News: Tas Conference Scholar’s Reflections, December 2016

As part of the Crawford Fund’s Conference Scholarship initiative, each sponsored scholar is required to write a short report containing their reflections/impressions/take-home messages of the conference.

Now that the reports have been collated, we would like to share with you some of our favourites for 2016. This time we are highlighting the Tasmania State Committee, and conference scholar John Otto from the University of Tasmania.

2016 Tas State Committee sponsored scholars

2016 Tas State Committee sponsored scholars


About John Otto

I was born in Sudan, but I moved to Australia in 2003. I completed my Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree with honours at UTAS in 2011. I’m currently a PhD graduand. I’m interested in understanding the biological mechanism underpinning Lactation-Reproduction-Nutrition interactions in dairy cows grazing on pasture.

The following excerpts are from John’s inspiring conference report. To view his report in full, and to read the reflections of the other Tasmania sponsored scholars, click here.

On Personal Experience

I was born in Sudan, but due to political circumstances, spent most of my childhood in a refugee camp where I experienced first-hand the devastating consequences lack of food security can bring. For instance, during this period of my life, I witnessed many of my peers suffering agonising deaths in their young age, while some ended up with mental health issues, and others suffered from stunted growth syndrome. These experiences left an enduring effect on me and have driven me to pursue a career in agricultural science.

Mentor Highlight

Prior to attending the Waste Not, Want Not: The Circular Economy to Food Security conference, I thought we, the human race, were not making any palpable efforts to deal with the scourge of food security issues affecting peoples in developing countries. However, the experience and knowledge gained from this year’s conference have given me confidence that the issue of food security can be solved by the selfless effort of the many working in the field. By attending this conference I was fortunate to meet passionate eminent scientists from around the world who are doing their utmost to solve the issue of food security. This, combined with my own personal experience, has strongly encouraged me to become proactive.

Suggestion for Future Conferences

My interest in international agriculture was consolidated through attending this year’s conference organised by the Crawford Fund. However, one recommendation is that I would like to see people with a similar background to me invited to speak on social and political issues affecting food security in their countries. I believe this will raise social/political awareness among the young scholars and the audience attending, and give a different perspective to the scientists.


Visit our 2016 Conference Scholar page for a full list of this year’s scholars, and watch this space for more conference scholar reflections.