Thank you so much to the TE sponsors, Board, and Committee Members. It is a huge honor to receive this award. I am excited to pursue my career in food animal agriculture with the assistance of this award and am looking forward to making progress in the animal industry!!
During my undergraduate career, I was fortunate to be involved in reproductive physiology research investigating neuroendocrinology using sheep and swine as a model. This allowed me to narrow my career focus into swine research because of how much I enjoyed working with the pigs on that project. While my introduction into research was reproductive physiology, I decided to pursue a master’s degree in swine nutrition with the goal of financial security working with a species I enjoyed. I have discovered that nutrition relates to nearly every other aspect of animal science, and while we have come very far in our understanding of nutrition to maximize overall health and performance in animals, there is a lot more we still need to learn in the field. As an animal scientist, I have become infatuated with expanding my knowledge in swine nutrition while also seeking questions that still need to be answered. This cycle is something I hope to always stay involved with as a career. After completing my master’s degree, I hope to continue on to obtain my PhD in Swine Nutrition. From there, I would like to pursue a career in swine nutrition as a researcher. I am currently working on a project exploring digestibility of zinc in weanling pigs that will not only maximizes absorption to improve health and growth performance but also works to limit the impact on the environment impacted by waste in swine manure. Exploring the background and history of this topic has shown me how little we know about mineral absorption and how little technology has improved to develop products able to meet the needs of the industry. My passion for animal welfare as well as expanding knowledge drives me to discover new ways to improve animal health while also benefiting producers. Often people forget all factors impacted in animal science ranging from the animals to farmers to scientists to consumers to the environment. I have made it a personal goal to consider all these aspects during my research to maximize the benefits of expanding knowledge in science. While this is a large task to complete, I believe it our responsibility as scientists to consider these aspects and seek to improve all factors involved. Collaboration is vital to achieving this task. I have been granted the opportunity to work with the chemistry department on my thesis project, and I have seen firsthand how beneficial it is to work across subject lines to improve our understandings. Throughout my career, I aim to always focus on interdisciplinary research so that I can approach topics and problems from all angles and capitalize on the knowledge available to me. I want to be able to use my findings in nutrition to improve multiple parts of animal welfare ranging from general health to reproduction and beyond. Since so much is connected, I want to be able to relate other parts of science within and beyond animal science to collectively expand our knowledge and improve the animals, people, and world around us.