Seed World

20 Most Inspiring Gen Z Employees In The EU Seed Sector In 2022: 11-15

In this issue of European Seed, we would like to put the spotlight on some of the young people that are active in our sector, and provide an inspiration for others. We selected the age group until 30 years, often termed as ‘Generation Z’ (or Gen Z).

As in previous years, you will again find a few lines of text per winner, explaining in a nutshell who they are and how they are inspiring others. We hope you enjoy the list, and as usual, we very much welcome and look forward to any feedback you wish to share.

Read parts one and two.

Here are 11-15, alphabetically on last name:

Laurianne Nicolo, Administrative and Legal Assistant at UPOV, Switzerland

Laurianne has always been passionate about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Working at UPOV as an administrative and legal assistant, she has realized how the seed sector plays a vital role in meeting the SDGs. Her work has meant that her passion has spread to the seed sector and, particularly, the role of plant variety protection (PVP) in realizing the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Laurianne combines her passion with a great work ethic and team spirit. She is a constant source of inspiration for others with her positive attitude, ability to adapt to new circumstances and enthusiasm to grow and take on new tasks. In her relatively short time at UPOV, Laurianne has worked on important global events, such as the seminar on the role of plant breeding and PVP in enabling agriculture to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Vaclav Prasil, Manager for Seed Production and Seed Quality at SEMO a.s., Czechia

Vaclav studied plant production at Mendel University in Brno, Faculty of Agrisciences, where he graduated in 2018. With his master thesis on the “Verification of the effect of the use of biostimulants and mycoparasitic fungi in seed encrustation”. He achieved the Rector’s award. Results of his thesis have been particularly used for the optimization of treating technology at SEMO a.s.

Still as a student, he joined the research project of SEMO a.s. ‘Protection of plant seeds against diseases and pathogens by atmospheric plasma DCSBD (Diffuse Coplanar Surface Barrier Discharge)’.

Now, he works at the company as manager for seed production and seed quality. He already regularly participates in ESA and ISF congresses. In February 2019, he attended the seed production workshop at UC Davis. He helped introduce and optimise the chlorophyll measuring technology by CF-mobile in the company and using this technology in the seed business (optimal harvest time and storage management, choosing the best seed lots).

He is often responsible for leadership of student’s practices at the company. With his passion for seed technologies and seed production of vegetables, he is possible to grab the attention of a wide range of listeners, not only students, for this industry.

Elena Del Pup, MSc student in Plant Breeding at Wageningen University, The Netherlands

Elena comes from Italy, where she studied agricultural sciences at Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa. She worked at the Plant Treaty Secretariat in Rome and at the European Circular Bioeconomy Fund in Bonn, Germany, where she identified promising agribiotech start-ups. Elena is currently doing her MSc internship at Stanford on computational discovery of plant natural products. “My favourite definition of plant breeding is ‘the science of generating diversity’. Diversity is a unifying topic in my generation and a pervasive concept in plant breeding. What I love most about plant breeding is the variety of stakeholders: farmers, breeders, consumers, researchers, policymakers, large corporates, and small-sized start-ups. An open and trust-based dialogue between them is key to a healthy food system.” This is why she co-founded Progetto Bio[Tecno]Logico for scientific communication, and she is on the board of GeneSprout Initiative for youth-led advocacy on New Breeding Techniques. Currently, she is focusing on empowering small local non-profits by improving access to scientific knowledge and technologies. As founder of The Good Scientists, she is working with a team of 12 passionate volunteers to make plant science research actionable for social impact. “We are creating an automated matching platform to bridge science and third sector.”

Jaime Nolasco Rodríguez Vázquez, Agricultural Engineer at Agrovegetal, Spain

Jaime was born in 1995 in Paterna del Campo (Huelva), a small Andalusian grain-producing village, and he was interested in agriculture from a young age. His grandfather oversaw the “El Alpízar” farm and with him, and he learned the typical tasks of the field and the importance of cultivating varieties suitable for the climate of the area. During his studies at the University of Seville, he did his BSc project with the professors of plant breeding and decided to dedicate himself professionally to obtaining new varieties of cereals. Already back in 2016, Jaime began doing internships with Agrovegetal as an Agricultural Technical Engineer. Later he has combined his work at Agrovegetal with the completion of the master’s degree in agricultural engineering. He is currently doing his industrial doctorate in the digitization of wheat rust severity data collection and is participating in various research projects such as WheatRes, TRENDING, RobigUS, etc. He has also participated in the Operational Groups TRIDURAND and CELEGAND.

Zarmeen Saleem, Finance Project Manager at Agroman Chemicals and Seeds Pakistan

Food insecurity, burgeoning global population, and vulnerability to climate catastrophes may seem economic and social ‘buzzwords’ to many; yet form the acumen to Zarmeen’s shift to the seed sector. With an ambition of transforming traditional agriculture financing in Pakistan and our company serving as the outset, she revolutionized the conventional paper check system and pioneered a payment facilitator along with digital wallet for rural farmers in collaboration with fintech firms. Her efforts have been instrumental to the EU seed sector as well, since she visits Europe for the actualization of our novel farming ventures there with multiple Hungarian companies. In 2022, she collaborated with one of our Hungarian partners in Martonvásár for hybrid corn seed in Pakistan. Being a Gen-Z employee, her traits of open mindedness towards incorporating technological advances in any field of work inspired and motivated other employees in managerial positions to assess their status quo and adopt tech-based solutions.

Continue to part four.