Date: 12/02/2002

Three University of Western Sydney students have won travel fellowships to attend the International Livestock Congress in Houston, Texas, from February 18-22.

Katharine Jolly, 24, an Equine Studies student from Kellyville, and two Systems Agriculture students, Daniel Beebe, 22, from Tennant Creek (Northern Territory) and James Bjorksten, 21, from Yeoval, are the only students from Australia who have won the prestigious awards.

25 students from six countries will participate in the international program in which 15 universities will be represented. As part of the program, students will actively contribute to discussions on critical global issues facing the beef and horse industries.

Students are selected on the basis of academic merit, leadership abilities and their interest in horse agriculture or beef.

Dr. Penny Trevor-Jones, Equine Studies Course Coordinator, believes the students will gain leadership skills and excellent contacts through their international experience.

"This is a unique opportunity for our students, offered to only a handful of people," Dr. Trevor-Jones says.

"Through these fellowships, the Congress is aiming to develop future leaders in agriculture."

After being affected by the bushfires on his family stud, James Bjorksten is looking forward to the International Livestock Congress (ILC).

"I'm excited about the scholarship. It will be great to go to Texas and it will be good to get a break since it's been so stressful here during the fires. I've always wanted to go to America and I'm keen to meet people interested in the beef industry," James says.

"It'll also be a good opportunity to interact with international students, world agricultural leaders and agricultural producers."

"ILC is a meeting of world leaders in the beef industry so it's quite an honour to attend. I'll be hearing about new technologies in meat science, beef marketing, and developing global markets, to name a few topics."

"Mum's pretty proud of me, like all mums, I guess," James says.

Mrs Bjorksten was over the moon about James' success at university.

"He was always a good student, but teachers used to write in the school reports, 'can do better'. And he definitely has," Mrs Bjorksten beamed.

James came to UWS straight from the Kinross Wolaroi School in Orange. A well-rounded student, James is a keen rugby union player and he also won the EA Southee Scholarship to fund his third year project on a parasite management marketing strategy.

When not at university, James is busy working with his father on the family's Hereford stud. About his career, James says, "I'm looking to become a commercial agronomist, possibly in southern NSW".

Whilst overseas, James will also visit some American universities with the idea of pursuing postgraduate study.


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