Home > Young farmer investigates science career following Dow AgroSciences research station placement

Young farmer investigates science career following Dow AgroSciences research station placement

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Young farmer, James Elsley, was chosen from a pool of approximately 80 bright high school students from New South Wales and Queensland to receive this year’s Industry Placement Scholarship at Dow AgroSciences ’ Breeza Research Station near Tamworth, New South Wales. James’ placement took place between 16-20 January 2012.

The Industry Placement Scholarship is a joint venture between Dow AgroSciences and the Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE). Each student is selected through an application and interview process and offered a PICSE scholarship to attend a five-day student camp and a five-day industry placement experience working alongside research scientists.

On completion of the scholarship, students present a written report and verbal presentation outlining their experience, and are then awarded the $300 scholarship cheque.

The experience has opened James’s eyes to the many and varied roles in agriculture.

“I finished my Higher School Certificate last year at Carinya Christian School in Tamworth and am taking a gap year to work on the family farm, a 1,600-hectare mixed cropping and beef cattle operation at Spring Ridge, 100 km west of Tamworth,” explained James.

“I’m enrolled to start a double degree in ag science and business at the University of New England in 2013 and was originally considering a career in agronomy. That’s all changed now. My experience at Breeza has opened my eyes and I am now much more interested in a career in research.”

As part of his placement, James worked alongside Dow AgroSciences researchers, Dr Natalie Elias and Nicholas Willey, looking at a range of agronomic issues on the Liverpool plains.

“I’m used to working with agronomists on the family farm. After a week at Breeza, I realised that a lot of the information coming from our agronomist starts at research facilities such as Breeza, so being able to get involved at this level is really quite exciting.”

Susanna Greig, a PICSE Science Education Officer based at the University of New England, said James was selected due to his academic success at high school and his interest in agronomy as a career.

“Our aim is to give students an insight into the broad range of exciting science based careers within local primary industries,” said Susanna. “We are creating and nurturing a network of talented, passionate young Australians who will be the next generation of agri-food and fibre scientists, innovators and industry leaders.

“James is a bright young man with a potentially outstanding career in research, making him the ideal choice. It will be exciting to follow him through his career and keep track of his progress.”

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