I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to the sponsors, board of directors, event organizers, and scholarship application review committees that make the Targeting Excellence events and scholarships possible. The Targeting Excellence event is the most unique, successful, and fun opportunity for networking with industry professionals I have participated in as a graduate student, and it makes me reflect on how lucky I am to be a part of an industry that does such a good job of supporting the education of future scientists. I am honored to be selected as a scholarship recipient and look forward to being able to give back to the industry in my future career endeavors.
With the growing world population, the food animal industry is under pressure to meet the demand for animal derived products. With this comes the question of how to most efficiently and sustainable raise food animals. To successfully answer these questions, we need to not only focus on researching better ways to raise livestock, but also on educating the students who will shape the food animal industry in the future. My passion for research in the animal agriculture sector and education of young animal scientists is why I have chosen to pursue a career as a tenure-track faculty member in an Animal Science program after obtaining my Ph.D.
I have achieved a 4.00 GPA in my graduate coursework, while completing a multitude of research projects. My M.S. thesis research involved elucidating the response of pigs divergently selected for residual feed intake when presented with a dual health challenge. From this project, I have had 2 first-author manuscripts accepted for publication in the Journal of Animal Science, and a third manuscript is currently under review.
In my first semester as a PhD student, I have explored topics relating to swine health, nutrition, and stress. One of these projects involved examining the mechanism of action of performance enhancing sub-therapeutic antibiotics in nursery pigs. Due to the urge to find replacements for in-feed antibiotics, this work highly relevant and applicable to the swine industry today. I have presented data from this project at the Midwest Animal Science meetings, and the full manuscript is currently under review. In addition to this work, I have completed several disease challenge projects. The freedom I have been given to explore a variety of topics within the swine nutrition field will help me find a niche of my own when I begin my career in academia.
In addition to developing my scientific skills, I have also developed my skills as a teacher. I served as a teaching assistant for two semesters for an undergraduate nutritional sciences course. This involved teaching weekly laboratory sections, providing office hours for students, as well as preparing and presenting a guest lecture on a topic of my choosing. I have taken on the role of managing, mentoring, and training Dr. Gabler’s undergraduate student workers in both laboratory and live animal work, in addition to training graduate students in laboratory procedures. These experiences in teaching will aid my ability to serve as an instructor, and to train my own graduate students in the future.
I will be obtaining my PhD with Dr. Gabler partially because I am pursuing a career in academia, but primarily because Dr. Gabler has a unique research program that closely mirrors my interests. I want to continue working in the swine nutrition field, especially involving disease/health challenge conditions. This scholarship would help me continue down this avenue of research and allow me to further mesh the fields of nutrition and health status to develop my own niche in the scientific community when I begin my career as an animal scientist.