Thank you for awarding me the 2019 Targeting Excellence Scholarship. A special note of thanks to all the contributing companies, the board of directors, and the Pennsylvania state committee. I especially am grateful for the opportunity you provided me to begin networking with industry professionals at the Sporting Clays event. The animal agriculture industry is a fantastic industry that offers many great opportunities. I have always tried to stay heavily involved in the industry through organizations, clubs, and internships. In return, the animal agriculture industry has taught me what goes into feeding the world. There are many opportunities within the industry that teach discipline, a strong work ethic, and the ability to find your passion. With the help of scholarships like this, I will be able to further my education to become a food animal veterinarian who works in the commercial food animal industry and to do my part to support that industry.
I have a passion for food animal agriculture, especially commercial swine production, and have been involved in some aspect of it my whole life. Many years were spent traveling with my father, who is a veterinarian, on his farm calls. I was involved in the 4-H program in our county for 12 years, showing market pigs, lambs, and steers and breeding hogs. Today I continue to show hogs on a national level. Presently, I work in the veterinary clinic in the summers and while on breaks, and travel with one of my 3 brothers, who is a veterinarian also, on his farm calls. He has taken over the large animal portion of the practice. While I can appreciate private practice veterinary medicine, I feel I have a passion for the pork production industry and am planning on that route as a career choice. Another brother of mine works in the field also. He holds a Master’s in Applied Swine Genetics, working as a Technical Specialist for a large swine genetics company.
In the next couple of years, I hope to attend veterinary school with the career goal of becoming a veterinarian who works in the commercial swine industry. Presently, I am considering schools that offer either a MS/DVM or PhD/DVM degree. At Penn State, I am working hard to achieve this end. I have a rigorous course schedule and am striving to do well academically. To date, I have had externship experiences with three pork production companies (Countryview Family Farms, Tosh Farms, The Maschhoffs). I will continue to look for more opportunities to provide me exposure, to increase my knowledge base, and to network with industry professionals. I believe I can have a positive influence on the industry and am looking forward to the challenge.