I just want to take a second to thank all of the Targeting Excellence sponsors, board members and committee members for orchestrating such an impactful scholarship. The financial support that you have given me will help fund my tuition for my Master’s degree in Applied Swine Nutrition at Kansas State University. I would not be where I am today without people like you who want to support young people and their passion for the agriculture industry.
When it came time to look at colleges, my enthusiasm for swine and nutrition led me to Kansas State University. Kansas State brings together a highly educated and respected group of individuals who lead in the field of applied swine nutrition. Their highly commended reputation is the reason I chose K-State for my undergraduate degree in Animal Science & Industry and master’s degree in Applied Swine Nutrition. After graduating with a Ph.D. in swine nutrition, I plan on coming home to Indiana and being involved in the swine industry by becoming a nutritionist for a pork production, feed, or animal health company. Being a nutritionist in the pork industry will provide me with many opportunities to not only work inside the barns with the pigs, but also opportunities to interact with pig farmers. My ultimate career goal to be there for the producer. I want to help them investigate the different avenues, that at the end of the day will improve his/her bottom line and put more money back in their pocket while keeping animal health, animal welfare and biosecurity all at the forefront’s of our minds. There will be many opportunities for troubleshooting and problem solving in the future of the swine industry and I strive to be a trusted industry professional that can help solve some of the challenges we will perpetually face. These problems range from foreign animal diseases, such as African Swine Fever, to managing and mitigating the increasing mycotoxin problems in corn due to the recent irregular and extreme weather patterns all the way to implementing more intense feed biosecurity measures. I am excited for the future of the swine industry and to collaborate with industry professionals, in all facets of swine production, on how we manage the challenges that face the pork industry. Being raised on my family’s grain farm and sow operation in central Indiana instilled in me a lifelong passion for agriculture, but I took special interest in the swine industry at a young age. Growing up, I was actively involved in agriculture-based youth organizations such as 4-H, FFA, and the National Junior Swine Association (NJSA). These organizations not only provided continued growth and learning experiences about pork production and swine herdsmanship, but also connected me with lifelong friends and attained valuable life skills. I enjoy teaching youth about the swine industry and pork production and these youth organizations will be key to getting good kids, with a strong work ethic and strong morals, into the swine industry. Thus, I plan on staying involved in my local 4-H and FFA communities to volunteer in any way possible One of my biggest goals is to influence a young person to pursue their dreams in the swine industry just like many of my mentors did for me.