Monday, March 7, 2011

Women Changing the Face of Agricuture Conference

The Women Changing the Face of Agriculture Conference was held on March 4th, 2011 at the Bone Student Center-ISU, Normal, IL.  We had several participate from the University of Illinois College of ACES, and this is a picture of our "Intigrated Pest Management team" which was represented by those who work in Crop Sciences as well as the Illinois History Survey.  Believe it or not, we have an insect, plant disease, and weed chick represented here!  From left to right:  Kelly Estes, State Survey Coordinator, Illinois Cooperative Agriculture Pest Survey, Stephanie Porter, Visiting Plant Diagnostic Outreach Coordinator/Plant Clinic Dianostician, Crop Sciences, Michelle Wiesbrook, Pesticide Safet Specialist, Crop Sciences...and not wanting to be in the picture is Suzanne Bissonnette, IPM Coordinator/Plant Clinic, U of I Extension.

At the conference, we were able to visit with several girls that were interested in a career in agriculture.  Their ages seem to range from a Freshmen in High School to Sophomore in College.  After chatting with the girls, we tried to get a feel for what interests they had.  To our surprise, many were interested in Animal Science; however many were undecided on what they wanted to do with their lives.

I think we learned alot not only from the girls that attended this conference, but alot about each other! I learned that Kelly Estes,who showed animals and was active in 4-H, was an Animal Science major until she was a Junior in College and then changed to a Crop Science major after taking an Entomology class.  Stephanie Porter had her heart set on Biotechnology, but later changed her concentration to Plant Pathology, after having completing a Plant Disease course. Michelle Wiesbrook, raised on the farm, had her mind set on NOT pursuing a career in agriculture, but was steered into the ag business field by her local ag teacher, and later learned she was interested in Weed Science. Suzanne Bissonnette, was a city girl, started out in Pre-Med, and later switched over to a Plant Pathology doctoral degree, which then led her to her career in agriculture. We all realized that we ended up in careers that we could of never imagined!  Who would of ever thought that we would like bugs, fungus, and weeds?

From these experiences, we illistrated to the girls in attendance, that it is OK not to know what career path to take, but recommended that they take alot of different courses and, if possible, experience some different internships to figure out exactly what they like....and, more importantly, what they don't like. 

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