I’m extremely honored to be selected as one of this year’s scholarship winners and thank you for supporting my continued education. I had a great experience volunteering at last year’s Iowa Sporting Clay Scholarship Classic and I look forward to attending this year’s!
Hometown: Ames, IA
School: Iowa State University
Major / Species: Animal Science Graduate Degree
Career Goals: During my undergraduate at California Polytechnic State University, I was fortunate to have been selected as a summer production intern at AMVC Management Services in Audubon, IA and I spent my summer working in a 2,000 head sow barn. It was this internship that sparked my passion for pigs and solidified my desire to work in the swine industry. I knew that I wanted more experience with pigs and also had a desire to learn more about nutrition, so I was selected by JBS United Ltd. to spend two summers as a research intern. My two summers at JBS United Ltd. gave me insight to production research, where I conducted three nursery pig trials that evaluated different feed ingredients to improve pig growth performance. The research team at JBS United Ltd. inspired me to pursue a master’s degree in Animal Sciences and referred me to Dr. Hans Stein at the University of Illinois. My master’s research focused on the evaluation of energy and nutrient digestibility of distillers dried grains with solubles in pigs. Ingredient evaluation is critical for the optimization of resources and to determine how those resources can be used to meet the nutritional requirements of the pig.
My master’s training led me to realize that there is always pig variation within a barn and I began to question if the nutritional requirements differed between healthy pigs and those going through a health challenge. I decided that I needed more training in physiology and disease. I began my PhD in Animal Science in August of 2014 at Iowa State University, Ames, IA working under the supervision of Dr. Nicholas Gabler. My PhD goals are to understand how health challenges alter pig intestinal function and integrity, growth performance, feed efficiency, and nutritional requirements. Understanding the change in physiology as a health challenge progresses will allow a nutritionist to better formulate diets to accommodate those physiological changes in order to optimize growth performance, lean accretion and well being of that animal.
Upon successful completion of my doctoral program, I would like to start a career as a research scientist to work towards improving the health status of pigs. I want to continue researching the physiology of health challenged pigs and determine their nutritional requirements. In addition to research, I think it is important to communicate findings with fellow researchers and pig producers so that collectively, we can learn to manage sick pigs more effectively.