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Students receive $150,000 to pursue passion in sustainable agriculture

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The future looks bright for agricultural science students who were awarded scholarships totalling almost $150,000 to pursue their passion of contributing to a sustainable future for Tasmania’s agriculture and food sector.

Director of the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), Professor Michael Rose, presented certificates to students at a celebratory morning tea in Hobart this morning. The students are enrolled in a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with Honours at the University of Tasmania, which is taught by TIA at both Hobart and Launceston campuses.

“A degree in agricultural science develops sought-after skills that could see graduates working in diverse roles including on farms, at board tables, in classrooms, in laboratories, or advising governments,” Professor Rose said.

“With six jobs to every agricultural graduate in Australia, our graduates are spoilt for choice and taking their pick of diverse and exciting jobs around Australia. These scholarships are important for our students as they help to alleviate financial pressure and allow students to focus on their studies. We’re incredibly grateful for the continued support of our generous donors.”

Kara Devlin, from Taroona, received the Fruit Growers Tasmania Honours Scholarship. She is also a previous recipient of the Agriculture and Food Systems Scholarship which recognises outstanding academic performance.

Her honours research will investigate management options for codling moth, which is one of the most economically damaging pests of apples and can wipe out 50-90 per cent of fruit in an unmanaged orchard.

“This scholarship will ease financial pressures and allow me to focus my energy on honours research. It will also allow me to meet and work with people in the agriculture sector,” Kara said.

“My honours project will investigate biological control options for codling moth in Tasmanian apple orchards focussing on a parasitic wasp. Successful biological control of codling moth – used in tandem with other integrated pest management strategies - would support apple growers to reduce their pesticide use which would have both an environmental and financial benefit.

“I first became interested in agriculture when I discovered how diverse and broad it really is. It's also a practical way for me to applying my interest in science- I always loved biology in school, and being outdoors, so agriculture fits in to this perfectly.”

Sophia Smith, of Launceston, is the 2023 recipient of the Professor George Wade Scholarship in Agricultural Science. This endowed scholarship recognises the late Professor George Wade, a respected plant pathologist who established the School of Agricultural Science at the University of Tasmania in 1962.

Sophia is passionate about environmental sustainability and is eager to learn more about the agricultural industry and how she can make a difference.

“I feel honoured to receive this scholarship, as I grew up on Flinders Island and had to move to mainland Tasmania to undergo higher education to follow my dream of working in the sustainable agricultural industry,” Sophia said.

“By gaining this financial support I have been able to afford required books, fuel expenses and to buy myself a pair of boots that are easy to keep clean when moving between different farm visits, with biosecurity in mind.”

The agricultural science scholarship recipients for 2023 are:

  • Bronte Legro, Agriculture and Food Systems Scholarship (Launceston campus)
  • Georgia Baker, Costa Scholarship in Agricultural Science (Launceston campus)
  • Rhiannon Cox, David McEwan Scholarship in Agriculture (Hobart campus)
  • Matthew Brown, Graeme Tole Memorial Scholarship in Agricultural Science (Launceston campus)
  • Shannon Fall, Neale Edwards Scholarship in Agricultural Science or Forestry (Hobart campus)
  • Sophia Smith, Professor George Wade Scholarship in Agricultural Science (Launceston campus)
  • Ellen O’Brien, Robert Menary Tasmania University Scholarship in Agricultural Science (Hobart campus)
  • Candina Crowden, Tasmanian Beef Industry Trust Scholarship in Agricultural Science (Hobart campus)
  • Kara Devlin, Fruit Growers Tasmania Honours Scholarship (Hobart campus)

TIA is a joint venture between the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government.

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