Women in Ag Science Team
Meet Marivier Rojas Lopez, Agronomic Research Specialist at Bayer Crop Science
With her progressive and ambitious attitude, Marivier Rojas takes leadership initiatives as a scientist and as an educator.
Agronomist Marivier Rojas is an Agronomic Research Specialist in the area of hydroponic crop protection at Bayer Crop Science located in Juana Díaz, Puerto Rico (PR). Her current role involves supervision of tasks such as germination of materials to seed production in different crops such as cotton, soybeans, among others. Rojas acquired her bachelor's degree at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus (UPRM), with a specialization in Livestock Industries and Agronomy.
What does a research assistant do in an agrochemical company?
As one of the top leaders in agriculture, Bayer is striving to deliver the most innovative solutions for crop protection, yield improvement and climate change mitigation. The company collaborates and interacts regularly with farmers, policy makers, media, NGOs, and consumers. That being said, one of the projects that Marivier assists aims at the production and improvement of soybean and cotton seeds with genetic resistance to diseases and pests to minimize the use of resources such as pesticides. Agronomist Rojas focuses on investigating certain physiological events that soybean and cotton seedlings go through during their development until they produce their fruits or seeds. For example, when receiving a parental cultivar from a soybean seed, Marivier performs germination, quality, and development tests during its growth for a period of time. Once Agro. Rojas collects all the seed data, it is reported to improve and commercialize that seed with desirable characteristics (such as good germination, disease resistance, crop yield) for the market.
Marivier's journey to Bayer
When she was very young, Marivier wanted to be a veterinarian. She used that inspiration to apply to the Livestock Industries program at UPRM. When she arrived at the university, she participated in a Livestock Industries camp which visited farms and different entities associated with cattle animals. Marivier, still fascinated with caring for animals, worked as a volunteer in different veterinary clinics in Isabela, PR and also in research in the area of beekeeping. She expresses that she was always moving, working, and studying. During her third year of college, she gave birth to her daughter which made her goal of graduating more arduous but she managed to stay focused and determined. She expressed: “Raising my daughter and continuing to study was an uphill battle . I am proud to have achieved it, and I always carry it with great pride."
Always looking for professional and personal growth
When Marivier graduated from college, she began working in the industry exploring various roles and work cultures. She expressed, “I always take every available opportunity to learn to manage projects with more responsibilities and teams in a more efficient way. I work to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone.”
With this forward thinking and ambitious attitude, Marivier Rojas has taken the initiative to take on more opportunities to lead and manage extra responsibilities in the company. She has shown her potential to develop as a leader and start managing groups of agronomists. Marivier expresses on a personal level the learning path is arduous but it is also gratifying to see how much one improves oneself to consequently help improve the rest of the team.
“It is a worthwhile sacrifice to be available for your team and teach them investigative techniques. Guiding and mentoring them is a very rewarding experience "
On the other hand, She has found herself very vulnerable and indecisive when starting new projects, like many people can relate. In the same way, Marivier mentions that it is important to take on new challenges and believe in the ability we have to succeed.
“It is important to establish a connection in a team with different levels of experience and ages. We must help each other by openly taking into account different perspectives in order to carry out projects. With that attitude, I have been able to be a better leader and overcome that negative mentality ”.
Take opportunities far beyond your primary role
Marivier has served in her research assistant position as well as other initiatives within the company. She has taken the initiative to participate in agricultural education programs in which she leads groups of people to carry out the main tasks. Marivier has participated in programs for the deaf community, LGBTQIA+, and middle school students. She also mentions that her current position has exposed her to different positive situations and at the same time, grown her interest in helping and inspiring others.
One of the projects that Marivier is currently successfully leading is titled "Grow and Learn." "Grow and Learn" is a program that strives to promote interests in agriculture and research in children and youth from elementary and middle schools in Puerto Rico. The program was born with the idea of continuously creating educational content and to educate the community about agriculture using existing resources. It is made up of three modules: compost creation and packaging, pollinator habitat, and home gardening . The program was a resounding success which allowed for expansion to other schools.
“My passion for developing projects with a social impact stems from the question:“ What can I do beyond who I am and what I did today? I want to do much more than just work, I want to inspire and help other people. You can always do a little more each day."
"If I can work to improve myself, I can help others."
Marivier expresses that her passion is always in managing her team and personal development. She mentioned that everyone needs a team with motivation and capacity to develop projects successfully . For this reason, Marivier always cares about teaching and being there for her employees. No matter how small the initiatives are, they always have an impact on a person, and that is worth it. Marivier has also helped start other company-level initiatives for the LGBTQIA+ community, educational systems, and other social groups.
She expressed, “I want to leave a legacy for my team. I want to teach them, and be a participant in their success. My success and impact on society is thanks to my work team ”.
Promoting diversity education for the community
Learning must be continuous and mutual for which we must propagate agricultural education to help the community and the farmers make informative decisions in the selection of their food and resources for the farms. Marivier expresses that agricultural companies and universities must continue their efforts in communicating with the non-scientific community and farmers to maintain sustainable and healthy crop production. Another factor Marivier mentions is diversity. She expresses that no matter your gender, interests, social status, education, race, and ethnicity, they are agents of inspiration and change in agricultural sciences.
Thanks Marivier Rojas, for sharing your inspiring story with us!