2017 Scholars

Alice Mitchell

Alice Mitchell became interested in agriculture when working on local dairy farms where she witnessed the influence veterinary care has on productivity and animal welfare.

She grew up on a horse stud and hobby farm in Takone in north west Tasmania and is studying a Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Bachelor of Veterinary Science at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga.

Alice is passionate about providing quality veterinary care to agricultural production industries and in particular the dairy industry.

Combining this interest with a love of animals and science, Alice wants to pursue a fulfilling career in veterinary medicine that will enable her to give back to rural Australian communities.

“I want to make a meaningful contribution to Australian agriculture. In the long term I would love to return to Tasmania and work in the dairy industry to assist in overcoming present and future challenges,” Alice said.

Alice is looking forward to the Horizon Scholarship to assist with furthering her career by providing valuable skills and resources.

“The money will relieve the financial stress of my studies on my family, enable me to travel further and pursue opportunities arising from my degree,” she said.

Sponsor: Dairy Australia 

Amelia Gibson

Agriculture provides a plethora of opportunities to learn and grow new skills and this is what Amelia Gibson loves so much.

“I love the lifestyle and people and how rewarding it can be,” Amelia said.

Amelia grew up on a company-owned merino station in the north-west pastoral area of South Australia.

“I spent my gap year working on the station and absolutely loved it,” she said.

Amelia is in her first year of studying veterinary science at the University of Adelaide.

“I chose to study vet science because I want to work in an area that is going to challenge me and allow me to be involved at a hands-on level.

“Ideally I would like to work with production animals and livestock. I plan to continue to live in rural areas of Australia.”

The Horizon Scholarship will provide Amelia with the opportunity to network with different people from the agricultural industry and take part in industry work placements.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity not only to gain experience in the veterinary industry, but also network and learn from people in all areas of agriculture and animal production,” Amelia said.

Sponsor: Australian Wool Innovation 

Annika Spork

Unlike many of the other Horizon Scholarship winners, Annika Spork grew up in Sydney and not on a property or farm.

Her interest in agriculture is coupled with her interest in business and she is studying both in a double degree at the University of New England.

“I believe that there are many aspects of business logistics that can be adopted by the agricultural industry to increase productivity and efficiency,” Annika said.

“I hope that a multi-discipline and modernised approach to farming will reduce the inconsistencies of the industry.

“Through my studies I hope to improve the sustainability and efficiency of their processes.”

Annika is particularly concerned about food security and she is looking forward to learning more about this issue.

At the completion of her degree, Annika hopes to work with improving the consistency and quality of agricultural production whilst lowering its financial risks.

Annika said she will embrace the networking and practical experiences offered by the Horizon Scholarship, because it will provide opportunities she would otherwise not be exposed to.

Sponsor: Australian Egg Corporation

Claire Nock

Claire Nock’s keen interest for agriculture and farming systems was fostered during her senior years of school where she was involved with livestock showing and agricultural science programs.

She was inspired by the people of the industry from supporting staff to breeders and industry leaders. The dedication these people demonstrated and the way they emphasised the industry’s interconnectedness, relevance to other professions and how agriculture is at the forefront of innovative science particularly motivated Claire.

Claire is now studying a Bachelor of Sustainable Agriculture, majoring in agronomy, at the University of Queensland at its Gatton campus.

After completing her degree, Claire hopes to work in either the broad-acre cropping or pastoral systems. She is keen to promote sustainability, smarter use and distribution of product and the integration of industry sectors.

“Many are concerned for our capacity to produce for a growing demand and I believe that we will be able to do so with the increasingly complex level of science we have available to us,” Claire said.

“Although a degree title and its accompanying knowledge will be the first step towards a career in a field of interest, I am excited to broaden my scope of learning and embrace the opportunities the Horizon Scholarship will offer.”

Sponsor:  Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Chicken Meat Extension

Emily Sinderberry

Life on the family farm at Condobolin in central western NSW nurtured Emily Sinderberry’s passion for pursuing a career in agriculture.

Although she spent her high school years at boarding school, Emily kept her interest in agriculture and is now studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management through Charles Sturt University by distance education.

The Condoblin property grew winter cereals and oilseeds with zero-till farming, and also ran a commercial and seed stock Angus beef business.

“I enjoy engaging with the quickly developing technological changes in broad-acre agriculture and the exciting genomic developments in beef cattle breeding,” Emily said.

Emily said she has a career plan to apply her agribusiness management skills in the growing and dynamic corporate agricultural sector and then hopes to transfer it through to her own business in the long-term.

“I was particularly excited to receive a Horizon Scholarship because of the networking, professional development and industry experience I will gain from it,” Emily said.

“Through my placements I hope to gain insight into many opportunities available to me and help me decide exactly which direction I will take in starting a career in agriculture.”

Sponsor: Grains Research and Development Corporation

Emily Walker

Emily Walker credits growing up on a mixed farming enterprise in Tullamore in central western NSW which produced prime lambs and cereal crops as the key to her continuously growing passion towards agriculture.

She is currently studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga and her career goal is to work alongside others within the industry to increase its success, profitability and sustainability.

