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Bright future for Waikato microbiology graduate

11 November, 2013

Bright future for Waikato microbiology graduate

While studying for a PhD at the University of Waikato graduate Ron Xavier discovered a passion for communicating complex science to the public.

Thanks to the collaborative work he completed during a University of Waikato Doctoral Scholarship in microbiology, Ron is now employed by AgResearch in Palmerston North.

His team is currently working towards understanding the risks of global emerging foodborne pathogens with the goal of determining their potential impact on the safety of New Zealand foods.

“Working in this industry involves concise reporting of findings that may be complex in nature. Tailoring the language and presentation of findings to non-scientist audiences is a part of my job I really enjoy,” says Ron.

In addition to his day job, Ron is also dedicated to actively promoting the awareness of China as an export opportunity within New Zealand’s science community. Ron has recently been heavily involved with the Sino-New Zealand Youth Exchange Programme. Ron was one of five leaders selected to participate in the exchange programme as part of a joint venture between the Asia New Zealand Foundation the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. The programme aims to solidify the foundation of Sino-New Zealand bilateral relations.

Also earlier this year, Ron was selected as a New Zealand Young Ambassador for the American Society for Microbiology (ASM), which involved visiting the US and meeting with an extensive network of science leaders within academia, industry and science.

“I’m currently working with the ASM and the US Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS) Policy Fellowship to start a programme in New Zealand for early-career scientists to engage and work in government organisations to make a bigger contribution to the society as a whole.”

At AgResearch one of the highlights for Ron has been the opportunity to present his research team’s capability to the AgResearch board.

“It was an interesting experience preparing a concise and easy-to-understand presentation to showcase the historical and future work of the team, with particular focus on the relevance of our work to the food industry.”

His advice to current students is to actively participate in post-graduate activities, particularly the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, which spurred his personal passion for making science palatable and relevant for audiences outside of the science community.


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