Internationally Educated Professional Agrologists Program

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This is the story of a Marketing Specialist from Colombia, Claudia Escandon, and her successes in Ontario, five years after arriving in Canada. In Colombia she designed and implemented strategic marketing plans for multinational companies for 16 years and showed companies how to improve their merchandising tactics. Ironically, her first job in Canada was stocking shelves, following the same type of plans she once designed.

Escandon became a permanent resident of Canada in 2004. She is now articling as a Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) with the Ontario Institute of Agrologists (OIA), and is establishing her career by working as a marketing consultant in the health sector as well as in the fresh cut flower industry. Claudia applied to be registered as a Professional Agrologist with the OIA in September of 2006 and since then has had tremendous successes in her new career in Ontario.

In March 2007, Claudia was nominated to stand as a Public Representative Director for the OIA Board and won a seat.

“New Canadians can offer a range of international training, skills, and experience to the agricultural sector but often have difficulty entering the sector in a professional capacity. OIA is helping advance the careers of these new Canadians through the program for Internationally Educated Agrologists,” Escandon wrote in her nomination package. Claudia is not only the first of the three Public Representatives to sit on the OIA Board, but she is also the first internationally educated professional agrologist.

Then in June 2007, Claudia was a featured speaker at the 1st Anniversary of the IEPA Initiative, sharing the podium with Liz Sandals, MPP for Guelph-Wellington and Gary Fread, President and CEO of the Guelph Food Technology Centre. All three spoke of the IEPA Initiative and how it is making a difference in the Ontario and Canadian economy by bringing a stronger global focus. Claudia spoke as an Articling Agrologist with the IEPA Initiative, “We came to enrich the Canadian mosaic with our different languages, cultures and knowledge. We are the bridge that connects Canada globally with the world.”

Most recently, Claudia has been chosen as the Ontario Agricultural College’s Articling Agrologist in Residence. This means that she will address a public forum and speak with students and faculty about the profession of Agrology and it’s practitioners, in lectures and at strategic networking events. “Innovation in Agriculture: Opportunities for Distinction” was the theme of the 2007 Agrologists in Residence week that took place on the University of Guelph campus in September 2007.

Claudia is one of 300 internationally educated candidates who will be able to participate in the IEPA Initiative up to December 2008. Claudia is a great example of an international agrologist who is making the most of her OIA articling opportunity to better herself, the profession of Agrology, and the Ontario economy. Her involvement shows that in Ontario, internationally educated professionals are leading, governing and creating innovative changes for the industry, profession and the public.

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