With an abundance of tertiary disciplines available, students can find it hard to choose an undergraduate degree that will set them up with exciting, fulfilling careers.
Tarnya Fowler and Natalie Maguire made the right choice studying at the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Western Australia (UWA), securing good jobs before graduating and now working in WA’s $2 billion grain industry.
Both completed their final year projects with the WA Herbicide Resistance Initiative (WAHRI), a major strategic initiative by the Grains Research and Development Corporation within the School of Plant Biology at UWA.
Australian growers annually spend an average of $40,000 on crop and pasture chemicals and weeds cost Australian agriculture $4 billion a year.
WAHRI is committed to research, development and extension to help maximise sustainable crop production by reducing the adverse impact of herbicide resistance.
Ms Maguire, from Turee Creek Station, Newman in WA’s Pilbara region, chose to complete a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at UWA.
Now employed in a graduate agronomy position with Elders at Merredin in WA’s central wheatbelt, she expects to apply many aspects of her training and research with WAHRI to her new role.
“My fourth year project, together with the expert advice and guidance of WAHRI staff, gave me a good grounding in herbicide resistance, enabling me to approach weed management with a sharp awareness of an expanding problem,” she said.
“I knew I wanted to work within agriculture and this degree delivered scientific and practical aspects of the industry, while giving me a broad knowledge base to build on.”
Ms Maguire selected UWA because of its good reputation and its agricultural science degree was highly regarded nationally and internationally recognised.
Ms Fowler, from a Carnamah wheat and sheep farm, graduates in mid-2007 with a Bachelor of Agricultural Science and Bachelor of Commerce, but has already begun a National Australia Bank graduate analyst position and will move to Albury, NSW, mid-year.
Reflecting on her time at UWA, she believes a team effort helped her get to this point in her career.
“The great part about being an agriculture student at UWA is the tight knit peer group working together,” Ms Fowler said.
“Another positive was the wide range of disciplines available, with a balanced emphasis on the practical and theoretical, which constantly kept me interested and motivated.
“It’s a great degree course because it sets you up for a variety of jobs, from a farm, to a laboratory, or a bank. There’s something for everyone.
“And now that a double degree is offered at UWA, agriculture students can simultaneously do complementary degrees and safeguard their future,” she said.
Professor Kadambot Siddique, Telephone (+61 8) 6488 7012, Mobile 0411 155 396