Convocation ‘23: Janine Soderstrom, MSc Animal Nutrition

Donna McKinnon - 20 November 2023


Born and raised in Edmonton, Janine Soderstrom was connected to the farming community through members of her extended family, who owned a farm. She spent a lot of time around cattle and other animals and knew that her passion would lead to a career working with livestock and companion animals in some capacity. 

Transferring from Lakeland College to the University of Alberta, Janine earned her BSc in 2020 in animal science, and moved swiftly to a graduate program in animal nutrition. 

Though she had a lot of experience with beef cattle, dairy, cattle, sheep and horses, she had never worked with pigs, and she saw an opportunity to expand her knowledge. 

“I just love working with animals,” says Janine. “When it comes to pigs, specifically, they're just like little puppies.” 

Her thesis on resource effective feed for weaned pigs involved feeding canola expeller — the byproduct of canola oil production that contains crude protein and other vitamins and minerals — to the pigs as an alternative and less costly feed product.   

She is now employed in the feed industry, working with animals of all species. 

Congratulations Janine!

What led you to choose your current area of study, and why the U of A for your studies?

A passion for agriculture that I learned in childhood led me to study agriculture at university. I knew I loved animals, I knew I wanted to work with livestock. I started my journey at Lakeland College for a diploma in animal science and there was a transfer program to finish my degree at the University of Alberta in animal science.

In the last couple of years of my undergrad, I realized that vet school wasn’t for me. At the same time, I was taking nutrition classes and it just clicked for me. I understood it. Doug Korver and Ruurd Zijlstra’s nutrition courses sparked my interest in the subject. I wanted to be a livestock nutritionist and a master’s degree in swine nutrition would help me get there 

What is one of your favourite memories from your time at the U of A?

Any time spent on south campus, but being a TA for AN SC 101 — Principles of Animal Agriculture — where I was able to talk about the swine industry to students not previously involved in agriculture 

Tell us about your favourite professor and/or class.

Doug Korver and Ruurd Zijlstra’s course AN SC 462 — Monogastric Nutrition for my undergrad, and in my graduate degree my favourite course was AFNS 507 — Science and Technology of Cereal and Oilseed Processing. 

Did you face any significant obstacles or challenges during your program?

COVID-19. I started my graduate studies in Jan 2021 and getting research approval was difficult,so obtaining test articles (feed ingredients from farms) was impacted. I just continued on with tasks I could control like classes, writing and studying.

What advice do you have for current and future students?

Ask more questions. There’s never a dumb question and it helps build relationships. 

How do you plan on celebrating convocation?

No plans, likely back to work the next day 😂

What's next after graduation?

I’m currently working for a commercial feed company who manufactures feed for all species.