International Women’s Day – Gefu Wang-Pruski

Tell us a bit about yourself and your role in the agriculture industry in Nova Scotia

I am a full professor at Dalhousie University Agricultural Campus (Dal-AC). My duties and responsibilities are teaching, research, and service to the scientific and local communities. I have been working at Dal-AC (formal NSAC) since 1999 as a plant geneticist. My work to support the NS Ag industry is focused on field nutrition management, processing quality and human nutrition, variety selection, management of soil borne and air borne diseases and insect pests, and effective use of fungicides and strategies to reduce their environmental impact. The type of food crops my research programs have studied include potato, spinach, strawberry, tomato and several other cover crops grown in NS and Maritimes provinces. I trained over 100 highly qualified personnel (graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, research technicians and associates). Besides over 100 peer-reviewed papers and books I published, I also provided over 50 industry reports, as well as shared my research findings with growers, processors and stakeholders at many grower’ meetings and conferences.

What is one message you would like to share about women in agriculture for International Women’s Day?

As a woman academia in Ag education and research, an important quality is to trust yourself, and believe you can achieve what everyone else can. To do so, you need to be open, stay positive, work hard and learn from people around you. As a female and Chinese Canadian, communicating with Ag industry and farmers was not what I was well prepared to do. But throughout my career, I received so much support and recognition from my industrial partners, stakeholders and growers and won their trust to provide research fund, land and labour to help me with my research trials. If I am a successful scientist, it is because I have the Ag industry behind me and believed that my work can make a difference in their business and improve human life and environment.