Thank you for the support of my education through the Targeting Excellence scholarship program. It is a honor and privilege to receive the Targeting Excellence scholarship. I want to thank all that have contributed to program for the support education allowing students to reach their goals.
I have a true passion for the swine industry. I have chosen it to be my life’s work and career many years ago on my family’s farm in Northwest Indiana and have not looked back. I completed my undergraduate degree at Purdue University majoring in Animal Sciences and my master’s degree at Kansas State University majoring in Animal Sciences and Industry with a focus on swine nutrition. Before I began my PhD program, I was employed at Indiana Packers Corporation (IPC) and was the Swine Nutrition Manager. I was responsible for all aspects of the nutritional program including overseeing diet formulation, feed manufacturing, research projects, and on farm performance for Oracle Pork, the live division of IPC. I enjoyed my career very much. It was rewarding work, however I had a desire to return to school and further my education. This was a decision that I contemplated for some time.When entering my master’s program at K-State in 2007, feed costs soared and we needed to learn how to feed co-products from biofuel production. Currently, antibiotic alternatives and gut health are prudent and necessary research topics. As researchers, we need to be connected with the industry and nimble enough in our research programs to meet the needs of an ever-evolving industry. For me, this application of academia to industry is the driving force to continue my education. I wish to deepen my knowledge of nutrition though additional learning and discovery. I felt that I needed to “press pause” on my career and put some new “tools in my toolbox” so I can better react to an ever-changing landscape. It is my goal that the skills and experiences gained through my PhD program will further enhance my career, my personal satisfaction, and ultimately, the global swine industry.Upon completing my PhD, I look forward to returning to the swine industry. I would like to be a production nutritionist for a pig production or feed company or serve in a technical service roll for and ingredient company or other allied industry company. It is my goal to become an industry nutritionist and assist swine producers in finding solutions to biological and economic questions.The ever-changing swine industry continually adopts new technologies to improve and refine production in a consumer driven market that demands high quality, safe pork. I have a sincere passion for the swine industry and a deep desire to return to it after graduate school. At the conclusion of my program, my goal is to be better equipped to provide meaningful service and resources to swine producers and the global swine industry.
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For questions please call: Rachel Virden 678-448-2368