Adrian Semmelink, MSc – New Entrant Agrologist, BC Ministry of Agriculture

This interview features Adrian Semmelink, a 2018 RES MSc graduate!  Adrian is currently working as a New Entrant Agrologist at the BC Ministry of Agriculture.


What is your current position? 

New Entrant Agrologist with the BC Ministry of Agriculture.


What kinds of responsibilities do you have in your current position, and what kinds of challenges do you face?

I develop, manage, and evaluate programs for new farmers and ranchers throughout BC. My major challenge is time management and balancing all the priorities that come from working in such a diverse sector.


What do you like most about your current job?  

The knowledge that my work can make a concrete difference to some BC farmers. It’s easy to motivate yourself when you know the people you support are responsible for the food on your plate.


In what ways did your experience in IRES help prepare you for what you do now?

The RES program encourages you to take initiative and manage complex projects, which is a critical skill for anyone working as a professional. IRES also improved my ability to address problems without straightforward solutions which remains a large part of my work.

Why did you choose the RES program (and UBC)?  What was your previous educational background, and how did this influence your choice? 

The high calibre faculty and interdisciplinary focus were the major factors . I completed a dual degree in Environmental Sciences and Sociology at UBC and had the opportunity to work with Kai Chan and his lab on an honours research project. This opportunity gave me a window into how committed the department is to high quality interdisciplinary research and I was hooked.


What was the most enjoyable and/or impactful part of your experience in IRES? 

The people! My research took me all over B.C. interviewing farmers and I still think of these farmers as I approach problems in my work today. The faculty and students were also some of the most brilliant and compassionate people I’ve met.


Do you have any advice for current RES students?

Yes! Be honest about what you do and don’t know and don’t wait to talk to the people involved in your research. Take advantage of the opportunities that IRES offers, including the internship, student society, and random hallway conversations.