High School Student Spends a Week in New Zealand with Researchers

Dow AgroSciences Traveling Scholarship winner Amy Rose works with Somsak Samanwong, a scientist from Thailand, studying the impact of the diamondback moth on a broccoli plant.

After a work placement at Dow AgroSciences’ Waireka Field Research Station in New Zealand, high school student Amy Rose from Queensland, Australia, has discovered the world of agricultural science as an exciting new career option.

Amy spent a week working alongside top scientists from around the world, assisting with research on new crop protection products critical to the future of Australia’s agricultural industry.

“For those who think ag chem is boring, they obviously haven’t witnessed a day in the life of an ag scientist. I was seeing chemistry at work in the field that no one else in the world had ever seen before. I got to participate in trials and tests that have the potential for a massive effect on the world’s future food supply,” she said.

During her placement, Amy assisted in data collection, helped plan trials on emerging fungicide and insecticide products in wheat and vegetable plants, observed trial applications and tests using new technologies, and assisted in trial reporting. It provided her with valuable hands-on experience and knowledge that she’ll be able to use throughout her education and future career.

“It was fun to see practical applications of the methodologies I have been learning in the classroom,” explained Amy. “I’ve studied and am familiar with the scientific method, but to see it put to practical use – to get out and see it actually working in real life – was just so great.”

Amy was selected for the assignment as part of the PICSE/Dow AgroSciences Travelling Scholarship Program, an initiative developed through a partnership between Dow AgroSciences and the Primary Industry Centre for Science Education (PICSE).

The Travelling Scholarship Program aims to introduce the world of agriculture to students who may have never before considered it a viable career option – as was the case for Amy, who is currently in year 11 at Pittsworth High School in Queensland.

Though there is a shortage of young people entering the agricultural sector, Field Station Manager Brian Husband said that working with students like Amy makes him optimistic about the future.

“Students often don’t tend to see agriculture as an exciting or adventurous career option. But Amy’s enthusiasm, intelligence and passion make me very optimistic.”