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AgScape had the pleasure of welcoming two students, Lahi Abdi (pictured left) and Joshua Pantaleon, to the team for the summer.
Lahi is entering his third year at the University of Toronto where he is studying International Relations with a minor in History. He worked with AgScape's Programs team to review and update lesson plans, as well as to package and distribute resource materials.
Before joining the AgScape team, my knowledge of agricultural affairs in Canada was quite limited. As a student nearing the end of my degree, I wanted an opportunity to put the skills I’ve learned to the test and gain practical experience. I’m happy to say that I was able to do so. With each day I spent at AgScape, I was able to expand on my skills by working on lesson plans and creating fair resource packages to help AgScape reach its operational goals. At the same time, the work environment has provided me with tremendous insight into the state of agriculture in Canada.
As this was my first full-time job, I was excited to enter the professional world and get a glimpse at what daily life looks like in the workplace. Learning the ins and outs of a full-time office job has started to get me thinking about what career will allow me to balance my life and my work.
One of the most unique experiences I had during my time at AgScape was the staff trip to Cedar Crest Trout Farms in Hanover, ON. I had never been that far out west, so it was a huge leap out of my comfort zone. I learned a great deal about fish farming in Ontario (relative to fish farming in coastal areas of the country). It was fun to see the process of raising the fish at the farm. I also had no idea that nearly half of all fish consumed in Canada are farmed.
Another memorable experience I had was researching curriculum connections to the Grade 7 & 8 lesson plan, “Water and You.” Initially, I believed it would be difficult searching the curriculum to find potential connections to the lesson plan. However, I learned that the curriculum is incredibly broad. I also learned a lot about evaluative practices for Ontario educators, which allowed me to think differently about my own experiences with evaluations in K-12.
Over the last 8 weeks, my manager, Mercedes Unwin, has acted as a mentor for me. Mercedes planned a diverse set of projects and tasks for me to complete so that I would be able to greatly benefit from my work-term. I had a lot of fun working under her supervision on lesson plans and researching the Ontario curriculum! Moreover, Mercedes drew on some of her experiences as a student and as a working professional to provide me with useful tips. For example, she provided me with a project plan template that I plan on incorporating into my academic calendar. My supervisor Cassi Brunsveld also provided me with a lot of support and shared her knowledge of dairy farming with me.
My time at AgScape has been illuminating. I learned a lot about agricultural affairs and was able to gain new skills thanks to the support of the AgScape staff.
Joshua's Reflection on His Work Experience:
Working at AgScape was an amazing experience! I had the opportunity to work on interesting projects such as graphic design and developing social media marketing strategies! I had other assignments to complete which were all exciting and different, so I was always engaged. I also had the pleasure of working with the amazing AgScape team! They were all so welcoming and I learned a lot about working for a not-for-profit business.
Before I joined AgScape, I never really knew much about the agriculture industry or even considered working in the sector. However, as I was completing some projects, I got the chance to explore the vast amount of job opportunities related to my education, which was very eye-opening!
The biggest takeaway from my time at AgScape is the number of opportunities there are related to Agriculture. I want to let other students know that they should keep an open mind because they can find a rewarding and successful career in this industry.
Thanks in recognition to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through their Summer Experience Opportunity, and Employment and Social Development Canada through their Canada Summer Jobs Program for the generous support of these students positions.