“I have a strong interest in agribusiness because I believe that in order to be successful in the agricultural industry, financial stability and management must be maintained,” Emily said.

“I am also rather interested in the cropping industry, particular in regards to wheat because it is a vital food source for the world and like many industries is in need for continuous growth and development in order to provide for the growing population of the world.”

Emily said Agricultural Business excites her because it provides the challenge of helping others and researching new ideas to improve areas within the industry.

“I feel extremely fortunate and am very excited to be involved in this amazing experience (Horizon Scholarship) with the opportunity to improve my skills, develop connections within the agriculture industry and increase my first-hand experience,” Emily said.

Sponsor: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

Holly Chandler

Holly Chandler’s goal is to make a positive change to an industry which plays an integral role in everybody’s lives.

“I’ve always been driven towards seeking a sustainable future for our planet and agriculture provides a platform to which I can apply this passion for sustainable living,” Holly said.

“The industry must be revolutionised by the next generation to contend with the growing demand for food. I hope to facilitate this adaption by using my degree to pursue a career in sustainable agriculture.”

Holly is studying Agribusiness at Curtin University in her hometown of Perth.

“I want to be a part of empowering the upcoming generation to become better agricultural leaders for sustainability. I wish to further the sustainable management within the food and fibre industry to create a healthier future for our people and land,” Holly enthused.

She wants to be able to invest her time into finding ways to sustainably increase food production and help the industry tackle the global concern of food security.

Holly would also like to work on a smaller scale involved directly with the farming community, connecting research to farms and furthering the sustainable management within the food and fibre industry.

Holly is keen to embrace the unique opportunities that the Horizon Scholarship offers and in particular become more involved with industry professionals to gain industry knowledge and understand the current problems agriculture is facing.

Sponsor: Cotton research and Development Corporation 

Jessica Zieltjes

Originating from a dairy farm in New Zealand, Jessica Zieltjes and her family moved to their cropping farm outside of Forbes in NSW a decade ago.

Through her family’s background, Jessica has always had a strong passion for agriculture, especially in experiencing a range of industries.

This led her to studying a Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England, with intentions to become involved in international agriculture.

“I hope to be among the future agricultural leaders conducive to the growth and improvement of agriculture in Australia and internationally, applying my knowledge and skills to aid this industry which is core to society,” Jessica said.

Australia’s growing international agricultural connections is of great interest to Jessica, particularly Australia’s relations with neighbouring countries.

She is also interested in the increasing variety of industries within Australia and internationally.

“These (new and emerging industries) pose great potential for the future of agriculture,” Jessica said.

Jessica called the Horizon Scholarship an invaluable path to networking and learning new skills and said she was immensely grateful to have received such an opportunity.

Sponsor: McCaughey Memorial Institute in partnership with Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Rice Extension

Jonathan Reid

Cattle genetics and nutrition are of particular interest to Townsville man Jonathan Reid.

“Genetics is always a fascinating area of study, due to the endless possibilities and being able to strive for something that is ‘bigger and better’ than before,” Jonathan said.

Throughout his high school years, Jonathan participated in many work experience periods on local cattle stations where he gained his passion for northern beef production.

“Agriculture is such a significant industry to be involved in, knowing that your work and research will contribute positively to the lives of so many,” he said.

“With the increasing world population and the pressing need to meet the demands of food production, it is essential for agricultural techniques to become more sustainable, improving people’s lives while not impacting on existing ecosystems. There has never been a better time to be part of these exciting developments.

Jonathan would eventually like to work in Northern Australia in hopes of contributing to current genetics in northern breeds of cattle.

He said he strongly believed that industry placements will help him see where the focus of cattle production needs to be.

“The networking that I will gain from the scholarship will be invaluable, being able to make contact with key leaders in the industry. I feel through these connections it will open a lot of doors for future work placements,” Jonathan said.

“The Horizon Scholarship will also be an opportunity to further my leadership and communication skills, which will significantly help me become an effective agricultural representative.”

Sponsor: Meat and Livestock Australia

Matthew Burge

As a curious schoolboy Matthew Burge’s interest in machinery scored him a permanent finger injury when he was inspecting the gear mechanisms under his family’s old shearer combine

“I’ve always been curious and drawn to machinery, perhaps a little too much,” Matthew said.

“My love for machinery and passion for farming has combined with my developing interest in programming, robotics and precision technologies, or just gadgets in general.”

Matthew’s passion for farming developed during school holidays which were spent with his twin brother, his Dad, and his Dad on the family farm at Allora in south east Queensland, watching and then helping with cattle work and also participating in the never-ending tractor driving.

Matthew often wondered how these new technologies could be adapted and implemented into agriculture, and the range of benefits they could provide Australian farmers.

After working for Norseman Machinery Imports which provided him with an insight into how different industries can work together designing, producing, and improving equipment, Matthew is now enrolled in mechanical engineering with honours through the University of Southern Queensland.

“I am excited and passionate about exploring technological advancements occurring both nationally and overseas and the potential benefits they may hold for Australian agriculture,” Matthew said.

“(I am) pursuing my passion to design and improve agricultural equipment, implementing precision technology and their subsequent benefits into Australian farms.”

