“Thank you so much for selecting me for the 2016-2017 Targeting Excellence Scholarship Award. I consider this award an honor and a privilege. This generous award will allow me to fund many aspects of my education.”
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA
School: Penn State
Major / Species: Animal Science with minors in Poultry and Avian Science and Agribusiness Management
Career Goals: After my excellent academic experience at The Pennsylvania State University, I knew that I needed to continue to challenge myself academically and learn more about animals. I will be attending the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for a Master’s Degree in Animal and Poultry Sciences.
After dissecting several chickens during my time at Penn State, I was fascinated each time I opened them up and realized how similar some of their traits were to humans. We both experience similar diseases and have similar pathways. It was exciting and made me want to learn more as soon as possible. Having worked on farms during college and having been a teaching assistant for numerous classes, I finally figured out what I wanted to do for my career.
I want to continue onto graduate school to further my understanding of the expanding poultry industry and to satisfy my strong intellectual curiosity. I want to earn my Master’s Degree, teach at a college, and then earn my PhD, so that I am able to teach students about animal production. I want to be able to prepare students to be the next scientists and agricultural leaders. Becoming a professor would allow me to teach the future leaders and would allow me to conduct research to improve the future chickens.
The program I am undertaking deals with anorexic and obese chickens and studying the hormones in the brain to see how they react to those diseases. I am enthusiastic about this topic and want to learn more in order to develop ways to reduce these diseases and to figure out the signaling pathways that occur. If research can lead to figuring out more about these mechanisms, the production efficiency of the chicken could be improved.
In this era of an increasing population, creating a more efficient chicken would continue to be beneficial. Over the last fifty years, the efficiency improved considerably, but there is so much more to be done and I am excited to conduct research in order to help feed this expanding world. The efficiency aspect will continue to be important as we begin to have less and less land to farm on. If a bird is created that can lay more eggs or have even more meat on its bones, less land will have to be used, and more people will be able to eat.
I am eager to begin this next journey of my life. I cannot wait to educate passionate agricultural students and to conduct important research that will benefit the world.