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Women in science paving the way

In celebration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11 February, Agriculture Victoria Technical Assistant Chloe Findlay shares her motivation for pursuing a career in science.

Ms Findlay spent some of her childhood living in South East Asia and that’s where her interest in agriculture began, observing local agricultural practices.

“Growing up I was so fascinated by how food was produced and how different it was in South East Asia compared to Australia.

“Whilst living there, the conversation about food security and having enough for our growing population was very prevalent,” she said.

This led her to study a Bachelor of Agriculture majoring in plant and soil sciences at the University of Melbourne, graduating in 2019. She then successfully completed her Honours in 2021 with first class honours, which focused on the impact of temperature on fungal disease of lentil.

Following graduation, Ms Findlay has worked at the Horsham SmartFarm in a variety of roles, including soil sciences, pulse breeding and now currently as a technical assistant in the field crops pathology team.

Within the field crops pathology team, Ms Findlay contributes to the national barley foliar pathogens project co-invested by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) and Agriculture Victoria which investigates new virulences of Pyrenophora teres maculata (causal organism of spot form of net blotch disease in barley) in Australia to inform growers with better disease management strategies.

Ms Findlay said in the future she would like to complete a PhD and lead research on projects regarding climate change effects on the pathology of pulses.

“I feel I am in a very fortunate position as I am surrounded by wonderful supportive female role models and I’m very much looking forward to celebrating the International Day of Women and Girls in Science with them all.

“In recent years there has been a huge influx of women working in agricultural science and we all support each other, and I receive great mentoring.

“Being a woman in science has never seemed to be a big deal for me, thanks to the example of the wonderful women who have paved the way before me”.

For more information about careers in science at Agriculture Victoria visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/about/our-research/careers-in-stem.

For more information about the International Day of Women and Girls in Science visit www.womeninscienceday.org/

Source: Agriculture Victoria

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