As part of the Horizon Scholarship, Matthew is looking forward to meeting with farmers, listening to their experiences and adapting machines and technology to better assist each individual’s farming practices and the agricultural industry as a whole.

Sponsor: Grains Research and Development Corporation 

Renae Bice

Renae Bice’s goal after university is to be involved with liaising with farmers or working along the supply chain in marketing.

Her particular agricultural interest focuses on the Australian Dairy Industry, an interest sparked from growing up on a dairy farm in Bodalla on the south coast of NSW.

Renae is currently studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga, which she said focuses on the economic and business sectors of the agricultural industry.

“It excites me to use up-to-date technological advancements. These will help provide more in-depth analysis of farming practices around Australia in every field and make them more economically stable and viable for future success and development,” Renae said.

“I am also interested in commodities and trading in Australian agriculture.”

“I feel very fortunate to be one of the 2017 Horizon Scholarship recipients. I am very excited to be involved in developing my skills, connecting with professionals in the industry and increasing my first-hand experience through the valued work placement opportunities given through this scholarship. “

Sponsor: Dairy Australia    

Lauren Adler

Sydney-sider Lauren Adler was so keen on agriculture that she studied it by distance education and then changed schools in Year 11 to a school which offered HSC agriculture and had a farm.

She embraced the opportunities her new school offered by becoming Show Team Captain and competing at the Royal Easter Show each year.

Being in an urban area, Lauren did all she could to engage herself in the industry by completing a Primary Industries TAFE course, working as a swabbing steward for Harness Racing NSW, a stable hand and an animal handler for a petting zoo.

Lauren is now in her first year of a Bachelor of Rural Science at the University of New England and is enjoying the broad focus and exposure to many different facets of agriculture.

“My main goal in the future is to make a difference in the industry. I realise I am just beginning my journey and I am very open minded about where my studies and experience may take me,” Lauren said.

“Being a Sydney girl I have worked hard to gain contacts in the industry, but the Horizon Scholarship is going to put me in touch with a much wider agricultural community and perhaps guide me to directions I may not have otherwise thought of. “

Sponsor: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

Zac Gallagher

Zac Gallagher has a specific interest in the future role of technology and research in improving the business and environmental sustainability of agriculture domestically and internationally.

His Brisbane upbringing didn’t get him front and centre in agriculture but he quickly developed an interest in the industry and is now studying a Bachelor Degree in Agribusiness and Sustainable Agriculture whilst majoring in agronomy at the University of Queensland.

Specifically, Zac is embracing the chance to specialise in business and science in a rapidly changing global industry with the opportunity to get involved in solving some of the future challenges facing the agriculture industry.

“Being able to get involved in an industry that is undergoing a very rapid change is extremely exciting, especially the opportunity to get involved with people who are solving some of the critical issues of the future,” Zac said.

“Having the opportunity to be able to network with highly regarded professionals is the major highlight of the Horizon Scholarship.”

“Agriculture has always played a key role in Australia’s society and economy, also with the massive increase in demand for Australian agriculture products around the world agriculture is continuing further to shape as one of Australia’s growing major industries of the future,” he said.

Sponsor: Grains Research and Development Corporation

Matthew Hyde

Matthew Hyde’s long-term goal is to return to his family’s broad-acre cropping farm near Dalwallinu in Western Australia and 250 kilometres out of Perth.

But currently he is focused on his agribusiness degree at Curtain University and the Horizon Scholarship which will provide him with experience and understanding of the agricultural industry and principals which underpin it.

“Although I plan on focusing my career on broad-acre agriculture, I am also very keen to gain a greater insight into the world of big data and the increased efficiencies which it may drive,” Matthew said.

Matthew is currently working part-time with a New Zealand start-up company titled Agritrack which develops agricultural tracking software for farms.

Although Matthew mainly works on the hardware side of things, having access to the founder of the business has provided him with a great insight into the running of a small business and challenges the businesses faces.

“I find the agricultural industry a very interesting and exciting one due to the variety of different opportunities which you can explore,” Matthew said.

“I look forward to the insight which the Horizon Scholarship and its activities will bring and the knowledge which it will instil in me.”

Sponsor: Grains Research and Development Corporation

Tahlia Noonan

Research of climate change adaption to help farmers continue to remain profitable despite the ever changing weather conditions is high on Tahlia Noonan’s list of goals.

Tahlia is currently studying a Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne where she is particularly interested in plant and soil science.

“As part of the climate change adaptation, I have a particular interest in plant seed genetics and would one day like to go into researching the different varieties of seeds,” Tahlia said.

Tahlia feels that genetics are a key aspect to helping farmers maintain their profit margins, as well as helping to develop crops that can survive through frosts, droughts, disease or any other undesirable conditions.

“My main focus would be to help farmers produce higher yields when many aspects are against them,” she said.

“They need the rainfall, weather and market to all align in order for the farmers’ profits to be maximised, and I would like to help discover ways to increase the chances of that happening.”

Tahlia said that as a Horizon scholar, she was looking forward to the work placement opportunities given through the program.

Sponsor: Grains Research and Development Corporation