NSERC Chair for
Women in Science & Engineering

Kate Congreves

Dr. Kate Congreves

STEM needs you. Be courageous, tenacious, and creative.

Assistant Professor, Plant Sciences
University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Kate Congreves is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Saskatchewan. She has a Ph.D. in Land Resource Science from the University of Guelph, a B.Sc. in Biology from Queen’s University, and a B.Ed. also from Queen’s. As a Postdoc, she worked at the University of Guelph, and at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Her research program is focused on the development of sustainable cropping systems. It is her goal to inform better nutrient management practices for maintaining and enhancing soil health and fertility, while also reducing nutrient loss and environmental degradation.

She studies the effects of fertility regimes, crop rotations, crop residue management, cover crops, and tillage systems on soil biogeochemistry (carbon and nitrogen cycling) and crop nutrition in intensive cropping systems, with particular interest in vegetable production.

As an academic, what is your favourite part of your job?

I absolutely love my job. I am grateful for each day that I can walk into my office, the lab, or head out to the field to test hypotheses and address research questions.

What are you researching and what excites you about it?

I research biogeochemistry (carbon and nitrogen cycling), soil health, and crop nutrition in intensive cropping systems. I find soil and plant science meaningful for advancing agricultural sustainability and for training the next generation of scientists.

What types of professions can students graduating in your field enter?

Students who graduate in soil and plant science can enter the workforce as agricultural crop consultants, environmental consultants, laboratory research associates, governmental and non-profit researchers, horticulturalists, etc.

Is your workplace male-dominated? If so, how do you negotiate being a woman in a male-dominated workplace and/or field?

It is important that women are equally represented in STEM research. As a collective group, it is our responsibility as agricultural researchers to educate ourselves and others about diversity issues and to learn how to overcome bias and prejudice. As a female scientist, I am confident in my abilities, embrace my femininity, and tenaciously focus on my research.

How do you foster and encourage diversity in your workplace?

I hope to help the agricultural research community foster greater diversity by welcoming and celebrating social equality.

What kinds of systemic support could institutions provide to help encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science and engineering?

Support programs like ICAN-WISE scholarships are a great way to connect women mentees and mentors. Undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral scholarships are key opportunities to help women advance in STEM.

What advice would you give to girls or young women who are interested in careers in science or engineering?

STEM needs you. Be courageous, tenacious, and creative.

As a professional in science or engineering, who are your role models and mentors?
I have been fortunate to have strong female role models in my life, such as my PhD supervisor, senior colleagues, and my mom :)