Thank you for awarding me with the 2020 Targeting Excellence Scholarship. I am sure the process was challenging considering the current circumstances this year. As I am sure you are aware, I will be attending Kansas State University this fall to begin a Master’s and then, hopefully, continuing on for a PhD in swine nutrition. This award will go a long way in helping me to continue my education. I would also like to thank you for your continued support of the agricultural community. With less young adults entering the agriculture industry today, programs like Targeting Excellence do a great job supporting the few young adults that want to have a career in agriculture. I hope moving forward I can do my part to improve the industry I have a passion for. Thank you again and stay safe.
Following my graduation in May from Penn State, I plan on attending graduate school to pursue a master’s and hopefully, a doctorate in swine nutrition or genetics. I have been involved for many years in exhibiting hogs regionally and nationally and have had the opportunity to meet many industry professionals during those years. While at Penn State, I have participated in livestock judging as a team member and now, as an assistant coach, and have been able to network with industry people through these channels as well. This year I am serving as a research assistant on a funded study evaluating carcass traits in commercially bred hogs. I am enjoying the research aspect of the study itself and have been able to develop skills such as ultra-sounding, compiling data, and analyzing data. I truly feel I have a passion for the food animal industry, specifically in pork production. I currently have an offer from Kansas State University for a position in their swine nutrition doctoral program. In early March, I will also be visiting the University of Illinois to interview for a similar position in their swine genetics program. I have always been fascinated by nutrition and genetics and the importance these factors have in producing pork products efficiently. Throughout my undergraduate education, I have participated in several internships with pork production companies. Those companies include The Maschhoff’s in Illinois, Tosh Farms in Tennessee, and County View Farms in Pennsylvania. The experiences I gained through participating in these internships have provided me with valuable insight into how pork production companies operate and have solidified my interest in pursuing this particular career path. Following my master’s or doctoral program, I plan to enter the commercial swine industry with a pork producing company so I can assist them in producing pork more efficiently and improving herd nutrition or genetics.