On the quest to make agriculture ‘sexy’, the Nutramix team, in collaboration with Flair,has reached out to hear the stories of women who are in unique and empowering positions within the field. This week, we introduce Dr Sydonnie Thompson-Gyles, who is possibly the most enthusiastic and cheerful poultry veterinarian on the island.
“I’d like to think I became a vet because it was my calling, this is something I always wanted to do,” said Gyles with rosy cheeks and a twinkle in her eyes as she spoke about her passion to work with animals. Gyles, who is an alumnus of the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE), paid homage to the skill set she obtained from the institution and admits her love for agriculture was fortified with their help. She completed her associate of science degree at CASE and then ventured into veterinary medicine a year later. She applied for the Russian scholarship at Kazan State University for veterinary medicine, where she studied for six years. While attending the university, she noted there was an extreme culture shock. Persons considered her as exotic due to the lack of people of African descent. “It was really strange, different culture and very cold,” said Gyles.
Being the only poultry veterinarian in Jamaica, Gyles has a lot on her plate but does it efficiently with zeal. As a poultry veterinarian, she visits all the poultry farms across the island. “I visit the hatchery and the processing plant. I pretty much follow the birds from beginning to the end. At the hatchery, I pull blood from them, which gives me a lot of information about their health status and the status of their parents. This helps me to adjust my vaccination programme and to see if they need to be vaccinated against particular disease. From time to time I will swab their organs just to check if our environment is conducive to their development,” explained Gyles, as she told Flairabout her routine.