I thank you for the gracious gift in the form of a scholarship that I received. Thank you all for your continued support of America’s youth that are interested in pursuing a career in the agricultural industry. Your passion to support our educational endeavors is second to none and greatly appreciated. My hope is that one day I will be able to follow in your footsteps to pay it forward and continue supporting those who are also interested and passionate about the agricultural industry. Thank you again.
Hometown: Waterford, OH
School: Ohio State University
Major / Species: Animal Sciences
Career Goals: If you ask most animal enthusiasts why they enjoy the creatures they do, they most likely will tell a story about an interaction they had with an animal as a child. I am no different from them, except my interactions were perhaps a bit different than most. As a small toddler my father would place me in an old grocery cart located in our family hog barn, and it was my “job” to hold the piglets in the cart while my father processed the litter. This unique start began a life-long love for studying and working within the livestock industry. Everything from helping show my family’s breeding sheep, to the life experiences I learned through hard work and determination on the farm helped forge my passion and goals for my future career. While in college, I pursued a degree in Animal Sciences at The Ohio State University focusing on pre-veterinary course work. Upon the completion of my degree, I had full intentions of applying to veterinary school. However, my career goals changed and I am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Animal Sciences focusing on alternative weaning strategies in early weaned lambs and its effect on the severity of parasitic infection. This opportunity arose when I realized that there were other career paths I could pursue in order to help the American farmer be sustainable and profitable. During my master’s career, the experiences I have been involved in and the knowledge I have gained are second to none. I have had the opportunity to travel the world, Denmark and Scotland, as well as my home state of Ohio to talk and interact first hand with sheep producers. These unique experiences have lead me to realize that although sheep producers are very knowledgeable about the industry and production practices, many of them are still using techniques and practices that have been passed down for generations. I do not want to presume that these practices are incorrect, but there seems to be a discount between the producers and the research being done at the university level intended to benefit the farmer. After experiencing this through interactions with producers and my family, I realized that I wanted to continue my education and pursue a doctorate degree focusing on small ruminant production and understand the needs of producers while providing them with the information that can make their operation sustainable and profitable. Therefore, for the time being, my near future career will be surveying producers and researching alternative sheep management and production strategies that can improve on-farm animal care and production. As for my career beyond my degree, I hope to continue working closely with sheep producers in the state of Ohio and act as a contact that can assist in maximizing their operations potential. I also want to continue my passion in the sheep industry and be a source that can provide scientific based information and make scientific livestock based research applicable and practical on farm, regardless of the operation.