Women in Ag: Johanna Schwartz
By Andrew Horvath, agricultural education and communication master’s student
In a career field typically dominated by men, Johanna Schwartz has found an opportunity to follow her passions and inspire young women to do the same in the area of entomology and nematology.
Schwartz is a junior in the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS). With an interest in insect systematics, the study of insect evolution, Schwartz is pursuing a career in research. The passion that Schwartz has for entomology is ultimately what led her to CALS and her current major in an agricultural and life sciences field.
“Since insects affect agriculture in so many different ways, it was only a matter of time until I arrived in the agricultural and life sciences!” Schwartz said.
As a student in the entomology and nematology department at UF, Schwartz has become an active member of the entomology club where she has cultivated relationships and developed skills that will assist her in helping inspire other youth. In addition to serving as this year’s president for the entomology club, Schwartz also has participated in the entomology and nematology department hosting local Girl Scout troops for tours and visits.
“[The young girls] are always blown away at the amount of female entomology majors that greet them,” Schwartz said. “Now more than ever, I can help other students [and young women] with their journeys in entomology and I can be the encouragement to someone like Dr. Baldwin was for me.”
Associate professor and undergraduate coordinator, Rebecca Baldwin has had a tremendous influence on Schwartz and her interest of entomology and nematology. Schwartz not only looks to Baldwin for advice, but views her as a role model in the field.
“Dr. Baldwin has been the most influential woman in my academic career (besides my mom),” Schwartz said. “She was the person who convinced me to become an entomology and nematology major, and I haven not regretted that decision since. In a field that lacks female representation, I’m glad that I was able to meet Dr. Baldwin.”
Schwartz hopes to be an example for other young women working toward a career in the agricultural and life sciences. For young women interested in such occupations, Schwartz provides some simple advice, “There’s more of us than you think, so don’t be afraid to jump in!”
Note: In honor of Women’s History Month, CALS will be sharing stories of students throughout March.