Growing excitement about STEM careers in agriculture

One of the things that excites us about careers in agriculture is the opportunities available for young people to learn and grow and travel and travel to help others learn and grow

A great example is Young Farming Champion and Youth Voices Leadership Team member Laura Phelps who is currently a policy officer with the Department of Agriculture in Canberra has landed herself a job working with the British government on their BREXIT strategy. We look forward to Laura sharing her UK sojourn highlights with us.

Laura’s departure to the other end of the globe meant an early visit to her Archibull Prize school and she was wax lyrical about her visit to The Henry Lawson High School who are studying the pork industry in 2018

You don’t need to have an agricultural science degree to be excited about agriculture – that was the message Young Farming Champion Laura Phelps took to Years 9 and 10 students at Grenfell’s Henry Lawson High School recently. Laura was at the school as part of the 2018 Archibull Prize, where she introduced students and staff to the pork industry and the plethora of STEM careers available in agriculture.

“There are so many opportunities for STEM-based careers within the pork industry,” Laura said. “Ag-engineering, mechanical engineering, nutrition, biology, medicine etc. and it was great to see the kids already had a good appreciation of this. But what they were really interested in was bacteria and antibiotics and the role farmers play as antibiotic stewards and how pigs can create new antibiotics for us.”

Laura was “blown away” by the teachers at Henry Lawson High School and their approach to The Archibull Prize, incorporating high-level biology and chemical technology. As the school is in an agricultural zone many of the students already had a good understanding of agriculture and how this technology can be applied, but Laura found most students thought a career in agriculture involved doing an ag-science degree.

“Agriculture is reliant on a cross-pollination of degrees using a diverse set of skills and knowledge,” Laura said. “I was able to show the students that many other degrees have applications in agriculture, for example, engineering and chemistry. You don’t need an agricultural science degree to get excited about agriculture.”

Many of the students had strong ideas about their future careers with some wishing to be agronomists and one hoping to develop agricultural apps. “He can see all the smart-farm technology that is happening in the United States and he wants to be able to build it himself,” Laura said.

Talking about agricultural careers to teenagers in conjunction with The Archibull Prize comes at an opportune time as students make crucial decisions on their educational future. To have a young farming professional such as Laura Phelps share her experiences only makes the decisions better informed, and raises excitement about STEM-based careers.

_2017 Supporting partners Capture