I would like to extend a tremendous thank you to those involved with the Targeting Excellence organization for awarding me with a 2022 Graduate-Level Scholarship: the Board, Committees, and Sponsors alike! The commitment and effort that is put-forth into Targeting Excellence, and in turn the future of the animal agriculture industry, is unmatched. I am grateful for the opportunity to continue representing such an incredible organization.
While I was not fortunate enough to be born nor raised on a farm, the opportunities I received from both neighbors and family friends as an adolescent led me to develop a passion for food animal production. I graduated with a B.S. in Animal Science with a specialization in Livestock Science and Management from Delaware Valley University in Doylestown, PA in May of 2019. I was active in many campus organizations and worked as both a lab and teaching assistant to a number of animal science courses. My research experience began during the summer of 2018 in upstate New York at the William H. Miner Agricultural Research Institute. There, I took part in an array of research projects. I was exposed to colostrum management techniques, heat abatement methods, and a number of ruminant digestion kinetic concepts. My time as an undergraduate allotted me ample experience in demonstrating laboratory techniques relating to both the animal reproduction and nutrition disciplines. My love for both research and teaching flourished. In the Fall of 2018, I received funding to conduct undergraduate research for the duration of my senior year. I then went on to graduate with an M.S. in Animal Science at Oklahoma State University in May of 2021. My M.S. degree focused on the development of online training courses for Oklahoma extension educators covering an array of animal science topics and disciplines. Additionally, I was fortunate enough to have co-authored and illustrated two chapters of the 2021 Oklahoma Beef Cattle Manual. While my M.S. program focused on teaching more-so than research, I remained involved in a number of research opportunities: exploring topics such as dairy cattle nutrition, feedlot cattle nutrition, diet supplementation in stocker cattle on native range, and diet supplementation in low-birth-weight piglets. In June of 2021 I began my PhD in Ruminant Nutrition. I am ecstatic to have current part-time roles as both a researcher and a teacher alike. My current research focuses on receiving cattle health – utilizing supplementation strategies amidst disease challenges to evaluate for immune response variables, clinical signs, and blood metabolites. Research initiatives are constantly evolving to meet the needs of the modern era. I feel that it is necessary to have a steady turnover of young, passionate, and educated individuals to assist future generations of producers. I appreciate the ways that the animal science disciplines cover topics ranging from pasture management to animal selection as well as food and agricultural product development. I have high hopes to give back to the industry that has given so much of itself to me. While my passion for research may lead me to an industry position for a few years post-graduation, I would love to give back by finishing my career as both a professor and extension educator.