Dalhousie Agricultural student chosen for prestigious mentorship program
Ellen Crane wasn’t sure if what she had read was real. It all seemed very much like a dream – her dream.
Ellen Crane is enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as one of the few students chosen from throughout Canada to participate in the Cattleman’s Young Leaders mentorship program.
“My mentor could be someone such as a researcher or a producer that is currently involved in the industry,” Crane said. “With my mentor we’ll make goals together as to what we would like the mentorship to look like. I would like to work on networking and improving the communication of research in the beef industry to the producers that can make use of it.”
In addition to the mentorship program, Crane was also selected as a recipient for the Keith Gilmore Prize for Beef Innovation. While she is the first recipient of the award, the Keith Gilmore Foundation (KGF) will award this scholarship annually to post-graduate youth based on academic excellence and leadership in the beef industry. Through this award, Crane will receive $10,000 towards completing her master’s degree focusing on feed efficiency in beef cattle.
Originally from Cardigan, PEI, Crane grew up immersed in the beef industry. Her family owned a beef farm of about 20 cow-calf pairs of purebred Hereford cattle. Since the age of nine, she was involved in 4-H and showing beef cattle. She then went on to the University of Prince Edward Island where she did her undergrad degree in biology. The young woman is now working on her first year of her master’s degree under orientation of Dr. Yuri Montanholi (industry research on beef cattle husbandry). Crane is studying the residual feed intake and sexual maturity in beef heifers with an additional focus on indirect assessments of feed efficiency, as part of the multidisciplinary research program led by Montanholi on energy metabolism. She will graduate from Dal AC in 2016.
“My ultimate goal is to eventually work in the beef industry,” Crane explains. “Ideally, it would be within the Maritimes.”
So far through the program, Crane has participated in the spring forum where the selections were held. She travelled to the University of Saskatchewan with 23 other semifinalists to participate in a three-day session to narrow down the candidates to the final mentees. She joined in on five roundtable discussions on agricultural related topics, such as antimicrobial use and resistance on marketing beef in a global world.
“There were four to five students at each table. Plus two to three judges to keep score and keep the debates on track. I didn’t want to be too strongly opinionated but I wanted to have my say. I just tried to be myself and do my best.”
Although not yet paired with her mentor, Crane is excited to get started in the program. She expects the pairing to happen any time now.
“I really hope to improve the network I have so far with people involved in the beef industry,” she said. “I hope to learn as much as I possibly can, but if I could narrow it down to one thing I hope to gain, it would be career advice.”
Crane has always known about the program and was always interested in what it had to offer.
“I’ve always had some interest in the program,” she said. “A graduate from last year said I’d be a good fit and that I should apply this year. Since it fit in so well with the timing of my master’s program, I thought I should apply.”
Crane’s experience will help further her career in the beef industry. She will meet new people, connect with industry partners, and gain valuable insight and experience. For her, it truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Emma Geldart is a graduate of Dalhousie University Faculty of Agriculture. She recently was in public relations with the university.