Queensland-born scholar keen to meet wool leaders

Terry Sim, April 14, 2022


Vet student Jessica Curran on the job with her red heeler Jinx.

FOURTH year veterinary science student Jessica Curran is looking forward to meeting some wool industry leaders after winning a 2022 AgriFutures Horizon Scholarship.

Jessica is sponsored by Australian Wool Innovation and is among 20 scholars across Australia awarded the 2022 Horizon Scholarship.

She said is studying a five-year Bachelor of Veterinary Science at James Cook University and is looking forward to working as a livestock veterinarian.

“JCU puts a bit of a focus on producing livestock vets, so there a few of us coming through, which is really good.”

Jessica, 22, grew up in central western Queensland on a cattle and sheep station north-west of Longreach. She is excited to enhance her knowledge of innovative practices within the sheep and wool industry and to learn from industry leaders about emerging opportunities and challenges in an industry placement.

“I am very grateful to be chosen for such an amazing program, which will provide networking and placement opportunities and will be pivotal in shaping my future as a livestock veterinarian.

“I am extremely passionate about improving production systems to increase profitability and continue developing a sustainable future for primary producers,” she said.

Jessica said being involved with every aspect of the family business sparked her interest in livestock.

“I was fortunate enough during high school to attend boarding school and during our holidays my cousin Ella and I would make sure we never missed a muster, carting horses between our families’ properties.”

After graduating school, Jessica took a gap year to work on Iffley – a large cattle station north of Julia Creek in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

“I spent the year riding horses, attempting to ride motorbikes and mustering and processing cattle.

“Since beginning my course I have been fortunate to experience many other faucets of agriculture including feedlotting, cropping, the performance horse industry and wool production,” she said.

Jessica said she is thrilled to be sponsored by AWI and the opportunities it will present.

The Horizon Scholarship initiative is supported by seven research and development corporations, along with Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia and FMC Australasia to develop the next generation of rural leaders.

The Horizon Scholarship provides scholars with a $10,000 bursary over two years, thanks to ongoing support from industry sponsors. This support funds an annual four-day professional development workshop and two weeks of industry placement each year. AgriFutures said the Horizon Scholarship program provides the next generation of leaders with opportunities to kickstart their leadership skills and expand their networks.

AgriFutures Australia managing director John Harvey congratulated the 20 students on their success and welcomed the future rural leaders to the program.

Students are carefully paired with industry sponsors that align with their career aspirations and industry experience. Support from sponsors is key to the program’s success and assists students to network with industry leaders and learn new skills relevant to a career in their chosen field.

2022 sponsors include Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC), Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA), Australian Eggs, Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), Dairy Australia, Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), Hort Innovation, Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), FMC Australasia and the AgriFutures Emerging Industries, Honeybee and Pollination, and Agrifood Innovation Programs.

“The AgriFutures Horizon Scholarship Program would not be possible without our sponsors.

“The diversity of industry sponsors reflects the desire across the board to focus on our future leaders who will build prosperous and sustainable rural industries of the future.”

“I encourage scholars to make the most of the fantastic opportunities their industry sponsors provide.

“They will be able to collaborate across rural industries and participate in valuable work placements and attend workshops that will open doors to a successful career in their chosen field,” Mr Harvey said.

The scholars will also attend a four-day workshop in July focused on leadership and personal development featuring special guest speakers and industry experts.

Hear what past and present scholarship recipients say about their AgriFutures Horizon Scholarship experience at:

The 2022 scholars, their institutions and sponsors include:

Amy Ferguson, University of Melbourne, Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia

Amy Clementson, University of New England, Hort Innovation

Ayla Christophers, University of Adelaide, Cotton Research and Development Corporation

Charlotte Nugent, Charles Sturt University, Meat & Livestock Australia

Darcy MacCartie, University of Adelaide, AgriFutures Honeybee and Pollination Program

Emily Chambers , University of Adelaide, Grains Research and Development Corporation

Hugo Quinn, Curtin University, Grains Research and Development Corporation

Jenna Wright, University of Sydney, Grains Research and Development Corporation

Jessica Curran, James Cook University, Australian Wool Innovation

Lachlan Bryant, University of Queensland, Grains Research and Development Corporation

Laura Carniel, University of Queensland, FMC Australasia

Luke Austin, Southern Cross University, Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia

Macey Holland, University of Melbourne, FMC Australasia

Marieke Hoellscher, Charles Sturt University, AgriFutures Emerging Industries Program

Mitchell Salan, Charles Sturt University, Dairy Australia

Ophelia Neumann, The University of Adelaide, Dairy Australia

Samuel Stone, James Cook University, Dairy Australia

Sarah Hamblin, University of Queensland, Meat & Livestock Australia

Thomas McPherson, University of Sydney, AgriFutures Agrifood Innovation Program

Tirza Winarta, University of Sydney, Australian Eggs

Click here for more information about the 2022 scholars.

Source: AgriFutures Australia.


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  1. John Karlsson, April 14, 2022

    I am a retired veterinarian involved with research on parasite resistance in Merino sheep.
    I currently run a small sheep farm where I practice my research experience. I also have a BSc (Gen) degree.

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