Thank you to all of the groups and individuals who supported the funding for the Targeting Excellence scholarship and chose to support my continuing education.
At the beginning of my undergraduate studies at the University of Idaho, I was a pre-vet student, and I planned to go to veterinary school to become a small animal vet. I chose this career because I was passionate about the care and well-being of animals and improving their quality of life. I switched to animal nutrition because I found the material more interesting, but I continue to be driven by a desire to promote care and well-being. At the University of Minnesota, I am continuing to deepen my knowledge of animal nutrition not only in diverse species, but also at a cellular and metabolic level. The area I found most enjoyable in my animal science work has been research, so I envision myself staying in research and lab work as a career. Some possibilities I have contemplated include research for large feed companies to develop innovative feeds for livestock or companion animals or for universities and other related companies to enhance the research in animal immunology and the role nutrition plays in immune function. Animal nutritionists play a major role in food animal production through formulating and adapting rations to balance animal health and performance. However, the ever-changing nature of society, the environment, and agriculture itself means animal nutritionist also have the responsibility to stay at the forefront of research to continuously adapt food animal production. This research and development role is the position I want to take on as an animal nutritionist. Most of the work in animal production I have been involved in has strongly emphasized animal performance through increasing feed efficiency. However, throughout my education I have found that changing performance must be entwined with changes in animal health and environmental impacts. Animal health and immunity is critical to maintaining a productive and successful farm, and nutrition has been shown to play an important role in health. In my career, I plan to approach the problem of increasing performance from a nutritional and immunological stance to use better animal health for better performance.