Karen Veverica honoured as AwF's Woman of the Month
Aquaculture Without Frontiers has announced that Karen Veverica is being honored as Woman of the Month for her work as an elite trainer with exemplary impacts in the aquaculture sector. "She has an incredible wealth of practical knowledge that I've repeatedly encouraged her to pass on in some kind of major publication, such as a book or production guide. In particular, her work in Africa has been exemplary and indicative of a long-term commitment to aquaculture development on the continent.”
Aquaculture Without Frontiers has announced that Karen Veverica is being honored as Woman of the Month for her work as an elite trainer with exemplary impacts in the aquaculture sector.
World Aquaculture Society Director and President of Aquaculture without Frontiers Latin America, Dr. Antonio Garza de Yta said ”I cannot believe there could be anyone more qualified as AwF’s Woman of the Month than Karen Veverica.”
He added “Karen is the BEST trainer I have ever seen or worked with.”
Dr. John A. Hargraves, Editor, World Aquaculture Magazine was quick to back this with his comments on Karen “I enthusiastically endorse Karen's nomination for AwF Woman of the Month. I've known Karen for more than 25 years and she is a terrific choice. She is one of the best practical aquaculturists I know (man OR woman). She has an incredible wealth of practical knowledge that I've repeatedly encouraged her to pass on in some kind of major publication, such as a book or production guide. In particular, her work in Africa has been exemplary and indicative of a long-term commitment to aquaculture development on the continent.”
Karen joined the fisheries department at Auburn in 1981 and in 2013 was named Director of Auburn’s E.W. Shell Fisheries Center, one of the largest aquaculture research stations in the world.
After leaving Michigan State University in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences Karen chose to join up with the Peace Corps. Her strong background in water chemistry and years of high-school and college French classes landed her the assignment she had hoped for, as a fish farming volunteer in Cameroon. With that placement, Dr. Veverica and two fellow female volunteers made Peace Corps history as the first women ever to have been placed in fish farming positions.
After leaving the Peace Corps in 1980 she enrolled at Oregon State University to pursue a master’s in aquaculture. She then took a job at Auburn, where she was responsible for helping manage the fisheries research ponds and facilities, but she had been in that role less than two years when Auburn was awarded a five-year U.S. Agency for International Development fish culture project in Rwanda, where she was chief of party and training specialist of the mission for ten years.
There were many challenges establishing aquaculture in Rwanda, a case study was started to better understand the role of Rwandan women in aquaculture. Other challenges included topography making it difficult to find accessible sites, then locally accessible sources of nutrients had to be found for fish feed and fertilization. Women utilized the household waste such as cassava peels, banana peels, sorghum waste from beer brewing and any other household waste to feed the fish. In addition, edible wild greens were used to feed the fish.
In 1997, the fisheries department offered Veverica a role in a collaborative international sustainable aquaculture project administered by Oregon State in Kenya. In addition to conducting fish farming research and training staff, Veverica supervised construction of more than 70 ponds, water-quality labs and hatchery facilities and trained a multitude of fisheries officers in aquaculture techniques and business planning.
Five years later, another out-of-country opportunity came her way, this time to serve as chief of party for a three-and-a-half-year, Auburn-led, private-sector-driven initiative to jump-start commercial aquaculture in Uganda through the development of model fish farms.