The support that TE provides to students is invaluable and a motivator to excel in our careers. More than financial support, the commitment towards student development from every member involved with TE is inspirational for us and an example to pay it forward one day. I want to thank every member and sponsor of TE for their time and generosity towards students.
My name is Gerardo Abascal-Ponciano; I am a Ph. D. student in the Department of Poultry Science at Auburn University. I grew up in an agricultural family in Guatemala and obtained a B. Sc. in Plant and Animal Sciences from Zamorano University, Honduras, where I learned all aspects of agriculture and animal husbandry with a hands-on learning experience. I also developed an interest in research after working as a research assistant at Purdue University during my senior year. Therefore, after graduation, I pursued a master’s degree in Poultry Science at Auburn University working with Dr. Charles and Jessica Starkey. During my master?s program I was involved in many areas of the poultry industry such as feed manufacturing, feed ingredients and formulation, pet food manufacturing from poultry processing products, broiler chicken gut and muscle physiology studies using molecular techniques, and gut immunology studies. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to present my research at international scientific forums. Now starting my Ph. D. program, I want to advance my knowledge on different subjects to be better prepared for my career. During my studies, I have acquired an interest for understanding the effect of feeding practices on gut health and its relation to nutrient metabolism using molecular research practices. I want to continue learning about as many aspects of the poultry industry as possible, but I want to focus on learning the relationship between feed ingredients and poultry health. I plan on pursuing my doctorate degree in this area and graduate by 2024. Then, hopeful I can apply my knowledge to benefit nutrient utilization in the animal protein industry. Upon graduation, I want to join a sales team for the allied industry, specifically a feed ingredient company. This is to learn about customers, industry problems or demands, develop my public relationship skills, and help customers to properly overcome their limitations. After obtaining initial experience in the industry, I believe that I could provide a vast impact to the industry by joining a product development team. This way I can apply my knowledge to develop solutions that will reach as many producers as possible. Solutions that will be based on current environmental and economic demands. My goal is to provide sustainable, efficient solutions to the animal protein industry through new products.