16 December 2005

At just 21 years of age University of Queensland (UQ) graduate Keith Pembleton has achieved more towards his career in Agricultural Science than most.

The past four years have seen Keith studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science majoring in Rural Technology, a degree which has allowed him to develop a number of key industry linkages and career opportunities, not only within Australia but also offshore.

Having developed a keen interest in pasture management during his studies, Keith spent the industrial placement during his third year of his degree with the Tasmanian Institute of Agricultural Research (TIAR), focusing on intensive sown pastures, mainly with respect to the dairy industry.

“Working in Tasmania was an excellent opportunity that allowed me to work with and learn from some of Australia’s leading Agricultural Scientists” Mr Pembleton said.

“It really opened my eyes to the excitement of a career in agricultural research and gave an additional focus and purpose to the rest of my studies in the Rural Technology program,” he said.

Further developing his expertise in intensive pastures and the dairy industry, Keith completed his final year research project with the Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPI&F) Mutdapilly Research Station near Ipswich working with Senior Research Scientist Kevin Lowe and being supervised by Dr Len Bahnisch from the University’s School of Agronomy and Horticulture.

Keith was awarded a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with First Class Honours at the Graduation Ceremony at the UQ Gatton Campus this month, and is now looking to the future.

With his heart set on advancing his studies with a PhD, the opportunities are many. While The University of Queensland would welcome the enthusiastic scholar and researcher back, the industry contacts that Keith has made over the last four years have widened the possibilities.

“I have been considering completing my research studies at Purdue University which is one of the leading agricultural Universities in the United States”, Mr Pembleton said

“The contacts I made while I was in Tasmania mean that I could complete my PhD research down there. I am also considering an opportunity to work on the physiology of tropical pastures managed under cell grazing here in Queensland as well. The range of opportunities available to me has exceeded my wildest expectations.”

Keith’s graduation also marked a special occasion for his father, who attended the ceremony. Keith’s father, Ray graduated Bachelor of Applied Science (Rural Technology) in 1977 and is now an Agricultural Science Teacher at Nambour.

Media inquiries: Susanne Schick - UQ Gatton Campus (5460 1229, 0409 265 587).

Further information/comment: Contact Dr Len Bahnisch, School of Agronomy and Horticulture (5460 1350, 0409 897 433).