Canadian public policy and political science student HarleyAnn Siddall explores barriers in NB beef cattle industry 

19 Dec 2023
Independent student research combines personal interest with academics  

Canadian public policy and political science student HarleyAnn Siddall grew up in Miramichi, NB on a beef cattle farm. This past summer she combined the personal with professional as she pursued a research project on the barriers to entry and growth of the beef cattle industry in New Brunswick, funded by Mount Allison’s Independent Student Research Grant program.

Canadian public policy and political science student HarleyAnn Siddall.

“I wanted to mesh my background with my life at school — my public policy side — and it was a cool experience to see both in a different light,” she says.

Siddall, who is also minoring in Canadian studies and international politics, spent the summer conducting interviews with local farmers and looking at literature reviews and government reports.  
Her 69-page research paper summarizes policy recommendations for the New Brunswick beef cattle industry to move forward sustainably, in the policy areas of financial, labour, education, structural, and price insurance. She hopes to have this research published and have the opportunity to present her recommendations at the provincial level.

“Being able to talk to different farmers and beef producers across the province, it was surprising to hear how they all struggle in the same way, but also face different issues regionally,” says Siddall. “This research brought forward that everyone has their own priorities and there is a need for flexible policy options that address these various challenges.”

Siddall says her faculty supervisor Dr. Mario Levesque from the Department of Politics and International Relations encouraged her to take advantage of this undergraduate research opportunity.

“I am grateful to my department and my supervisor Dr. Levesque because I probably wouldn’t have dove into this without his encouragement,” she says. “Working one-on-one with a professor, I learned that I could push myself and achieve something like this.”

Levesque believes undergraduate research is the MtA advantage.

“Since we don’t have [many] graduate programs, we can focus on providing a research experience for our undergraduate students. It gives them an advantage when they pursue graduate studies as they’ve obtained ethics protocol training, conducted interviews or surveys, then analyzed this data from a theoretical lens to answer key questions on a topic they are curious about. It demystifies the research process for them and better prepares them for graduate level work.”

Siddall believes this experience has prepared her well for the next step.

“The things I learned through this research experience about formatting, revising, editing, and interviewing, I can take with me into further education and professional work.”

Siddall currently works part time with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and plans to pursue graduate studies and a career as a policy analyst.


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