My name is Isabella von Seggern and I am an animal science major entering my senior year. I am currently still trying to figure out exactly what I want to do, but I plan on attending grad school and hope to study neurobiology in poultry. I want to learn more about how birds perceive the world around them and use that knowledge to improve quality of life and production.
I would like to thank everyone who is a part of the Targeting Excellence Sponsors, Board, and Committees for supporting this dream of mine through the Targeting Excellence Scholarship.
Thank you for putting your faith in me and supporting my education. The skills I have been learning here at school and the connections I have made have allowed me to better myself, learn more about the agricultural industry, and find out more about what I want to do. One thing I know I will do is continue doing my best to promote the animal industry as well.
As a high school senior, personal statements were super easy because I was certain I wanted to be a vet. Three years later, I have considered changing my major to engineering, going into farm management, and even becoming a professor. While a lot has changed, the one thing I definitely know is that I want a career where I can continue learning, find ways to better care for poultry, and educate consumers.
Thanks to my various experiences with poultry, I have narrowed down possible career paths. The most impactful experiences I have had, have come from working for the ISU poultry physiology lab. Currently I am working on an ethogram for turkey aggression, which will act as a standard of measurement for myself or anyone else studying aggressive behaviors in turkeys. This project has reaffirmed my desire to pursue a career in poultry research. I love finding solutions to problems I have when conducting the research, learning everything there is about turkey behavior, and asking new questions to further research. Why do the turkeys always return to the same feeder? Why do those few birds lower in the pecking order always act dominant when I enter the pen? These questions push me to learn more about birds’ perception of the world around them and I want to use that information to create an environment that caters to their perceptions. I believe the better we can understand poultry behavior, the better we can manage them and the more efficient they can be.
While working I have been able to watch my boss work, which has helped me figure out my plans for the future. Not only does she research poultry physiology but she uses her position as a professor and researcher to teach others about the poultry industry. I have gone with her to teaching events at elementary schools and networking events out of state. Whenever anyone asks her questions she will do anything to help them find the answer.
When I have more experience, I want to be someone like that for consumers. I want to teach people why poultry are raised the way they are and help them find answers to whatever questions they may have. I think this would not only benefit the consumers in learning where their food comes from, but it will help the industry because educated consumers can come up with good points on how to improve the industry.
At the moment I want to find a job in research with a university or a pharmaceutical company that specializes in chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other types of poultry. Within those companies I would like to become either an attending veterinarian for a lab or work as a private investigator that runs the experiments so I can study hypotheses I have on poultry. These jobs will make me happy and allow me to do everything I have discussed. I will be able to educate consumers, continue asking questions, and find ways to better care for poultry.