Venturing beyond her comfort zone

February 1, 2024
Samrawit Gebeyehu

Samrawit Gebeyehu is working toward her PhD in animal breeding and genetics. An international student from Ethiopia, Sam pursued a master’s degree in Europe before landing an opportunity to study African animals in Minnesota.

A profound impact

Given my background in animal science, my passion within agriculture predominantly centers around genetics. I am particularly intrigued by the profound impact that genetics can have on our local African animals. This fascination drives my commitment to understanding and contributing to advancements in genetic practices within agriculture.

Witnessing resilience

My primary role model and mentor who has significantly influenced my journey is my mom. Her exceptional strength and endurance have been a constant inspiration for me. Witnessing her resilience and determination has not only shaped my character but has also been a guiding force in navigating the various aspects of my journey.

An eagerness to engage

I chose the U of M, specifically CFANS, for several compelling reasons: the institution's esteemed reputation and my profound interest in genetics. After earning my master’s degree, I found a position on a flier that focused on Sub-Saharan Africa dairy cattle genetics. This opportunity resonated with me, as I am well aware of the significant impact of genetics on our local breeds. Recognizing the existing gap in this field, I am compelled to contribute to addressing these challenges. 

Mother, wife, scientist

As an international student, a devoted mother to my daughter, and a committed wife, I want to underscore that familial roles need not constrain the decision to study abroad. It is essential for individuals, particularly women, not to hesitate to venture beyond their comfort zones, explore new landscapes, forge connections, and dedicate themselves to the primary objective—academic success. Overcoming initial apprehensions is vital, allowing one to concentrate on the purpose that brought them to this educational journey. 

Looking ahead

My immediate focus is completing my doctoral studies. Looking ahead, I envision advancing my expertise by considering potential postdoctoral opportunities. Simultaneously, I am open to exploring opportunities in industry, applying the knowledge and skills gained during my research to contribute effectively to my field. 

In Advancing Agriculture, members of CFANS’ Black community share their pathways in agriculture. From student researchers to faculty members and alumni, their contributions have an impact here in Minnesota and around the world.