I would like to thank Targeting Excellence for not only the scholarship money, but for the networking opportunities with industry professionals that I believe all graduate students should have while still in school. I would like to give a special thanks to all the sponsors, board of directors, and the Minnesota committee for this recognition. I am truly blessed and will be forever grateful. Thank you.
Obtaining a Master’s in Animal Science at the University of Minnesota will help provide a platform to expand upon my education received at Iowa State University as well as the knowledge obtained from working for an animal feed additive company. The master’s program will also allow me to gain more experience in animal research and obtain helpful and useful traits to be used while working in the animal nutrition industry.
From June 2015-January 2017, I have worked for an animal feed additive company in their technical services department giving internal tech support for all customers as well as manage all regulatory portions of the company such as product label preparation, organic product registration, and international product registration. My primary focus is to move into product development and research for an animal nutrition company. I believe that the way to achieve this goal is to obtain a Master’s followed potentially by a PhD in Animal Science or related field of study. The focus of my research in my Master’s program is supplementing mouse dams with a metabolite of the essential amino acid leucine to reduce within-litter birth weight variation. Eventually, if successful I would like to translate this research into the sow to be able to counteract intrauterine growth retardation that occurs in the pig.
As an undergraduate at Iowa State I gained 1.5 years of experience in a swine nutrition and physiology lab with a job as an undergraduate research assistant. I assisted graduate students in both animal and laboratory work. This allowed me to gain valuable knowledge of not only working with animals but learning different types of procedures for laboratory analysis. In my time working in the lab I gained experience performing RNA/DNA extractions from tissue samples, enzymatic assays, ELISAs, and western blotting. The summer before my senior year I was given the opportunity to conduct my own research that looked at water supplementation to nursery pigs infected with Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome virus and Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus. The data was submitted and presented at the 2015 Midwest Meetings of the American Society of Animal Science in the undergraduate competition. This experience gave me valuable knowledge of nutritional supplements that I wish to expand on with my Master’s and throughout my career.
In conclusion, I look forward to continuing my education and being able to utilize the opportunity of obtaining my Master’s to make discoveries that the swine industry will be able to utilize once the removal of sub-therapeutic antibiotic use is finalized. This experience is allowing me to move up in the animal nutrition company I previously worked for bringing more alternative products to the industry in the wake of the VFD.