Job: Team Research Associate Area: Dunedin
Job Title: Field Team Research Associate
Brief introduction about yourself?
I grew up on a sheep and beef farm in Marlborough and went to Marlborough Girls College. In 2004 I moved to Dunedin to attend Otago University and studied Genetics. In 2008 I got my first job in Customer Service at Pfizer Animal Genetics (now Zoetis) and then became a technical sales representative. In October 2011 I started my job at AgResearch after a short trip to Canada. My interests include wakeboarding and water skiing, watching rugby and cricket and spending time at home on the farm whenever possible.
I work at AgResearch in the Animal Productivity group. My team works in the area of genetics, this means we carry out on farm trials and use information from commercial farms to improve the productivity of farmed animals. We work mostly with sheep but also a number of different species including beef and dairy cattle and many species of fish. My role is to coordinate the collection of DNA tissue samples from ram breeders throughout New Zealand and to help out the rest of my team when they are collecting data for their trials.
What your typical day is like?
I have two types of typical day. One is in the office doing computer work and talking on the phone to farmers, mostly ram breeders. My computer work is a of mix of data analysis, entering DNA samples into a database, writing PowerPoint presentations and planning meetings or events. My other typical day is out in the field collecting data and DNA samples from sheep farms or meat works or presenting the PowerPoint presentations I’ve written for farmers to facilitate the update of new technologies.
What you love most about your job?
I enjoy sharing the research we do with the numerous sheep farmers we work with. I also love getting out of the office to do field work with the rest of my team or presenting at events and field days.
What skills do you need to do your job well?
For part of my job you need good communication skills, good organisation and writing skills, and must be good at public speaking. For the other part you must be precise when collecting data, work well in a team, have good computer skills and have good stock handling skills.
Are there any qualifications you need in a job like yours?
Yes, a university degree is essential however it doesn’t have to be an agricultural degree. Mine is a Bachelor of Science in Genetics and others that work with us have chemistry, Mathematics and AgSci degrees.
What is the most challenging aspect to your job?
The most challenging aspect is balancing
What advice would you give to young people?
Get as much experience as you can, in as many different areas while you're young. Everything you learn will come in handy one day.
What are your goals for the future?
My goals are to continue making a difference in the sheep and beef industry in New Zealand and run my own projects one day.
How did I get here:
School - NCEA: Biology, Chemistry, Maths & English
University: Bachelor of Science Majoring in Genetics