Posted by Geoff Widmer
It was with great pleasure that we welcomed Ms Oxana Belyaeva to the lectern on the 21st March for her presentation as a “Member behind the Badge” (“MBTB”). When we volunteer with fellow Rotarians, we usually don’t have the time to chat and understand what our fellow Rotarians do, their lives and their cultural experiences. So, on Tuesday night we had the opportunity to do this with Oxana as she detailed her life and cultural experiences from Russia to Melbourne.

Geoff Widmer, Oxana Belyaeva & President Teresa Liu
Oxana commenced with a history of her hometown of Rostov-on-Don with the ancient Scythian tribes from 3 BC to the formation of the city in 1749. The pictures showed a place rich in history and modernisation from 1945. Oxana took her 2 degrees including a Masters and PHD at the University in Rostov-on-Don, in environmental and soil management studies. Oxana detailed the exceptional climatic and soil conditions that makes this part of Southern Russia an important food source for the region and world.
Next Oxana moved to Australia as part of her travel interest to see distant places and arrived on a one-year visa … which has extended now to 16 years, so she must like it here! She started her career here in Queensland to further her research in soil management to further improve agriculture output. About 4 years ago she moved to Melbourne University where she is also doing environment and soil studies, and we saw the pictures of her “hands on “field trips.
It was an impressive presentation as it gave us some valuable information about the history and culture of this important region in Russia, which we generally have limited knowledge of. Also, Oxana by her continued employment in research from Russia to Melbourne via Queensland, demonstrated the importance and benefits of having access to global technologies that can benefit all of us.
 Oxana, thank-you for a most informative presentation as a MBTB on your life’s journey, cultural heritage and your career in Environmental Research.