Christine Blaser

Leave for Change Assignment: 
Post-harvest disease and insect/pest management advisor
Leave for Change Partner Organization: 
Himalayan College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology

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I have a Bachelors of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph. I put my degree to good use when I worked as a technician at the Plant Diagnostic Clinic from 1997 to 2009. I performed analyses on plant tissues to detect viruses, fungi and bacteria using ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), aseptic microbiological isolations, and PCR. I identified insects and plant pathogenic nematodes. Currently at Laboratory Services Division, I utilize ELISA to determine if allergenic proteins are present in foods or environmental swabs. My testing supports quality control systems in the food sector. I also perform internal audits to support our own quality control system.

Assignment: Post-harvest disease and insect/pest management advisor
Post-harvest losses are at economically substantial levels due to diseases and pest. HICAST is seeking a post-harves disease and insect/pest management advisor to provide training to its instructors and senior students so that they can in turn train the local entrepreneurs.

I was motivated by others who have participated in Leave for Change. It will be a large step outside my comfort zone being the teacher not the student. It's a chance to grow personally as well as give back at the same time.