Mardi O’Brien, from Kyancutta in South Australia, has been awarded the 2016 Semex Angus Youth Kansas State University Scholarship.
Sponsored by Semex Pty Ltd and Angus Australia, the Kansas State Scholarship allows a young beef cattle enthusiast to spend a semester studying at the prestigious Kansas State University in the US each year.
The opportunity to explore a career path further inspired Miss O’Brien to apply for the Semex Kansas State University Scholarship.
“To be able to network with some of the best minds in the beef industry was an opportunity to good to refuse,” Miss O’Brien said.
“I have a love of travel and being able to combine this with some time at one of the best agricultural universities in the world will be amazing.”
Miss O’Brien has a lot of respect for the personnel in and around Kansas State University.
She credits them for a lot of inspiration she has to remain in the beef industry.
“I can’t wait to gain knowledge from the likes of Dr John Riley and Bruce Young, they are great mentors who have been there and done a lot within the industry,” she said.
Miss O’Brien hails from Kyancutta, a small wheat belt town on the Eyre Peninsula.
There she grew up to have a passion for the feedlot industry.
She was involved in her family’s small feedlot operation where they feed predominantly Angus cattle.
Studying rural science at the University of New England, Armidale, Miss O’Brien spends her holidays working at the Rangers Valley Feedlot at Glen Innes.
She has a strong interest in intensive feeding and the handling and stress management of cattle in feedlot situations.
Miss O’Brien also has an interest in nutrition and meat science, all topics she looks forward to exploring further at Kansas State.
She said she was thrilled to have been named the 2016 Semex Kansas State University Scholarship winner and was grateful awards such as this were available to the youth in agriculture.
She hopes sharing her experiences from winning the scholarship with other young beef enthusiasts will encourage them to remain involved in the industry.
“Agriculture is a huge passion of mine and I want to be able to encourage as many people to get involved in agriculture and the beef industry as possible,” she said.
Angus Australia youth development and education officer Haylee Herriot said international tertiary educational experiences, such as that provided by the Semex Kansas State Scholarship, were a fantastic way to get an insight into international beef industry research and development, the applications of this technology and ways in which these ideas could be implemented back in Australia.