Thank you to the Targeting Excellence sponsors, board, and committees for this scholarship. I am beyond grateful to have the opportunity to continue my veterinary degree and enter into a career helping farmers produce a safe and quality product .
My career goal is to help farmers provide a safe and healthy food supply and contribute toward solving the global food security crisis. With the exponentially growing population worldwide, and the increased demand for animal protein, increasing efficiency is essential to maximizing food production. At the same time, it is critical that we accomplish this while maintaining health and welfare standards for the animals. As a veterinarian, I plan to work with farmers to promote the use of preventative medicine, as well as treatment protocols to ensure a safe and healthy food supply. I have learned from multiple sources about the extremely difficult challenges that the dairy industry is experiencing. While shadowing practicing veterinarians, I have taken the opportunity to talk with farmers directly, along with participating in farm visits for school, discussions with many of my classmates who grew up on dairy farms, and through showing at various local and national dairy shows. It is difficult to watch these hardworking farmers lose their livelihoods due to the low milk prices combined with various societal pressures. And yet millions of people in the world that are starving partly due to lack of access to high quality animal protein. We must find a way to bridge this divide continuing to become more efficient in our animal agriculture systems so that we can feed the world. Many consumers in the U.S. have misinformation about animal agriculture and it is important for us to dispel these misconceptions and educate the public in order to continue producing a quality product. I feel fortunate to have received an excellent education in animal science at Penn State, as it has allowed me to discover what I am passionate about and provided a foundation to build my career. In my first two years in veterinary school I have been able to augment that education both in class and in the Food Animal Club. As President of the Food Animal Club I have had the opportunity to network with veterinarians and industry professionals that I look up to and hope to emulate. My veterinary degree will open many doors for me in animal agriculture. While I currently intend on becoming a general food animal ambulatory practitioner, I have become aware of many other potential job opportunities in veterinary medicine within animal agriculture. These opportunities could include working for the government, academia and research, or in industry jobs, granting me the ability to contribute to helping the animal agriculture industry in different ways.