Turning curiosity into a career - science is at the heart of what we do at AB Agri

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The science of food production will help the world produce enough food for the rapidly growing population. Across AB Agri we have a diverse workforce in a variety of scientific roles, all helping our customers to achieve optimal results, safely and sustainably. But what inspires people to work in this field?

To mark the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science (Friday 11 February) we spoke to several members of our team to find out more 

Their route into a scientific career has had a variety of starting points. From Cristina Migliavacca, the daughter of a vet in a farming area of Brazil; to Christine Parry who was fascinated by her heavily industrialised surroundings in the Northeast of England; to Rocio Garcia, the granddaughter of the owner of a restaurant in Spain frequented by chemists working at a food manufacturer; or Tegan Whiting whose grandfather was a professor of mycology and taught her all about fungi; it’s fair to say stimulus for a scientific career has come from many sources to the colleagues we’ve asked to share. And that’s without even mentioning those with a natural interest in how things work, ability in STEM subjects, or an inspirational teacher at school.

A day in the life…

Despite differing backgrounds, our colleagues agree that every day is different when working in science! Nothing is ever fixed, and everything is always changing and developing, meaning a career in science is never dull and is always varied. 

There is a constant stream of new things to discover, to prove, and to change. What you learnt at school, college, university or life experience can change suddenly and you must relearn information. For example, in biological science, you are dealing with animals’ lives, diseases, markets and high-quality protein production and any change in one of those areas can impact the others. There is no space to keep doing the same when the whole world is in constant evolution. 

Is science for you?

It is important to know the flexibility of your skill set. Often, scientific principles are widely applicable. For example, basic nutrition knowledge often applies across all the species. Secondly, not all science careers are laboratory based, so explore your options. 

If you are open-minded, like learning new things, being involved in many different projects, having a big input on decisions, interacting with people and giving advice, offer training and support, and want to feel the work you do is very valuable to the industry you work in, then being a scientist could be for you.

Thank you to the following colleagues for their support with this story, and to all our incredible scientists across the AB Agri family for their expertise, hard work and dedication:

  • Tara Metzger, BSc, Laboratory Assistant, AB Vista
  • Ingrid Lupatsch, PhD, Aquaculture Specialist, Livalta
  • Katie Pempsell, BSc, Senior Scientist – ASPAC, AB Vista
  • Cristina Migliavacca, BSc, Commercial Veterinary consultant, Premier Nutrition
  • Rocio Garcia, MSc, NIR Application Manager, AB Vista NIR Services
  • Tegan Whiting, PhD, Pig Nutritionist, ABN
  • Laura Villada, PhD, Americas Laboratory Operations Manager, AB Vista
  • Christine Parry, BsC Hons, Head of Development and Innovation, AB Agri
  • Helen ‘Nell’ Masey O’Neill, PhD, Innovation Director, AB Agri
  • Sophie Hiscocks, PhD, Research Manager, AB Vista