AgBio Challenge

The AgBio Challenge was a great opportunity for my team and I to learn how to work under pressure to brainstorm a relevant strategy to address the question we were given in a 48 hour period. The question for this year’s competition was: “How can innovation help us address issues with water, including deficits and abundances?

We focused on flood mitigation and irrigation in the Okanagan Valley because it is the area with the lowest per capita water availability in Canada and a center for high value agriculture. In the forty eight hours we were given we focused on developing a plan that was achievable using current policies and funding bodies.

Each group presented a different strategy to address the question in a fifteen minute time frame on competition day. This was then followed by a five minute question period. The creativity of each group speaks to the wealth of knowledge that exists in the agriculture industry to address local and international issues. After the presentations, it was interesting to talk to other groups to further understand how they developed their ideas.

In future years, I would recommend any AgBio student to participate in the challenge to further develop their teamwork, problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Both faculty and industry members emphasized that these skills are relevant for students and fulltime employees in the agriculture industry.

From all the student participants, I want to thank RBC, CropLife Canada and the Saskatchewan Institute of Agrologists for sponsoring the event in addition to the staff in the Dean’s Office and the ASA who made the 2019 AgBio Challenge a success.

 

Written by an AgBio Challenge 1st Place Team Member


 

Moving Up: Transition From Summer Student to Full Time Employee Workshop

During the Moving Up workshop, many topics were discussed with the purpose of helping graduating students with the transition from summer intern to full time employee. After attending this workshop, I realized the extreme difference between a summer job and a full time position, and the importance of knowing the steps that one should take when making this transition.

The workshop started off by outlining the important steps to developing a career capital, which included a number of emotional mindsets one should take on when starting a new full time position. From there, the importance of social media accounts, and how to make sure your private life remains private, without disrupting your work were discussed. During the social media talk LinkedIn was mentioned, and how it is an extremely positive and easy way to make on ‘online resume’ that creates avenues for job opportunities and professional connections.

After discussing online engagement in the professional, full time world, the topic of professional etiquette came up. Everything from the importance of a polite voicemail, keeping business cards on you at all times, to following up on emails and phone calls in a timely manner were discussed. The best thing I took out of this was that organization is key in developing professional etiquette and that forming connections is important, but maintaining that connection into the future can be even more important.

The workshop ended with what I felt like was the most important part, reviewing contracts and salary negotiating. This is where a summer internship and a full time job are extremely different, and where tons of students are lacking in experience and overall knowledge. All of the different portions that you should review carefully when you get a full time contract were covered, and we discussed how to negotiate your salary in a respectful manner. Personally, I will be receiving a full time contract in April, and I didn’t know to look for even half of the stuff that was brought to light, so I am super grateful that it was brought to my attention. The salary-negotiating portion was valuable because this is an area that newly graduated students often feel uncomfortable discussing. This workshop did a great job at making us realize that negotiating salary is common, and that if we feel we deserve more than the initial offer it is ok to discuss the topic with our employer further.

This workshop and presentation was one of the best professional development events I attended all year. It was short and to the point, contained valuable information that everyone is sure to use at some point, and it was casual enough that everyone felt comfortable asking questions and discussing things with the facilitator and RBC representative. After attending, I feel much better about my transition into a full time employee knowing what to look for in a contract, how to set myself up on social media, and knowing some tips on professional etiquette that will help me establish a good first impression with my company leaders and coworkers.

 

Written by a Graduating Student