Benjamin Luksic 2016 Scholarship Winner

Benjamin Luksic

Hometown: Bernville, PA

School: Pennsylvania State University

Major / Species: Animal Science with a Minor in Poultry and Avian Science

Career Goals: Ever since I lost my first dog I wished that I had the ability to fix animals, and my animal experiences at college have only furthered my desire to become a veterinarian. My internships, job shadow experiences and work opportunities in the dairy and poultry industries have exposed me to many aspects of food animal production systems. Over time I have become aware of many of the challenges in both small-scale and large-scale food animal production. I have been fortunate to learn from some great mentors in each field and have found working as a consultant with producers to be very rewarding.

Throughout my education I have faced the headaches of a farmer’s milk production, dry matter intake, feed efficiency, morbidity and mortality counts. I have found farmers to be intelligent, literate, astute businessmen and have learned something from every one. I believe I possess the ability to relate to and communicate with farmers, imperative to being an effective collaborator as a farm animal veterinarian. As a proactive team member I will be able to help their businesses profit and succeed while ensuring the security of our food supply.

I have long felt that working toward a common goal as part of a diverse group of colleagues will prove essential as we address global concerns in bioterrorism, environmental sustainability, animal welfare and food security. The need for teamwork, rather than competition, is crucial to our success and livelihood. With the challenge of being able to feed the projected doubled global population by 2050, veterinary medicine is only going to become more involved in food animal production. Surely something as important as the health and safety our food supply should demand our attention, both locally and internationally. I plan to link the bridges of awareness between farmers, consumers and the environment on a daily basis throughout my career and within all areas of my influence.

Approaching graduation from Penn State this spring, I have accepted an offer into the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. I am eager to begin the next chapter of my education as a food animal veterinarian and look forward to starting classes in August. As I believe consumer preferences will cause conventional medicine to become obsolete in food animal agriculture, I plan to expand my knowledge of holistic and homeopathic medicine; upon graduation from veterinary school I intend to become certified by the Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy. Eventually, I would like to work in a fast-paced private practice with an emphasis on ruminants. Should small family farms begin to re-establish themselves to meet the demand for locally grown foods, I anticipate much of my client base to be small-scale farmers in niche markets. I enjoy the service of being able to dirty my hands and tackle challenging problems to help the common man succeed. One day I hope to invest in a production animal ambulatory practice of my own. In the long term I know I could not be happier in any other profession.

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