My long term plans and career goals are directly tied to the large animal sciences. I was raised in a non-traditional agriculture background. The closest connection to agriculture my family shared was typically stored in the refrigerator or pantry. Being the oldest child in a typical suburban style family, my father involved in managing a business and my mother a teacher I felt the pressure of conformity. I was to blend into the Cunningham family traditions of being involved in cheer leading, dance and typical “girl” activities. Sure, I tried but there was a lack of interest. I was eight years old when my mom dropped me off at my first 4-H meeting and we have not looked back since. I hungrily took up numerous 4-H projects that involved multiple agriculture interests. Over those ten years of being a Bucks County 4-H member I knew that agriculture, specifically animal science, was my destined path to success. I eagerly enrolled at Delaware Valley University to pursue an education in Livestock Science.
I want to achieve my Master’s Degree in a topic area of cattle reproduction and continue my education with a PhD in a related large animal science reproduction field. While working for Penn State Extension as a 4-H Educator I have developed several educational pieces on cattle reproduction, performed multiple reproductive dissections and recently awarded a national award for my reproductive programs by the National Association of Extension of 4-H Agents. In addition, I taught at Delaware Valley University, where I discovered my passion for teaching undergraduates. Hopefully after many years in the animal industrial research I can retire as a tenured faculty member teaching animal sciences at a well-known university. I have worked hard to gain the ground I stand on today in the industry through long hours, extra effort and taking on the unwanted tasks. I believe that I will excel in graduate work since I am determined to make a difference in today’s agriculture. I have faced many different obstacles but still am thirsty for more knowledge in animal sciences. With each passing year I have begun to realize that agriculture production is an international market. I have studied agricultural production abroad in Ireland and Poland and found it fascinating to compare food production systems to those we have to the United States. This was an eye opening experience that made me realize that there is a need for international agriculture development. I was able to see the contrasts in genetics, equipment, husbandry and overall efficiency that could be improved by adopting modern practices. Due to advancements in transportation and communication, agriculture is no longer a local but a global community. Food, especially meat, is being exported across the nation but overseas too. There is a huge demand for employment in these international trades, food inspections and consumer safety. It is my generation’s duty to secure the future of food production as the global population continues to grow exponentially and natural resources are limited. My career goal is to become well educated within the large animal science reproductive field to go into research for the industry. I am passionate about making an improvement in modern day agricultural production through reproductive efficiency and health.