Mekdes Gelete Tiyuke (’23, Ethiopia) knew that her country was full of riches, but she never imagined how diverse they were. In December 2021, while finishing her second year at EARTH, she went home to Ethiopia to visit her family for the holidays. It was an emotional reunion after two years of not seeing her loved ones and the global pandemic’s hardships. While home, Mekdes also got a fantastic surprise. She discovered Sher Ethiopia PLC, the world’s largest rose grower and Europe’s leading supplier of roses.
From that moment, Mekdes knew that when it came time for her internship, she wanted to return to her country and work with this company. Sher Ethiopia is driving opportunities for Ethiopians by providing more than 12,000 jobs, basing its policies on the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and striving to implement good agricultural practices. Mekdes wanted to be part of this mission, and the company enthusiastically welcomed her almost four months ago.
So far, she has worked in several areas with other professionals who have encouraged her to develop her research processes and to advance and learn more every day. Her main objective was to study different means of integrated pest management. Mekdes is working on a system to monitor the levels of thrips (thunderflies or Thysanoptera) to determine their economic threshold and define different standards and ranges through her final research data. All this information is vital for the company’s decision-making regarding this pest that affects not only roses but also other crops.
“EARTH gives us the tools and knowledge to be successful professionals in real work environments and, at the same time, to advance the social and environmental changes that the world urgently needs. The University has helped open my eyes to see my country’s opportunities and wealth and learn about the needs of the agricultural industry,” Mekdes says with joy.
In January, Mekdes will return to the Guacimo Campus in Costa Rica to complete the final year of her degree. Thanks to her internship, she is eager to finish her graduation project based on her research over the last four months. After graduation, she plans to return home and already has a job offer to continue working with Sher Ethiopia.
We wish you great success, Mekdes!