I would like to extend a tremendous thank you to those involved with the Targeting Excellence organization for awarding me with a 2021 Graduate-Level Scholarship: the Board, Committees, and Sponsors alike! The work Targeting Excellence does in an effort to support the future of the animal agriculture industry is unmatched. I am grateful for the opportunity to represent such an incredible organization.
As a child, my family never had the means, or desire, to own more than a hobby farm. Luckily, we had neighbors and family friends who encouraged my interest in production agriculture. The opportunities I received as an adolescent led me to develop a passion for cattle. Throughout both my undergraduate and graduate education thus far, this passion has done nothing but mature. I graduated with a Bachelors 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 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, including one of my own. I was exposed to colostrum management techniques, heat abatement methods, and a number of ruminant nutrition-based concepts. While completing the duration of my undergraduate degree, I gained experience in laboratory techniques relating to both the animal reproduction and nutrition disciplines. I received funding in the Fall of 2018 for a student research project exploring the rumen microbial populations of beef versus dairy cattle. In the Fall of 2019, I began a Masters in Animal Science at Oklahoma State University. I am currently finishing the final semester of this program and will begin a PhD program in Ruminant Nutrition on June 1st. I have completed work as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in a number of undergraduate classes. Throughout the duration of my program I have developed online extension courses for Oklahoma extension educators. I have received recognition in three national meeting abstracts and have co-authored two chapters of the 2021 Oklahoma Beef Cattle Manual. While my focus has been teaching more-so than research, I was still involved in a number of research studies covering topics such as dairy cattle nutrition, feedlot nutrition, diet supplementation in stocker cattle on native range, and diet supplementation in low birth weight piglets. Topics of research are constantly changing to meet the needs of production agriculture. I feel that it is necessary for the industry to have a crop of young and educated researchers and teachers to assist future generations of farmers and ranchers in reaching their full production potential by making such changes. It all comes full circle. I appreciate the ways in which nutrition-based research adheres to other livestock production aspects such as animal health, growth, and performance. It is my goal to investigate and research these relationships during my PhD program. I have hopes to give back to the industry that has provided so much to me. One of my favorite words is adaptability. It is the principle of adaptability that I hope to emphasize to my students and colleagues as an educator someday. My ultimate goal is to have a successful career which combines research, teaching, and extension.