn’t have heard of it if I answered them when they asked where I had come from. In China, just like many other cultures, food is a big part of tradition, and with 5000 years of history, along with it comes a very complex and intricate history of Chinese cuisine that accompanied its many traditions and holidays. Therefore, when my family moved to Canada, there was a large reduction in our ability to express our Chinese culture traditionally through food. As such, growing up, my palette centralized around that kind of immigrant Chinese food that is the traditional, with immigration elements mixed into it, such as substitutions for key ingredients that we are not able to find.
I was mostly educated in Canada up until university, where I am studying now at the University of British Columbia in Food Nutrition Health. The reason I picked this major was due to a mix of reasons such as my large passion for food, especially foods that linked me back to my Chinese roots, my best course in high school, which is biology, and a K-drama that inspired me to become a doctor, which lead me to taking this major as a pre-med undergraduate until I take my MCAT. Later on, I decided that another 6 years of school for a profession that I wasn’t that passionate about is not something worth pursuing. Other than my educational background, I have had many work experiences in the food industry in various service positions such as a food server, a hostess, and a barista. These work experiences taught me the importance of forming good customer relations, and toned my communication skills. I also have experience in more office-type work, having worked as a personal assistant for an employer where I did market research analysis for competing firms in the AI tech industry and researched Chinese social platforms, and oversaw the promotion campaigns that looked for KOLs and models. These types of experiences gave me insight into the amount of organization that is required for these types of administration tasks. The last experience that I would say is the most important in shaping my current experience is being self-employed for teaching RCM level 4 piano to children. As children are mini-humans, it required that I carefully looked for cues from them since their form of communication is quite different from that of a full grown adult. From this experience, I became more patient at looking for efficient ways of communication, and it is easier for me now to look for different ways of communication when there seems to be miscommunication.
I am interested in addending the Advancing Women in Agriculture Conference due to a number of reasons and values, including my passion for food, my interest eventually starting my own business in the food industry, and my belief in women in leadership. However, I cam limited in my experience and restricted insight into the industry. I hope that by attending this conference, I would be able to gain more knowledge in how the current food system functions in North America, as well as the problems that need to be acknowledged solved, and the benefits that make it so successful and thriving right now. In addition, I hope to gain from the networking experience, to not only hear about the experiences of inspiring women who are from the industry, but to have the chance to connect with them on a more personal level, which I believe would be motivationa for my future career path.