Claudia DeLeon

Claudia DeLeon

Awards Received

2021 Graduate Award (Iowa)

Hometown:

Hometown:

Ames, IA

School:

School:

Iowa State University

Major:

Major:

Animal Science

Career Goals:

Career Goals:

If you asked me from childhood to the start of my bachelor’s degree what my career goal was, I would have said to be a veterinarian. My goal gradually transitioned from vet school to graduate school as I realized my increasing desire to formulate and answer research questions and the urge to strengthen my critical thinking. As an Animal Science major, I knew that I wanted to study nutrition, but through lab work, I discovered that I also want to study physiology. It was my undergraduate research projects that introduced me to physiology (gastrointestinal) and microbial interactions and is leading me now to the desire to pursue a master’s in Animal Science. The majority of my research has involved poultry husbandry and sampling laying hens or broilers for blood, intestinal sections and digesta for Dr. Dawn Koltes. The projects I have worked on also incorporate microbial interactions. The earliest project I worked on was to determine if a bacterial difference was present in birds raised in cages versus birds raised in aviary style enclosures. I like to think of this beginning as a foreshadowing of my future career goals because it incorporated my interests of microbes, nutrition, and physiology. Eventually, I conducted microbial analysis of broiler eggs to determine what possible factors affect early embryonic death. I have also done some work with dairy cattle and how heat stress affects their feed intake. As a McNair Scholar, I have also developed research skills by learning the process of writing research articles and creating posters for presentations. My main motivation for wanting to pursue a masters or PhD is because I want my career to be research focused. I could see myself working for a government agency, like the USDA, or working on company research teams related to animal nutritional physiology. I look forward to a career where I can collaborate with various researchers to contribute to the field of animal science as a whole. One of my more personal motivations is the opportunity to respectfully surpass my parents. My mother and father did not complete high school, so as a first-generation college student, I have an urge to keep learning because the more I learn, the less I feel like I am done.