I would ike to sincerely thank all of the sponsors that donated to the Targeting Excellence scholarship fund. I’d also like to thank the entire Targeting Excellence committee and board for reviewing my application and providing such a valuable program to students with an earnest excitement for the animal agriculture industry.
It is an honor to be selected as a 2022 recipient of your prestigious scholarship. I remember the first time the scholarship was brought to my attention was during a Block and Bridle Meeting during my time as an undergrad at Penn State University. I had made it a goal of mine since then to work towards obtaining one of these scholarships. Upon arriving to California and my starting journey at UC Davis in Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam`s livestock biotechnology lab, I have immersed myself in the local livestock community by attending meetings, volunteering at shows & sales, and making on-farm visits. Its my intention to use this scholarship to help cover travel expenses to allow an opportunity to visit more farms around the west coast and conduct informal needs assessments to curate future research projects. It is my hope that this scholarship will also offer value in covering the costs associated with a conference as well so I can share my research with a broader audience. Moreover, as I am striving to finish my master`s degree in the coming year, I am intending on continuing my education to get my doctorate degree. This scholarship will be very valuable for me in alleviating the cost of taking the GRE as well as program application costs too.
Thank you again for supporting my academic journey! It is an absolute honor to see my name represented among so many other extremely gifted young scholars in animal agriculture – some of which I am blessed to call close friends. Your continued support of students in animal agriculture helps us achieve our goals and prepare for a rewarding career in this industry.
I am currently a graduate student in Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam`s lab at UC Davis and a recent graduate of Animal Science at Penn State University where I also minored in Information and Statistical Analysis, International Agriculture, and Business Fundamentals. I am from Northwest Pennsylvania and have developed my skills alongside many esteemed mentors in both industry and academia. However, my intense love of animal agriculture stems from my father and uncle. Both are experienced shepherds and are heavily involved in national industry and volunteer with local 4-H programs too. Having exemplary mentors to guide me on this journey is something that I will NEVER take for granted. From a young age, I learned the value of a high work ethic. My dad began commercially shearing sheep at twelve to support his family. His commitment to livestock programs and the people they serve has instilled in me the ethical values of unwavering grit, selflessness, leadership, and loyalty. I would like to make a career out of supporting these people by ?virtually? putting veterinarians out of business through breeding better livestock. I am interested in researching and developing genomic and biotechnological tools that can significantly impact profitability for livestock producers. I specifically want to specialize in gene editing procedures such as CRISPR-Cas9. This technology allows for the rapid selection of advantageous traits through germline modification. I am also interested in assisted reproductive technologies that have the potential to both increase the selection intensity which producers apply to the animals they are breeding with and lower the generation interval for a respective species. It is my long-term goal to attend a veterinary school where I would ideally become a theriogenologist who specializes in biotechnology and assisted reproductive practices such as IVF, stem cell complementation, embryo transfer, and laparoscopic artificial insemination & ovum pick-up. If not accepted into a veterinary school, I would also be interested in obtaining my Ph.D. and becoming a livestock extension specialist like my current PI, Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, or working at a livestock biotechnology company. Another one of my interests would be developing an easy to use management software that better fits the needs of American lamb producers which very easily could translate into cattle. Overall, I seek to develop optimal animals which are well-suited to their environment by having longevity, fertility, and productivity within their respective management setting. This will reduce animal agriculture`s negative environmental effects while concurrently providing an increase in profit margin for producers. Beyond specializing in reproductive-based biotechnologies, my other interests include phenomics, agricultural law & ethics, animal management systems, computer decision support software, science communication, as well as animal welfare & performance evaluation.