Scholarships help students grow new career connections

1 May 2018
Gillian Kirchner

Two final year University of Queensland agribusiness and agriculture students are among only 13 university students across Australia and New Zealand who have been awarded Careers Pathways Scholarships to attend the Hort Connections Conference and Trade Show in Brisbane 18-20 June, 2018.

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences’ Gillian Kirchner and Ben Choice were awarded the scholarships, offered by PMA Australia-New Zealand Ltd, an affiliate of the Produce Marketing Association, which services the fresh fruit, vegetable and floral industries.

Ben Choice

School of Agriculture and Food Sciences lecturer in agribusiness Dr Phillip Currey said Gillian and Ben were outstanding students who would benefit from this year’s event, which connects the Australian and New Zealand fresh produce industry with future leaders.

“Students will network with industry professionals and an industry mentor will be assigned to each student to answer questions, introduce them to other industry professionals,” he said.

“They will also be given pre and post conference assignments to help prepare for the event and add more value to their learning experience.”

Over the past seven years, PMA A-NZ has offered this scholarship to more than 70

“This opportunity will be incredibly valuable for me to make important connections in the industry and discover potential career options after I graduate at the end of this year,” she said.

 Ben is in the final year of a Bachelor of Agribusiness, and also expects to graduate in December.

He had prior experience in broadacre cropping on the Darling Downs and in Central Canada, before commencing studies in 2015, and now works as a nursery hand at Withcott Seedlings and runs a small cut flower business with his fiancée.

He said horticulture was a vibrant and constantly changing industry with big opportunities for growth, particularly into international markets like Asia.