That was the question on the minds of the students who gathered at Agora Cafe on the evening of February 6th for the second LFS Applied Biology get together of the year. And what was the message for APBI students from the Alumni on the career panel?
Stop worrying. Don’t limit yourself. Your APBI degree is bigger and broader than you think.
Just ask Thandiwe Mweetwa. She came to Canada from Zambia to pursue an undergraduate degree in Agroecology in 2008, hoping to prepare for a future as a vet. But one serendipitous summer changed all that.
“During my summer breaks, I worked with this non-profit in Zambia that was involved with wildlife conservation, research and community education.”
The organization was studying wild dogs. How can you conserve a species in an environment that’s greatly influenced by people? They then moved on to study other species – lions, leopards and hyenas.
In the future, Mweetwa sees herself acting as a conduit between conservationists and the local population.
“[I’d like to] try to help people understand how they can live alongside animals.”
That night at Agora, the alumni panel consisted of Theresa Duynstee (B.Sc Soil Science, 1990), a Professional Agrologist who manages Metro Vancouver’s Agriculture Policy and Planning Program; Matt Edgar (B.Sc Agroecology, 2007), an Environmental Scientist for Pioneer Land and Environmental in Fort St. John; Julie Huzzey (Agroecology, 2003), a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in dairy cattle welfare; Rosy Smit (M.Sc. Soil Science, 2009), one-time organic farmer, and community service learning program educator; and Carolyn Teasdale (Global Resource Systems, 2003), an Integrated Pest Management Coordinator at E.S. Cropconsult.
Like Mweetwa, a few of the panelists originally wanted to be vets, but quickly realized once they started studying in our Faculty that they were limiting their options.
Matt Edgar, for example. He came to LFS as a pre-vet student but made a u-turn into Agroecology when he found he had a passion for understanding the way we manage our world. And Julie Huzzey. She intended to study veterinary medicine but changed her mind when a summer research project at the UBC Dairy Education and Research Center piqued her interest in dairy cattle welfare.
“In high school, I thought I wanted to be a vet because that was the only career I knew of where you worked with animals,” said Huzzey. “Turns out, it’s not.”