I started with an undergraduate degree in Environment & Toxicology at U of T. This gave me a broad knowledge base in toxicology, biology and environmental chemistry. During this time, I joined a research lab in plant biology as a research assistant. Here I studied the effects of climate change on rice and wheat growth. Looking for a way to combine my interests in toxicology and food production, I completed an MSc. in Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph in apple storage disorders and plant stress biochemistry. During my tenure there, I saw the gap between scientific research and application - one that could be filled by communication. Interestingly, it was my background in plant biology and years of writing for the campus newspaper that ultimately led me to my current job.
Take as many different types of courses as you can and try on different volunteer roles. You never know where your interests lie until you try.
Whether it's how leaf diseases infect corn, how herbicides work or how to straight cut canola, this job lets me learn more about plant science and the latest technologies in agriculture. Having to write about it helps me learn the material in much greater detail. We also travel to grower conferences and use social media to make sure we're up-to-date on the latest challenges on the farm. We also keep up with the scientific research that can provide solutions to these challenges. Plus, it's great to know that my work is making a difference to Canadian farms and contributing to the food on our tables.
I write and create content for a number of different marketing pieces. We call the pieces “tactics”. These are all targeted towards growers or others who work in the agricultural industry. The tactics include such items as emails, direct mail, print ads and websites. These are usually more promotional in nature. The goal is to promote and sell a specific product. Other tactics include such things as online learning modules, articles related to growing things, and how-to guides. These are more educational in nature and teach growers how to handle different challenges on their farms.
To create content for these tactics, I constantly draw on my educational background in plant science. I use my science background to read scientific papers and websites and do calculations to figure out the best application rates for pesticides. I then communicate information to growers in plain language. I work closely with an art director. This person designs the look for each tactic and arranges my content to make it as appealing as possible to a potential reader.
- Foods and Nutrition
- Foreign languages
- Literature and English language arts
- Physical Education/Health
- Enjoyed doing things on my own
- Liked helping people
- Was motivated by success
- Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
- Engaged in volunteer activities
- Liked reading
- Felt great satisfaction in getting good grades
- Wasn’t sure what I wanted to do
- Learned best “by doing”