I definitely didn’t imagine my university journey to take the one it did. I grew up very differently to most of the other agricultural students. I was always a city kid, born in Wagga but we quickly moved to Melbourne. By the age of 23 we had moved 27 times and I’d lived in 4 different countries. I attended 8 schools and learnt so much more than a traditional school education could ever give me. With all this travel and having a dad in agriculture, I saw the absolute best this industry had to offer worldwide.
I always wanted to follow in my dad’s footsteps somehow, but I wasn’t ready to leave my idea of working with animals behind. Luckily, I was able to major in animal production through the Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne – and it was the best thing.
With my equine friends (Photo credit – Joely Mitchell, Stock and Land)
From the first day I walked onto the campus until today, I have had the most amazing experience. I was never shy about putting my name forward for opportunities and Melbourne University was definitely never short of these.
Throughout my degree, I have had the chance to meet some incredible mentors and business professionals, with every single one of them having an impact and shaping the way I view agriculture. Thanks to the Access Connections Mentoring Program in 2015, I was paired with Lisa Dwyer who at the time was the Non-Executive Director at Dairy Australia. Lisa gave me some great insight into the world of agribusiness.
Through the University of Melbourne I have also been introduced to programs like Gradlink and the Victorian Farmers Federation – Young Agribusiness Professionals. The networks have been so important and these connections have helped build my career.
University isn’t just about the bookwork and the networking. Through my studies I have been given the most unbelievable placement opportunities. These placements have seen me travel from Gippsland, Victoria to Julia Creek, Queensland. Working in Queensland was definitely one of my most memorable placements. I worked 15-hour days, went to bed exhausted but ready to get up for the next day. It was truly the most amazing 3 weeks of my life.
How can you complain when you have classroom views like this?
My time in Gippsland at the Australian Livestock Artificial Breeders has given me more experience then I could ever dream of from a 1 week placement. I have been lucky enough to work the 2015/2016 and 2016/2017 equine breeding season full time with ALAB.
Working in Queensland was a once-in-a-lifetime experience
However, my biggest achievement while at university has been the development of ConsiderAg - an initiative that was created to build a connection between high school students and the opportunities a career in agriculture can provide. It’s about showing students how the world of agriculture affects each and every person every day and their impact on such an incredible Australian industry.
My university journey definitely hasn’t taken the one that I thought it would, but I can’t imagine changing it for the world. I have had the most amazing time at the University of Melbourne, met the most amazing people and had experiences that I will never forget.