How improving agricultural systems could feed the world

Dylan Male

Dylan Male is determined to make a real difference to the agricultural sector. The Charles Sturt University Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Honours) student wants to help tackle world hunger by improving agricultural systems in Australia and overseas.

Dylan’s passion for agricultural systems and his drive to improve the world’s food supply has created exciting new opportunities for him to make an impact. Dylan is set to make new discoveries and solve real-world problems as he embarks on a research journey that takes him to Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Dylan wants to help build stronger links between Australia and our close neighbour, PNG, through his unique opportunity to live, study and undertake internships in the Indo-Pacific region. A deserving recipient of the Australian Government New Colombo Plan scholarship, Dylan’s strong leadership skills developed as a student ambassador, impressive academic results and his involvement in the Charles Sturt community will be invaluable to the PNG community.

Not only will Dylan gain new perspectives and develop professional skills to deepen his understanding of PNG’s agricultural systems, he will also have the opportunity to form lasting connections with professionals, educators and the Indo-Pacific community.

Exploring Dylan’s passion for agriculture

Dylan’s passion for farming communities and agricultural systems was sparked from an early age. And he is keen to make a real difference to people living in regional and remote areas.

“Growing up on a mixed farm for most my life, I have been exposed to agriculture and the great lifestyle that goes with it.  There are so many different career pathways in agriculture that I find very appealing. You’re not just stuck in one job all your life, and every day in agriculture is different! I find agriculture fascinating and have always wanted to learn more about the processes behind how the world feeds itself.”

Embarking on a career with great potential

Excited by the possibilities that a career in the agricultural sector has to offer him, Dylan is driven to help conquer existing problems and improve the agricultural systems of the future.

“Agriculture is such a broad field, with so many different potential career opportunities ranging from a district agronomist to working in government policy. There are many issues and challenges facing agriculture both at present and into the future. My dream career would involve working to find solutions to help overcome these issues, which is why I am currently interested in following a research career pathway.”

“I want to pursue a career that is meaningful and has a positive impact on agriculture. I would love to start my career working in international agricultural research and development in developing countries – looking at ways to increase the productivity, profitability and sustainability of agricultural systems.”

Choosing to study with Charles Sturt

Keeping true to his regional roots, studying at a regional university was always on the cards for Dylan. And with our proud history, rich in agriculture, Charles Sturt was a natural fit.

“I chose to study with Charles Sturt University for many reasons. Firstly, I wanted to study locally and in a regional location. Since I grew up in the Wagga region, Charles Sturt seemed like a great option for me. I found that the Wagga Wagga campus was perfectly located to pursue my passion for agriculture by studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science. The campus has agriculture literally right at its doorstep, with the Riverina region being known for its agricultural diversity.

“Wagga has also provided me with many invaluable opportunities to gain real-world experience and insight into the industry. For example, I’ve developed skills in research by working with crop physiologists at the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI).

“Other reasons why I chose to study at Charles Sturt include the more affordable living costs that come with living in a regional area, the smaller class sizes and the importance that Charles Sturt places on workplace learning.”

Solving real-world problems at Papua New Guinea Unitech

Dylan will enter an exciting chapter of this study journey as he jets off to study abroad this year.

“I’m about to travel to PNG where I will undertake my Honours project. This project will aim to improve the productivity and sustainability of an agricultural system in PNG through increased scientific knowledge and understanding. I’m currently planning to join an ACIAR (Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research) project that is looking into the intensification and crop protection of sweet potato.

“Sweet potato is a staple food in PNG, providing much of the population’s food energy. Therefore, it seems important to optimise the productivity of sweet potato cropping systems to ensure greater food availability and more profitable crops for semi-commercial growers.”

How a scholarship is taking Dylan further

Dylan is living proof that hard work and taking advantage of opportunities can pay off.

“Getting my overseas placement was a pretty awesome feeling and I wasn’t expecting it. I received an email from Charles Sturt saying my grades made me eligible for the New Colombo Plan. Honestly, when I first started researching the application process I didn’t think I would stand a chance at being successful.

“But I applied, I dedicated a lot of time to completing the application process and Charles Sturt’s career development office and CSU Global supported me every step of the way. There is such great support offered to students by the Charles Sturt community.

“I encourage all students to research what scholarships are available to them and apply for as many as you can, it pays off.”

Learning valuable lessons

Through his studies, Dylan has gained a fresh perspective of agricultural systems and insight into some of the challenges the industry faces.

“In my course there has been a lot of learning curves. I think the biggest one has been learning how to think critically and being able to solve problems. Agriculture is dynamic and there are always emerging challenges that need to be solved. There’s never just one magic solution to everything!”

“Studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Charles Sturt University has really made me aware of how complex agriculture is and the importance of being critical of information.”

Creating memories at Charles Sturt

Charles Sturt University has provided Dylan with some amazing opportunities to give his study experience a global perspective.

“My most memorable moment would have to have been in my second year of my course where I participated in a four-week organic agriculture and tropical horticulture internship at Big Island Farms, a permaculture farm in Hawaii. I got to experience agricultural systems outside of Australia, which I found very insightful and eye-opening.

“I just remember thinking how amazingly fertile their volcanic soils were over there; living things would just grow anywhere! In stark contrast to the Wagga region, and much of Australia, the agricultural systems in Hawaii were a lot more intensive than the conventional methods of agricultural I am typically exposed to.

“I also made many life-long friends on the trip. I would recommend students get in touch with CSU Global to see what study broad experiences might be well suited for you and your course – you may just have the time of your life!”

Living and studying in the country

Dylan wouldn’t change his decision to live and study in the country for anything in the world.

“I love it. The air is fresh and there is little of the background and traffic noise that you get in the cities.  There’s so many more open spaces and it’s not as hectic as city life. I’ve spent time in Sydney, Melbourne and New York and I like the city, but in the country you can’t go wrong. At Charles Sturt the classes are typically smaller, so you get to know your lecturers, which is good. I have also really enjoyed the social life in the country.”

Getting hands-on at Charles Sturt

Practical learning makes all the difference for students studying agricultural science at Charles Sturt University.

“At Charles Sturt there is a big focus on getting students job-ready through participation in industry placements throughout their degree. At Wagga, we’re right next door to the NSW DPI so I’ve had opportunities to do work experience there. There’s a Charles Sturt farm, which is really handy because we get to go down there for a lot of field trips.

“When I did my internship in Hawaii I was working on a farm, so I got to gain insight into what a farm in another country can be like. Through the DPI I gained insight into the research side of things, which has sparked my interest in doing my Honours.

“I would highly recommend coming to Charles Sturt University. Whether you’re from the city or country, they will welcome you with open arms. The student body is so diverse, there are so many courses offered and you’ll have a really good time!”

“I want to be known for making a difference, contributing in a positive way to the industry and hopefully – one day – be an industry leader. In Papua New Guinea I’ll be working with a lot of smaller scale farmers, helping them increase their productivity, so I really hope to make a difference while I’m there.”

Create a world worth living in

What does a better world look like to you? Does it mean finding a cure for illnesses, improving education, making new discoveries, leading a movement or developing innovative technologies? Or is it about having an impact in your local community and making a difference to the little guys out there? If you’ve ever wanted to make a difference in a career you’re passionate about, you can with us.

Our wide range of courses will give you the skills and industry knowledge so you can be the change you want to see in the world. Follow your heart, get qualified and land a job you’ll love with Charles Sturt University. Let’s get to work!