Written by Karen E. Mosier
Natalia Rudnitskaya studied Material Engineering with a Major in Technology of Automated Production from Sevastopol National Technical University in Crimea. She also has a B. Sc. in Agriculture with a Major in Food and Applied Microbiological Science from the University of Saskatchewan.
Natalia joined the College of Agriculture and Bioresources 18 years ago as a student, and has worked as a student assistant in the Soil Science department, and as a Research Technician in Animal and Poultry Science. For the past 5 1/2 years, Natalia has worked as a Manager for the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences Nutrition Laboratories. Her primary duties are to provide laboratory services for undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral research in the Animal and Poultry Science Department Nutrition laboratories, provide training for researchers and students on analytical equipment and instruments, and collaborate with the Canadian Feed Research Centre, Prairie Swine Centre, Livestock and Forage Centre of Excellence, and other Colleges and Departments. As well, she runs the undergraduate lab and facilitates the Laboratory Orientation sessions. She maintains and promotes
the departmental shared equipment which decreases the operation cost of research. In her current role, she also functions as a departmental laboratory safety officer, providing laboratory chemical safety information for researchers and students, and managing and reviewing all financial, Standard Operational and Safety documentations. This safety initiative encompasses 27 rooms in 3 different locations. She is also responsible to hire and supervise summer undergraduate students and technicians and strives to “provide a real work-in-laboratory experience”.
What Natalia enjoys best about her job is that it is “never static” and that she has new challenges every day and loves opportunities to learn new skills. She says that “the work never really stops and there is always something to be done”. What she loves best about working at the University is the unique environment on campus and the different cultures and diversity of people. She especially enjoys meeting new people. Natalia has worked with students and visiting scientists from countries all over the world including China, Libya, Mongolia, Egypt, Pakistan, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Japan, Philippines, Ecuador, US, Mexica, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Netherlands, South Africa and Poland. She has a shelf in her office full of cards and gifts given to her from grateful students over the years.
Knowing that her work is valued and appreciated is a great motivator and gives her a great sense of fulfillment. Natalia currently works with 14 faculty, ~70 graduate students/visiting students/researchers/ post-doctoral fellows, and 75 undergraduate students in the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences. She loves her job and she appreciates the collegial spirit within the College of Agriculture and Bioresources. She talked about how professors and students and administrative staff get together almost on a daily basis in the lunch room to talk and tell jokes and get to know each other.
Natalia acknowledges that her background in Materials Engineering is a perfect fit for her present position. There are so many instruments and equipment within the department that needs to be constantly checked and maintained. Occasionally, they do break down, and, to solve the problem, Natalia has to coordinate maintenance and repair options with the company representative or Facilities.
Natalia appreciates all the benefits of being an ASPA member, especially the professional development funds that have allowed her to increase her skill set so that she can do her job better. She attends conferences and takes professional courses, and currently she is completing a three month on-line post-graduate graduate class from Cordoba University in Spain.
Natalia has received three ASPA merit awards. She was also nominated by her students for the Teaching Excellence Award in 2012 and for the Safety Recognition Award in 2017.
Natalia encourages all ASPA members to “never stop learning” and “be curious”. She also admonishes, “Don’t just stay in your office but go out to ASPA social events and meet new members, and be active, as learning happens anywhere!”