Published on 9 March 2015
A strong commitment to improving the livelihood of farmers in Australia and the South Pacific has led to an exciting career opportunity for an Environmental Science graduate from USC.
Tara McKenzie, 32, of Sunshine Beach has been offered a one-year graduate officer role at the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), an Australian Government agency that assists and encourages Australian scientists to use agricultural research to benefit developing countries.
Starting at ACIAR in Canberra in April, Tara will be assigned to the crops research cluster and work on various international projects in Africa, Asia and the South Pacific.
She is thankful for the opportunity to kick-start her career in the field she is so passionate about.
“During my degree I undertook two research projects related to post-harvest horticulture and improving farmer livelihoods in the South Pacific,” said Tara. “I was fortunate to travel to Fiji and Tonga and gained exposure to international practical research for development activities. The ACIAR position will really boost my knowledge and experience in this area.
“My career ambition is to improve farmer livelihoods working at the grass roots level for socio-economic development and global food security. Communities of the South Pacific face immense and unique challenges and I want to help implement solutions.
“My goal is to create, manage, and work on projects with a focus on food security, climate change, horticulture, supply chain development and policy.
USC’s Professor of Horticulture Steven Underhill is delighted that Tara has been offered a position with such an important organisation.
“It is great to see all of Tara’s hard work, commitment and international expertise gained through her USC studies now translating into amazing career opportunities,” he said.
“ACIAR is strategically very important to USC being a major funder of our international research program, particularly in the South Pacific where we have numerous projects underway.
“To now have one of our graduates win this highly competitive appointment is another important milestone which can only further strengthen this relationship.”
Since completing her Bachelor of Environmental Science in 2013, Tara has been working part-time on her Honours thesis, co-supervised by Professor Underhill and Dr Lila Singh-Peterson.
Tara’s thesis, about harvest losses and waste in horticultural supply chains, is now on hold for a year while she takes up her appointment with ACIAR.
— Jane Cameron