Shitaye Megerssa, a plant scientist, is one of seven WIT awardees working to ensure global food security. She appears to be one of the plant scientists working to close the gap in the country in terms of having the best facilities and personnel to make Marker Assisted Breeding (MAB) practical. Through these programs, Ethiopia, the largest wheat producer in Sub-Saharan Africa, hopes to become one of the leading wheat exporters.
Shitaye works at the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research in the durum wheat breeding program. She is currently pursuing a degree in plant breeding and genetics at Cornell University. The Jeanie Borlaug Laube Women in Triticum (WIT) Early Career and Mentor awardees for 2022 recognize talent and dedication from early career women scientists as well as those who have excelled at mentoring women working in wheat and its closest cereal relatives. Her main focus is improving yield, quality, and rust resistance for the breed. As a scientist, she has mentioned to global rust how communication with foreign collaborators has affected the products needed to conduct the research locally in Ethiopia. As a result of that, seedling evaluation keeps being postponed. In the coming years, Shitaye hopes to get more support from the government & the whole supply chain to conduct her research.
Ethiopian women in STEM have been thriving in recent years, and we are loving it!