During the month of March, CIMMYT-Obregon hosted six winners of the Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum (WIT) Early Career Award. The Award, established in 2010 by the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative, provides professional development opportunities for women working in wheat during the early stages of their careers. This year, CIMMYT provided its facilities to support Samia Berraeis (Tunisia), Sandra M. Dunckel (Switzerland), Naruoka Yukiko (Japan), Maria Newcomb (USA), Kaori Ando (Japan), and Lida Derevnina (Australia). Through the support of the WIT program, CIMMYT seeks to increase scientific knowledge and collaborative research to improve agricultural productivity. The participants had the opportunity to attend CIMMYT’s Visitors Week, benefit from daily interactions with scientists from around the world and from working with CIMMYT scientists and a group of 26 trainees from 16 different countries.
The Early Career Award is named after Jeanie Borlaug Laube, a mentor to many and the daughter of Nobel Laureate Dr. Norman E. Borlaug. She has served as Chair of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative since October 2009. 10 candidates received the WIT Award but only 6 of them, representing 5 countries, were able to visit CIMMYT this season.
Kaori Ando (WIT Award winner from Japan and a post-doc from Washington State University) reflected on her experience at CIMMYT-Obregon: “I would like to thank all of the staff who made my visit to CIMMYT possible. Visiting CIMMYT was one of my life-long dreams; words cannot describe how ecstatic I was to be here. It was nice that our first week coincided with the Visitors Week, so that we could see each group’s field and get acquainted with their programs. It was also nice that we were given the opportunities to interact with scientists from all over the world and that we were given an overview of CIMMYT’s work. Overall, my visit to CIMMYT was very fruitful. I was able to see the organization and the latest research. I was able to deepen my knowledge of wheat breeding. The visit reminded me that there are so many things I can learn and improve, and it provided me with an opportunity to refocus my research. Through my reflection, I realized that there is room for me to improve my communication skills to be an effective scientist. The most significant aspect of my visit at CIMMYT was that I met and made many new great friends with whom I can share my passion for wheat breeding. I am especially thankful that I happened to share room with Lida [Derevnina] who has become a great friend of mine. Once again, thank you very much for providing this opportunity to me, I am newly equipped and focused and will strive to accomplish great things worthy of a WIT scientist.”