International Student Spotlight: Meet Maria Rodriguez

Home Country:   Maria Rodriguez

  • Argentina

Time as a Mustang:  

  • January 2023-June 2023 


  • PhD candidate from the Universidad Nacional del Sur in Argentina who was awarded a scholarship from Global Affairs Canada to spend six months at Western working with Graham Thompson, professor in the Department of Biology, as part of the Emerging Leaders in the Americas Program (ELAP)
  • Also selected as one of 30 graduate-level scholars from the ELAP and Study in Canada scholarships initiatives to participate in the International Scholarships Study Tour, which took place in Ottawa from February 20 to 24, 2023. There, she had the opportunity to meet fellow scholars, government representatives and members of the community and to visit landmarks including the Canadian Space Agency, the House of Commons and the Canadian Museum of History

Research Focus:  

  • An innovative source of probiotics to control American foulbrood disease by incorporating probiotic microorganisms isolated from kefir into nutritional supplements that beekeepers feed to hives
  • In Argentina, Maria works at the Laboratory of Apicultural Research at the Agronomy Department at the Universidad Nacional del Sur and is supervised by Leticia Fernandez and Francisco Reynaldi

Western Experience Highlight:

  • Taking part in many activities and events to get to know other Western students and connect with people in the community, such as the English Conversation Program, Global Café and an international student photo shoot

In Her Own Words:

Maria with a group of other students in Ottawa

My experience has been amazing and more than I could have imagined. I was already grateful for the ELAP scholarship and opportunity to come to Western to work on my research. When I also was chosen for the study tour, I couldn’t believe it. That was an incredible opportunity to meet colleagues from around the world and even some who are doing work in similar areas to my research. We’ve already said we should work together in the future! I’m looking forward to seeing even more places and meeting more people over the next few months.