Catherine H.

Crop Protection Scientist - Diseases
Happy to mentor
Happy to be contacted

About me

Catherine H.
Environment
Environmental Science
Undergraduate
Vanbrugh
2012
United Kingdom

My employment

Crop Protection Scientist - Diseases
AHDB
United Kingdom
Science and research
Large business (250+ employees)
2017

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A day in the life of a Crop Protection Scientist - Diseases in the United Kingdom

Briefly describe the organisation you work for

Agricultural levy board

What do you do?

Manage research to do with diseases of cereals and oilseed crops in the UK

Reflecting upon your past employment and education, what led you to your current career choice?

I had always wanted to work in agriculture, and to help farmers. The AHDB is the ideal organisation in which to do this. I am also stimulated intellectually, which is important to me.

Is your current job sector different from what you thought you would enter when you graduated?

No.

Describe your most memorable day at work

The first day of an international ramularia (a disease of barley) conference which I had organised, when all the delegates arrived and the talks started and I could see everything coming together.

Are there any challenges associated with your job?

Of course. We are responsible for identifying the research needs for UK agriculture that are not met by the market. Knowing the best way to spend the money, to get the biggest impact, can be a challenge.

What’s your work environment and culture like?

We work in an open plan office: this can take some getting used to, especially when you are trying to focus on a difficult task.
The company is great to work for, with many of the benefits available to civil servants. There are many opportunities for training and career advancement, and I meet, and work with, a wide range of experts in the industry.

What extracurricular activities did you undertake at university and what transferable skills did you develop through these?

I had work experience at a crop trials company in the summers of 2nd and 3rd years. This was vital and without it I would not be where I am today. I emailed about 20 companies asking for paid or unpaid work experience, and only one got back to me: finding a placement requires persistence.
Also played in many, many music groups (symphony orchestra, jazz orchestra, brass band, concert band, funk band etc)
Had a horse - I wouldn't advise taking your horse to university!
This all meant I didn't have time for much work so I learnt how to prioritise and also good organisation and time management.

What would you like to do next with your career?

Help farmers in areas of the world less well off than the UK.

What top tips do you have for York students preparing for today’s job market and life after graduation?

Get relevant work experience. This is probably the most effective thing you can possibly do.

What topics from students are you happy to answer questions on?

Anything - work experience, career progression, crop management etc

Next steps...

If you like the look of Catherine’s profile, the next steps are down to you! You can send Catherine a message to find out more about their career journey. If you feel you would benefit from more in-depth conversations, ask Catherine to be your mentor.

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