Podcast: International women

Podcast: International women
This 77th episode of the Real P3 podcast, swine nutritionist Dr Casey Bradley speaks to a panel of various women whom she has met in her career, who have each emigrated to various countries and who share some of their struggles and successes.

Dr Ximena Portal from Bolivia

Portal went on an exchange programme in Australia and worked on a farm where her interest in agriculture began. Later she studied for a bachelor’s in environmental engineering and socioeconomic development, after which she did her master’s in agricultural economics. She had a particular interest in how the pig sector can make a better impact and how pigs can be raised sustainably, and so she went on to study a PhD in swine nutrition and currently works as a business analyst.

Dr Caroline Gonzales from Columbia

Gonzales is from Columbia. She has been passionate about animals since she was young and went on to study animal science. She took the opportunity to work with pigs and on an internship in the Dominican Republic working at various swine farms. She then went to the US to research for 6 months but decided to pursue a masters and then a PhD. After graduating and working at Evonik she moved to Germany to do research for about 4 years after which she returned to the US.

Dr Ursula McCormack from Ireland

McCormack from Ireland has always wanted to work with animals. She did a bachelor’s degree in agricultural science. During her work placement in her 3rd year she stepped foot onto a pig farm, and there her passion for pigs began. She said she was eager to learn more and make a difference. She completed a PhD looking at the intestinal microbiome and feed efficiency in pigs. Wanting to continue research, she focused on changing the diet to see what the effect would be on ammonia, odour emissions and gut performance mostly in finisher pigs. She took an interest in environmental sustainability and wanted to pursue research in this area. She works as a scientist at DSM working on developing feed additives for swine.

Kathrine Bell from the US

Bell was born in the Dominican Republic but moved to the US when she was young. She went to college in Iowa where she met her now husband and they now have 5 facilities for pigs.

Emigrating, expectations, and isolation

Bradleys asks these ladies what challenges they experienced emigrating to a new country. They spoke about the “ambiguity for expectations” when some expectations are unreasonable, the isolation of moving to a country where you don’t speak the language, and how comedy and confidence can help.

These women discussed their thoughts around what the swine industry can do to be more supportive of women to pursue their careers regardless of their backgrounds, and shared their advice to those wanting to enter the swine industry, or emigrate for their careers.


Natalie Kinsley Freelance journalist