President of the ABC, Jeremy Olthof (left), with King's student, Rhonda Thygesen (right).
President of the ABC, Jeremy Olthof (left), with King's student, Rhonda Thygesen (right).
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Science student set up for success

Research opportunities with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry opens doors for King's student, Rhonda Thygesen, to pursue her passions following graduation.

Rhonda Thygesen, fourth year biology student, spent last summer as a research student in Lethbridge, Alta. with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, winning awards from the Alberta Beekeeper’s Commission (ABC), and securing research opportunities with the University of British Columbia. 

“The science program at King’s is amazing and really sets you up for success,” says Rhonda. “Initially, I felt like a 'baby academic'. I spent a lot of time talking to my professors figuring out how to bridge the gap between where I was and where I wanted to be. Without them I wouldn’t have even applied for my summer job. King’s has helped me to get these opportunities.”

As a student research assistant working with a larger apiculture team - including King's alumna, Lynae Ovinge (B.Sc. '09) - Rhonda spent her summer collecting data, managing over 200 research hives, queen rearing, photographing bees, and many other tasks. Rhonda and the team focused on finding ways to improve honeybee health such as pest management, nutrition, and raising local Queen bees. 

On November 5, 2019, Rhonda was awarded the Alberta Beekeeper Bursary by the Alberta Beekeeper’s Commission as a student who continues to work in bee health. Currently, Rhonda is working on a student research project at King’s with Dr. Heather Prior studying one of the leading health concerns among honeybees, American FoulBrood Disease, and considering its treatment with bacteriophage therapy. 

“I never would have guessed I would be so excited to work with bees,” explains Rhonda. “Receiving the bursary from the ABC was a humbling experience. It has definitely encouraged me to continue fearlessly pursuing something I have become so passionate about."

These experiences through King’s have set Rhonda up for further success in her academic future. Rhonda has recently accepted a research position with the University of British Columbia where she will be working with bees inside the lab, as well as outside the lab, in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley beginning in April 2020. 


Learn more about research at King's, and browse through other student research profiles in King’s research database.


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