Caroline Otto grew up in the German part Switzerland near Zurich. She completed her MSc in plant molecular biology at ETH Zurich. During her bachelor, she spent an exchange semester in Melbourne, Australia at the University of Melbourne. Whereas the major subjects in her studies were rather centered on molecular biology and fundamental research, lectures focusing on agriculture sparked her interest in the area she is working in at present.
Currently, she is working for the Research & Development team at the Foundation, among other things trying to optimize the multiplication rate of cassava in East Africa.
Starting working with Marnie Pannatier, her awareness and interest in opportunities for young professionals in agriculture were raised.
Marnie Pannatier comes from the French part of Switzerland, Sion and obtained her BSc in business administration from HEC Lausanne and her Master degree in sustainable development from Utrecht University. She spent most of her university time studying in a multitude of countries: Spain, the Netherlands, Austria, India and Colombia. She absolutely enjoys studying and working in multicultural environments.
On a voluntary basis, Marnie has been involved in many youth organizations. In 2015, she coordinated «imp!act Lausanne», a workshop gathering enthusiastic young adults who wished to change the world they live in through the development of social and environmental projects. In 2016, she also coordinated «STEP into Action», a two-day event gathering 1300 high school students to explore their potential to tackle global challenges on a local level. Currently, she is part of the core team of Young Syngenta Professionals (YSP) where the main activities lie on building the community among YSP.
Both Marnie and Caroline are working at the Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture in Basel. The foundation’s aim is creating value for smallholders in Sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia by innovations in sustainable agriculture and the activation of value chains. They work in different areas of the Syngenta Foundation - Marnie for the Agricultural Services team promoting entrepreneurship to improve rural youth employment and Caroline in the Research and Development team evaluating and validating new technologies in a smallholder context also facilitating access to them.
The YPARD network represents a great potential for exchanging information and knowledge among young professionals while promoting agriculture among young people in Switzerland - as well as on a global level. Caroline and Marnie feel the need to be participants in changing the Swiss and global agricultural landscape through their involvement in the discussions to innovate agricultural development. They are very excited to now kick off some new ideas and opportunities for young professionals in agriculture with YPARD – actually they can’t wait! Marnie Pannatier will start as the new communications officer and Caroline Otto as the country representative for Switzerland – they plan to rotate within these two positions annually.
Welcome on board Caroline and Marnie! We can’t wait to hear more from the Youth-in-Agriculture in Switzerland and we trust that YPARD Switzerland will continue to be successful in mobilizing the youth through your leadership.
We also take this opportunity to thank the outgoing YPARD Switzerland representative Wyss Rahel for her commitment, dedication and invaluable contribution to YPARD and look forward to our continued future interaction.
If you are from or based in Switzerland, and want to get involved in the YPARD Switzerland activities, please contact Caroline and Marnie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Picture credits: Left to right - Marnie Pannatier & Caroline Otto